Singapore Airlines will begin flying its revamped Airbus A380 -- fitted with an all-business class upper deck, along the same lines as Korean Air's A380 -- to London and Zurich from October 1st, according to flight schedules logged into the global distribution system (GDS) used by travel agents and reported by Airline Route.
The second-gen A380 made its debut on the Sydney-Singapore route on flights SQ221 and SQ212, and with every one of the 86 ultra-wide business class seats upstairs in a comfortable 1-2-1 configuration, every passenger has access to the aisle. We've already put together a guide to the best of these seats, and the ones to avoid.
Economy passengers, however, will have to resign themselves to the economy class cabin downstairs when they fly on the new planes.
On SQ's original A380 layout, savvy travellers on a budget picked the smaller 88-seat economy upstairs cabin. This had two fewer seats per row to climb over, and a popular mini-cabin at the very back in rows 80-83 that really made a difference on long-haul flights.
The airline's newest A380 cuts the economy cabin back to 311 seats, all located downstairs, along with a dozen of Singapore Airlines' highly-regarded first class suites. (You can check out the seatplan at http://www.singaporeair.com/pdf/seatmaps/airbus380-all-business-upperdeck.pdf.)
SQ has eight of the new superjumbos on order, all of which increase overall business class capacity by 40% and removing less-profitable economy seats.
The new seating plan is a vote of confidence in the resurgent business travel market, with Singapore Airlines clearly expecting to boost ticket sales and put more business class bums on seats.
However, Singapore Airlines will retain the existing layout and upstairs economy cabin on its current A380 fleet rather than retrofit these to the new design.