Update 3 March 2016: Singapore Airlines has now announced the initial routes and schedule for the A350, more info here.
Update 15 June 2016: Singapore Airlines has announced a new non-stop service between Singapore and San Francisco using its A350 aircraft.
The first of Singapore Airlines’ A350s will be delivered in January 2016 and, so far, we really haven’t had very many details on what to expect. But now we know a little bit more.
The Singapore Airlines A350 will be a hugely important aircraft to the airline as it is expected to replace a good number of older Boeing 777 aircraft in the fleet. On top of this, the aircraft will be the first Singapore Airlines aircraft to fly to Europe without a First Class cabin so there’s extra pressure on the new Business Class cabin to deliver.
We already know that the first major international routes to be served by the Singapore Airlines A350 will be Amsterdam in April 2016 followed by Düsseldorf (3 x per week) from 21 July 2016 and the airline hinted, back in early October, that the seat configuration would be “close to the 300 seat mark. So how close to that number will the aircraft’s configuration really be?
Answer: Not that close!
The Singapore Airlines A350 will hold 253 passengers across a 3-class aircraft.
The Business Class cabin will be divided in two and will hold 42 passengers in a 1-2-1 seating formation giving all passengers direct aisle access:
As I reported last month, the Singapore Airlines A350 will be fitted with the same, new, Business Class product as the airline has been rolling out to its 777-300 fleet – and it looks fantastic.
The Premium Economy cabin will hold just 24 passengers and will feature a 2-4-2 layout…..
…..with Singapore Airlines’ new Premium Economy product as currently seen in some of their A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft :
This compares favourably with Finnair’s A350 “Economy Comfort” which has 9 seats across the width of the aircraft.
The Economy Class cabin will feature 187 seats arranged in a 3-3-3 formation which should give passengers a seat width of 18″ if Finnair’s A350 is anything to go by (they too have 9-across seating).
It’s great to see Finnair persisting with 9-across seating when I’m sure they could have been tempted with a far denser configuration with 10-across seating.
So far the airlines that have announced their A350 seat plans (Finnair, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines) have resisted the temptation to move to a 777-300-style 10-across configuration that’s seen so often today, but there’s no doubt that the A350 could be configured to do just that (see RunwayGirl). Let’s hope they stay away from that idea for a while!
Interestingly, in a conversation with Australian Business Traveler, an executive from Singapore Airlines suggested that the airline may remove the Premium Economy cabin from aircraft scheduled on shorter, medium-range routes where Premium Economy is in less demand. But this is yet to be confirmed.