KrisFlyer News Singapore Airlines

Brisbane and KL get the Singapore Airlines A350 Regional from January

The A350 Regional starts to replace standard A350s on the SIA network. Good news or bad?

Overview 2

The first Singapore Airlines Airbus A350 in regional configuration touched down at Changi on Saturday evening following its delivery flight from the Airbus factory in France, in preparation for regular flights with the type to both Adelaide and Jakarta from 17th December.

While it was already rumoured that Brisbane would follow Adelaide as the next medium-haul A350 route, this has now been confirmed with an A350 Regional replacing a ‘regular’ A350 on one of the four daily flights to the Queensland capital from 7th January 2019.

The same aircraft will also be used to fly the evening Singapore – Kuala Lumpur rotation from the same date.

The A350 Regional

Now that there are three variants of A350s in the Singapore Airlines fleet, we wrote a guide in October to help you understand the differences, and work out which variant you’ll be flying based on the seat map.

Essentially this new variant ‘bunches’ up 40 of the new 2018 Regional Business Class seats in a more efficient floor space compared with the standard A350, which had 42 of the bigger 2013 Business Class seats, then does away with the Premium Economy cabin to allow for a large 263-seat Economy Class section.

Champagne.jpg
Business Class on the A350 Regional. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The slightly wider cabin width in the A350 should mean more aisle space compared with the 787-10, as the seats themselves are identical.

As far as award space is concerned, the slight reduction in Business Class capacity shouldn’t have too much of an impact, and we expect the large increase in Economy Class capacity will enhance availability in that cabin.

Brisbane schedule

The A350 Regional will operate the daily SQ235 Singapore to Brisbane flight from the evening of 7th January 2019. The aircraft will depart Singapore at 9.15pm, with overnight service landing into Brisbane shortly after 7am the next morning.

SQ A350 Takeoff (Tim Dennert).jpg
The second Singapore Airlines A350 Regional variant will serve Brisbane and Kuala Lumpur from early January 2019. (Photo: Tim Dennert)

On the return sector the A350 Regional will then fly SQ256 from 8th January 2019, departing each morning at 9.10am and touching down in Singapore at 12.10pm.

We’ve highlighted the A350 Regional flights with the new 2018 RJ seats in yellow in the following tables. All flights operate daily.

Singapore to Brisbane

From 7th January 2019
Flight From / To Aircraft Business Seat
SQ255 SIN0045 – BNE1045 359 2013 J
SQ265 SIN0715 – BNE1655 772** 2006 J**
SQ245 SIN0945 – BNE1945 359 2013 J
SQ235 SIN2115 – BNE0715* 359 2018 RJ

* Next day
** A330-300 with 2009 RJ seats until 6th January 2019

Brisbane to Singapore

From 8th January 2019
Flight From / To Aircraft Business Seat
SQ256 BNE0910 – SIN1210 359 2018 RJ
SQ236 BNE1445 – SIN2045 359 2013 J
SQ266 BNE1810 – SIN0010* 772** 2006 J**
SQ246 BNE2325 – SIN0510* 359 2013 J

* Next day
** A330-300 with 2009 RJ seats until 6th January 2019

Brisbane Skyline (Michael Glass)
Brisbane will be the second Australian city to be served daily by Singapore Airlines’ new A350 Regional. (Photo: Michael Glass)

Is it good news?

This is a slightly different proposition to the Adelaide announcement. In that case Singapore Airlines was replacing an A330 featuring 2009 Regional seats in Business Class with the new 2018 Regional Business Class product, widely seen as a big step up especially on overnight flights where a flat-bed is essential.

With the Brisbane route however the regular SIA A350 with long-haul 2013 Business Class seats is being replaced with the new regional seat, which many see as a slightly inferior due to less available space.

11A
Great for privacy, but many will find the 2018 RJ seat a bit tighter than the 2013 J seat on the Brisbane flights. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

On the plus side Business Class passengers on these flights will no longer have to sleep at an awkward angle with their feet in a small cubby hole at the side – the 2018 RJ seat and footwell is aircraft fuselage aligned in bed mode.

For what it’s worth we really like the new 2018 Regional Business Class seat, having flown on it (and reviewed it) twice. It offers great privacy whichever seat you get when flying solo, and the couple middle pairs are sufficiently sociable with the central divider retracted.

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Click here to read our comprehensive review of the first ever commercial flight to feature Singapore Airlines’ new 2018 RJ Business Class

If the ‘couple’ seats at alternate middle rows are of interest to you then the good news is the A350 Regional offers six such pairs in Business Class, two of which have additional space at the bulkhead positions (row 11 and row 19).

