SIA's A-380s to get big makeover with new cabin offerings

The enhancements to be made to 14 of SIA's 19 existing A-380s will include new seats and other fittings across all classes, as well as an upgraded in-flight entertainment system.
The enhancements to be made to 14 of SIA's 19 existing A-380s will include new seats and other fittings across all classes, as well as an upgraded in-flight entertainment system.ST FILE PHOTO

.Singapore Airlines (SIA) is giving its Airbus 380s an extreme makeover, as it marks a decade of flying the superjumbos.

This comes even as other airlines are taking steps to refresh their cabin offerings.

For SIA, new seats and other fittings across all classes, and an upgraded in-flight entertainment system, are among the enhancements that will be made to 14 of its 19 existing A-380s, the airline told The Straits Times.

Configuration changes are also expected, with first-class suites - currently located on the lower deck - being moved to the upper deck.

There will likely be fewer suites too - with the current 12 reduced to between six and eight.

The retrofit will not be carried out for SIA's first five superjumbos, which are expected to be returned to lessors when their time is up next year.

The airline, which has been working aggressively on its first major interiors overhaul in four years, did not reveal more about the new products. The big unveil is expected in November, after which the new products will feature on the first of five new A-380s that SIA currently has on order.

Customers can expect the new-look aircraft to enter into commercial service early next year, possibly on the Singapore- Sydney route, which was also the first A-380 route for SIA when it started flying the superjumbo in October 2007.

 
 
 

SIA's product overhaul comes as it competes fiercely with other premium carriers, especially the Middle Eastern airlines, to protect its turf and grow the business.

Carriers are trying to outdo one another by refreshing and overhauling products and services every three to five years, experts say.

Last month, Qatar Airways launched its new premium product, Qsuite, which features the first-ever double bed in business class, with privacy panels that stow away, allowing passengers in adjoining seats to create their own private room.

Adjustable panels and movable TV monitors on the centre four seats allow colleagues, friends or families travelling together to transform their space into a private suite, allowing them to work, dine and socialise together.

In a recent article in the airline's in-house newsletter, SIA's senior vice-president (product and services) Marvin Tan said that apart from the A-380 upgrade, there are other plans in the pipeline to keep the group "ahead of the pack in a highly competitive airline operating landscape".

For example, SIA is investing in a merchandising platform to more effectively personalise and customise its offerings to customers.

New features and functionalities are also being added progressively to the SQ Mobile app, including an e-library with more than 30 popular publications and options to pay with mobile devices.

Apart from enhancing member benefits with airline partners, SIA's KrisFlyer loyalty programme now has tie-ups with more than 200 non-air partners, including banks, hotels, car rentals and retail establishments.

Mr Tan said the hope is that "our customers will enjoy the fruits of our labour".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 31, 2017, with the headline 'SIA's A-380s to get big makeover'. Print Edition | Subscribe