Singapore Airlines’ new first class seating. Economy class features a new in-flight entertainment system
Singapore Airlines has unveiled a revamp of the interior of its long-haul passenger jets, which includes changes to seats and its in-flight entertainment system.
In a challenge to Qantas and alliance partner Emirates, Singapore Airlines is spending almost $US150 million ($165 million) on the product refit, which will begin on eight Boeing 777-300 planes.
The first planes to have the new first, second and business-class cabins will begin flying between the airline’s hub in Singapore and London in September.
The changes in the economy cabin include a wider 11.1-inch monitor and a video touch-screen handset. Seats will also have new back-rest seat cushions.
In first class, the main changes are a longer bed – from 80 to 82 inches – and a new fixed-back shell design with curved side panels. In business class, seats will have a greater decline at 132 degrees.
Singapore Airlines regional vice-president Subhas Menon described the changes as a refinement of its in-flight product rather than a “seismic shift”.
“It is an enhancement not so much in leg-room but in terms of comfort,” he said.
The airline is working closely with Singapore’s Changi Airport in an attempt to counter the threat posed by Dubai as a stopover for Australians flying to Europe.
Qantas switched from flying two A380s a day to London via Singapore in late March to Dubai as part of its alliance with Emirates.
“This product unveil comes for a critical time for us because there is a lot of focus on Singapore and Changi Airport,” Mr Menon said.
Singapore Airlines’ last major changes to its inflight products was in 2007 when it began flying A380s.
The latest revamp will not be rolled out on the airline’s fleet of superjumbos.
With the Australian economy relatively resilient, Singapore Airlines has expanded aggressively on routes to Australia, and last week increased flights from 112 a week to 121.
It includes a fourth daily service between Singapore and Melbourne, and an increase in weekly flights to Adelaide from 10 to 12.
Singapore Airlines doubled its stake in Virgin Australia to 20 per cent in April, and the pair have an alliance on routes to Asia and Europe.
The airlines have also been in talks about strengthening their loyalty programs and members’ ability to earn and redeem points.
In May, Singapore Airlines made a $US17 billion order for new planes, including the stretched version of the 787 Dreamliner.
Splitting its order between the world’s two major plane-makers, the airline will buy 30 Boeing 787-10Xs and 30 more Airbus A350-900s.
The A350s will be fitted with the new cabins when they are eventually delivered.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.