Why It Matters

SIA's way to keep flying high

It's an impressive suite: coming with a bed and fluffy pillows, a swivel chair, a private wardrobe and a little powder room.

In business class, couples can get cosy with seats that transform into a double bed.

Singapore Airlines' latest in-flight products, which will be fitted into its Airbus A-380s, are a necessary US$850 million (S$1.1 billion) investment to stay ahead of the game. Question is: Is the premium market still worth pursuing aggressively?

Some analysts say SIA should focus more of its attention on the low-cost segment, even with Scoot already there. Others say the demand for premium air travel is still robust.

With yields, a proxy for air fares, at a seven-year low, SIA's top brass says it is prepared to downsize the premium airline, if that's what it takes.

No one expects this to happen any time soon but it's interesting that SIA has decided to pack more premium economy and economy seats into its A-380s that are to be fitted with the new products.

Each superjumbo will have 471 seats, including 44 in premium economy and 343 in economy.

SIA's current fleet of 18 A-380s has up to 441 seats each, including 333 in economy class.

The changes, which should help boost revenues, could also reflect a thinking that while premium customers fill the coffers during good times, those in economy must never be forgotten.

On the new A-380s, they will get more legroom and back support, with a six-way adjustable headrest, and a 28cm touchscreen monitor.

Frequent fliers can also access the new myKrisWorld in-flight entertainment system with interactive features, including content recommendations based on customer preferences and viewing history.

So even if you don't have $8,400 to spare - to experience SIA's new suite on a Singapore-Sydney flight when the service is launched on Dec 18 - it can still be a great way to fly.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 04, 2017, with the headline 'SIA's way to keep flying high'. Print Edition | Subscribe