Singapore Airlines A350 To Fly To Melbourne

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UPDATE 8 August 2016: Singapore Airlines has brought forward the introduction of the A350 on its Singapore – Melbourne route. Service now starts 10 August 2016.

The initial Singapore Airlines A350 routes were announced at the beginning of March with Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta being the first cities to have Singapore Airlines A350 service. It wasn’t long before long-haul routes started to appear with Johannesburg, Hong Kong, Amsterdam and Düsseldorf all seeing A350 service announced. Now Singapore Airlines has announced another destination for its A350 aircraft – Melbourne, Australia.

Singapore Airlines has, so far, only scheduled the A350 to operate the Singapore – Melbourne route for a period of 10 weeks (10 August – 22 October 2016) and, considering that the A350 was bought by the airline with exactly such routes in mind, that seems somewhat strange.

Singapore Airlines flys the Singapore – Melbourne route 4x/day but the A350 will only be taking over one of the daily flights for the ten week period:

SQ207 SIN 07:45 – 17:10 MEL (Daily)
SQ208 MEL 18:25 – 00:15+1 day SIN (Daily)

The aircraft that the A350 will be replacing is an older Boeing 777-200

Singapore Airlines A350 vs 777-200

  • The A350 offers Business Class, the new Singapore Airlines Premium Economy and Economy Class seating while the 777-200 only offers Business and Economy Class.

Singapore Airlines Premium EconomySingapore Airlines New Premium Economy Seating

  • For the 10 weeks the aircraft is scheduled to operate the Melbourne route the A350 will offer 16 more Business Class seats than the 777-200 it is replacing. That should be good news for Business Class award availability on the route as a whole although I expect that award availability on the A350 may be tough to find.
  • The Business Class seats on the A350 are the same as the new Business Class seats found on Singapore Airlines 777-300 aircraft – a considerable upgrade from the older business class seats found on the 777-200 aircraft currently operating the Singapore – Melbourne route.

Singapore Airlines A350 New Business ClassSingapore Airlines New Business Class

  • There will be noticeably fewer Economy Class seats on the A350 flights with the aircraft housing just 187 seats in the rearmost cabin while the 777-200 its replacing (albeit temporarily) has 245.


With just a 10 week window scheduled it looks as if Singapore Airlines is trying out the A350 on the Melbourne route to see how it performs before deciding on how to proceed.

However, Singapore Airlines will be receiving a second set of A350s in 2017 which will be configured as “medium-range” aircraft (they will have noticeably less premium cabin seating) and it has long been thought that these will be the aircraft Singapore Airlines will use to destinations in Australia and New Zealand.

Yes, Singapore Airlines would probably replace it’s fuel-guzzling A330 aircraft first…but the same argument can be made for replacing the 777-200 that are found on the Melbourne route so I’m not entirely sure why the airline is trying out such a premium cabin heavy aircraft on the Melbourne route.

The A350 that’s going to be flying to Melbourne has almost 60% more Business Class seats than the 777-200 it’s replacing and it has a Premium Economy cabin too…so what’s going on? Has there been a sudden increase in premium cabin traffic between Singapore and Melbourne? Or is this something else?

I don’t have the answer to this (and I suspect that neither does anyone else who doesn’t work for Singapore Airlines) but I’m going to be looking on with interest to see what the airline does once the 10 weeks are up – will the A350 remain on the Melbourne route or will it be moved elsewhere?


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