Over the Christmas / New Year break, Australian Business Traveller will be revisiting some of our most popular articles of 2017. We’re still around to report on any breaking news during this time, otherwise our regular publishing schedule will resume on Monday January 8, 2018.
EXCLUSIVE | Singapore Airlines will adopt an all-new regional business class seat for its Boeing 787-10 fleet, with a curved pod-like design based on the Opal platform from Airbus-owned cabin interior specialists Stelia Aerospace.
Sources within Singapore Airlines with knowledge of the Boeing 787-10 project confirmed the Star Alliance member's choice of the Opal 'premium business class' seat to Australian Business Traveller.
Singapore Airlines is the global launch customer for the Boeing 787-10 – the largest member of the Dreamliner family, which begins flying in SQ stripe in early 2018.
The Opal design – shown here in Stelia's basic 'off the rack' look – has been customised design for Singapore Airlines and mirrors the colour and material palette of Singapore Airlines' current-generation Boeing 777 and Airbus A350 business class seat (below), as well as the new Airbus A380 business class seat that's due to be revealed on November 2.
The forward-facing seats follow a 1-2-1 layout, using a staggered design where each seat dovetails into the ones in front and behind, while each passenger has direct access to the aisle.
This pattern also puts some seats directly next to the window while others are adjacent to the aisle.
The Opal seats fold out into a lie-flat bed which Stelia rates at a minimum of 77 inches (195cm), although airlines can opt for an even longer bed.
The well-appointed seat follows a 'high-tech, high-touch' mantra, with all the mods cons for business travellers...
... including a tablet stand integrated into the long meal table.
A spokesman for Singapore Airlines declined to confirm or deny the Opal would appear at the pointy end of the Boeing 787-10, telling Australian Business Traveller that "an announcement regarding the configuration and cabin products that will be onboard our 787-10 will be announced closer to the aircraft's entry into service."
Singapore Airlines has 49 high-headcount Boeing 787-10s on order, with the stretched jetliners sporting three cabins for business class, premium economy and economy.
The first Boeing 787-10 is due in early 2018 and will see the Star Alliance member begin a fleet modernisation program with older Boeing 777-200s being put out to pasture, while the Airbus A350s take over from the A330s.
Singapore Airlines has earmarked the jets for medium-range routes – which in SQ parlance means flights up to eight hours, a span which encompasses all of its Australian services.
"Deployment plans for these aircraft are still being finalised and destinations will be announced in due course," the Singapore Airlines spokesman said.