Singapore Airlines plans to reduce the number of first class suites in the next wave of its flagship Airbus A380s, although the remaining private suites are expected to be larger.
Speaking at the handover ceremony for SQ's first Airbus A350 in Toulouse, Singapore Airlines CEO Mr Goh Choon Phong revealed that superjumbos to be delivered from 2017 would see fewer suites at the pointy end.
The current A380s have 12 plush private suites at the front of the lower deck, with the middle four able to be converted into a 'double suite'.
As the first carrier to fly the Airbus A380 in 2007, Singapore Airlines introduced the concept of private suites – a move quickly aped by Emirates and most recently Etihad Airways.
Emirates' A380s are fitted with 14 first class suites, although the Gulf powerhouse also has some suite-free superjumbos with just business and economy seating.
Emirates is also working on its own first class suite upgrade, which the airline says will be "more like a private railway cabin."
The Etihad A380s sport just nine private suites, although the upper deck is also home to a three-room 'flying penthouse' known as The Residence.
Goh didn't tip how many suites would be cut from the floorplan of the new A380s, which would begin flying in 2017.
Those next-gen superjumbos will debut an all-new first class suite that's tipped to be larger than the current rooms in an attempt to narrow the gap against the almost 4m² of Etihad's first class Apartments.
Also slated for Singapore Airlines' next A380s will be all-new business class seats, which will also find their way into the ultra-long range Airbus A350 due to fly non-stop from Singapore to Los Angeles and New York from 2018, with around 170 seats compared to just over 250 passengers in SQ's long-range A350-900.
Singapore Airlines is expected to draw inspiration from the airline's current design for the Boeing 777-300ERs and Airbus A350s.
Singapore Airlines CEO Mr Goh Choon Phong last year told Australian Business Traveller that unlike the 'all business class’ model of SQ's previous non-stop Airbus A340 flights, the layout for the long-legged jets "will probably be more than just business class, I think it will be a mix of cabin classes."
This is likely to see a mostly business class configuration bookended by small first class and premium economy cabins.
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