NORTH CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA - Singapore Airlines (SIA) is looking to deploy its new Boeing 787-10, which it took delivery of on Sunday night (March 25), to destinations in Japan, such as Nagoya and Fukuoka.
SIA , the first carrier to operate the latest variant of Boeing's Dreamliner, had earlier identified Perth and Osaka as the first two destinations that will use the new plane from May.
The airline's chief executive, Mr Goh Choon Phong, said SIA will receive the first eight of 49 787-10 Dreamliners in the coming financial year, and Japan is one of the destinations on the company's radar.
"I think it's fair to say that the destinations in Japan are choices that we will certainly look at to deploy the 787-10, and those will include Nagoya and Fukuoka," Mr Goh told The Straits Times on Sunday in North Charleston.
"It's the right mission, in terms of flying time and also, it's an important market for us to deploy a good, solid business and economy-class product too," Mr Goh added.
SIA currently operates daily flights to both Nagoya and Fukuoka, using the older Airbus A330-300.
Mr Goh was speaking to The Straits Times ahead of a delivery ceremony held on Sunday night at Boeing’s Dreamliner production plant in South Carolina, during which the aircraft maker officially handed over the plane to SIA.
The outdoor event was attended by 3,000 guests, including staff from Boeing, SIA and engine maker Rolls-Royce. Singapore’s Ambassador to the US, Mr Ashok Kumar Mirpuri, was also present.
During a speech, Mr Goh said the 787-10 is an important element in SIA’s overall growth strategy, enabling the airline to expand its network and strengthen its operations.
SIA’s 787-10 will also feature the airline’s new cabin products for medium-haul and regional flights. These were last refreshed almost a decade ago.
The airline will unveil these features when the plane lands in Singapore on Wednesday morning.
The 787-10 is 5.5m longer than the earlier variant, the 787-9, and can carry 14 per cent more passengers.
SIA revealed earlier that its 787-10 will be able to seat 337 passengers, with 36 in business class and 301 in economy.
The 787-10 Dreamliner will replace the Airbus 330-300, which has 285 seats comprising 30 in business and 255 in economy.
The 787-10’s seat capacity is an increase of 18 per cent, and on a more fuel-efficient plane, enabling SIA to reduce unit costs, said Centre for Aviation’s chief analyst Brendan Sobie.
Mr Sobie said in an analysis published in February that the 787-10 will also replace the Boeing 777-200 and 777-300 for regional operations, resulting in capacity increases of 27 per cent and 19 per cent respectively.
“The 787-10 is a key component of SIA’s fleet strategy, driving a significant reduction in lower unit costs and a new phase of growth,” Mr Sobie said.
“The lower unit costs generated by 787-10s enable SIA to compete better in an intensely competitive regional market – against low-cost carriers, as well as aggressive full-service airlines,” he added.