We first talked about the new Boeing 787-10 back in October. It’s the future ‘king’ of the Singapore Airlines regional fleet, with the airline having a total of 49 of the type on order. SIA is also launch customer for the aircraft, a 787 variant which is an 18ft stretch of the 787-9 currently used by budget subsidiary Scoot.
A little recap
There are a few reasons we’re quite excited about this new plane. Maybe a bit too excited. Here’s our summary of what to expect:
- A medium-haul route focus, replacing A330 and 777-200/300 aircraft on flights up to eight hours from Singapore.
- A brand new flat-bed regional business class product, probably the Stelia Aerospace ‘Opal’ staggered 1-2-1 configuration.
- No premium economy section (we called it first, in October 2017, and Australian Business Traveller are now predicting the same for the regional A350 aircraft). We will have a lot of egg on our face if it rocks up three-class now!
- A two-class configuration, in our opinion, of about 38-42 business class seats in the forward section (staggered 1-2-1 config), and 266-284 seats in economy (3-3-3 config). That means 304-326 seats in total, which will make it the highest density regional aircraft in the fleet (once the lone 777-200 ‘Version 1’ aircraft ‘SRL’ is put out to pasture).
- Panasonic Avionics Wi-Fi, as fitted to the Scoot 787 fleet, which from our experience actually works pretty well.
- Initial routes to Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and possibly Bangkok, as these are normally used by Singapore Airlines for crew training in the first few weeks and months of operation (SIA have no 787-trained pilots or crew currently).
The latest information
Respected reporter on all things Dreamliner ‘787Blogger’ recently did a round-up of the delivery schedule for the aircraft family in 2018, and of course the eagerly-awaited 787-10 is well in the spotlight.
Certification now looks to be happening in March, which should still see the first aircraft, 9V-SCA, delivered by the end of that month.
That should mean commercial services commence in early April 2018, though of course with the aircraft still in the test and certification phase, the forecasts remain preliminary.
The latest Singapore Airlines Annual Report also showed no 787-10 deliveries in the current financial year (ending 31 March), so it’s possible that SCA may have to wait until early April to be delivered.
9V-SCB, which was actually built first but plays a role in the official 787-10 test certification program, will join the SIA fleet in April 2018.
The interesting thing from the ‘787Blogger’ update is that 8 of these aircraft will apparently be delivered to SIA during 2018, in fact by the end of October. If true, it’s a faster introduction rate than we were first expecting.
In fact that represents half of all 787-10s due to be delivered in 2018, and SIA should have 7 of these aircraft in service before Etihad, the second operator, get their first one in October.
Proposed delivery schedule (subject to change)
* – SCG and SCH are the first two 787-10s ever built, currently flying as test aircraft as part of the certification and test campaign, but will require some re-work and customer interior fittings once they are finished, hence their later delivery dates.
As you can see, 6 aircraft should have been delivered by the middle of the year, with 3 proposed for handover in May alone. A total of 8 aircraft by October 2018 should mean a number of destinations and specific regular flights with the new regional flat-bed business product, not even accounting for the ‘A350 regional’ aircraft which will supplement the 787-10 with the same new cabin product.
Stay tuned to the blog as we’ll be keeping a close eye on this and will update the delivery schedule if it changes.
Singapore Airlines will reveal the new regional business class seat at a launch event sometime in the next couple of months, and we aim to try out the new regional business product shortly after it enters service, to write a comprehensive review.