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The A350 Regional Business Class Seat Map. (Image: Singapore Airlines)

Check out our special review of these couple seats highlighting the differences, including some advantages of the bulkhead rows.

Obviously if Premium Economy is a favourite travel class of yours on the Brisbane route, options are getting more limited as only two of the four flights per day will now offer this option.

Indeed we note that from 1st April 2019 Singapore Airlines is ceasing Premium Economy ticket sales on another A350 Brisbane flight (SQ255/236), suggesting it too will switch to the A350 Regional around that time.

Kuala Lumpur schedule

Flying to and from Brisbane once a day isn’t the most efficient use of a plane which likely sets Singapore Airlines back S$2,000 an hour in lease costs, whether they fly it or not.

As with the Adelaide aircraft, which also flies to and from Jakarta the same day, this second aircraft will complete an afternoon Singapore – Kuala Lumpur return service in between each daily Adelaide rotation.

Here’s the schedule on the KL route if you want a (very short) 2018 Regional Business Class experience, with the relevant aircraft again highlighted in yellow.

From 7th January 2019
Flight From / To Aircraft Business Seat
SQ106 SIN0830 – KUL0930 333 2009 RJ
SQ116 SIN1645 – KUL1750 359 2018 RJ
SQ118 SIN1840 – KUL1940 333 2009 RJ
SQ107 KUL1025 – SIN1125 333 2009 RJ
SQ117 KUL1840 – SIN1945 359 2018 RJ
SQ119 KUL2030 – SIN2130 333 2009 RJ

KrisFlyer redemptions

KFtrans

Here are the KrisFlyer redemption rates you’ll pay by cabin on the Singapore – Brisbane route:

KrisFlyer Redemption Singapore – Brisbane
Saver Advantage
Economy 28,500 55,000
Business 58,000 90,000

And here’s the cost on the Kuala Lumpur route:

KrisFlyer Redemption Singapore – Kuala Lumpur
Saver Advantage
Economy 7,500 15,000
Business 17,500 35,000

For the Kuala Lumpur flight this redemption probably isn’t worth it. You can try out the 2018 Regional Business Class flight on the longer Jakarta sector for the same miles rate, and indeed all the way to Bali for the same rate too.

Award availability

We took a look at KrisFlyer Business Class saver award availability on the flight operated by the A350 Regional between Singapore and Brisbane.

From the start of service with this new type on 7th January through the end of that month there is saver award space on around half of the days, no doubt impacted strongly by the end of school holidays in Australia at the end of January.

Once schools are back on 28th January, it’s a quick ramp-up of award space as you’d expect, but even before that there are several days with a pair of saver Business Class seats available, especially on the Wednesday evening and Saturday evening departures from Singapore, which seem less popular.

January 2019 (SQ235 SIN-BNE)
M T W T F S S
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
WL WL 2 2 2 1
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
WL 2 2 2 WL
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
WL WL 2 WL WL 2 WL
28 29 30 31
2 4 6+

WL – Waitlist

On the Brisbane to Singapore flight it’s a different story altogether. School holidays coming to an end in Queensland means far less demand heading northbound to Singapore at that time of year.

Between 7th January and the end of that month, with the exception of two days, there is plenty of saver award space up for grabs in Business Class on this flight – upwards of six seats on many days.

January 2019 (SQ256 BNE-SIN)
M T W T F S S
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
1 WL 1 1 6+ 2 5
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
2 6+ 3 WL 3 6+ 4
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
6+ 5 4 2 5 6+ 6+
28 29 30 31
4 4 3 5

WL – Waitlist

Where else the 2018 RJ seat is flying

With a growing fleet of Boeing 787-10 and Airbus A350 Regional aircraft the options for flying Singapore Airlines’ new Regional Business Class are expanding all the time. We have a dedicated tracker page, which is continually updated to reflect operation of this new cabin on the SIA network.

Click here to check which other routes feature the 2018 RJ seat on our dedicated tracker page

Don’t forget you can also see which Business Class seat types are being used across all Singapore Airlines flights over the next year or so on our Business Class Seats by Route page.

Summary

Those flying regularly between Singapore and Brisbane in Singapore Airlines Business Class may not be too happy with this news – the 2018 RJ seat is a bit narrower than the 2013 J long-haul product it is replacing on this flight, and we expect the other A350 flights on this route to go the same way later in 2019 as the A350 Regional fleet grows.

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Many will no doubt miss the wider 2013 Business Class seat on these flights. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Premium Economy options are also becoming more limited to Brisbane as a result, and as we foresee the entire 4x daily operation switching to the A350 Regional in future it’s likely to vanish altogether perhaps by the end of 2019.

On the plus side we’re big fans of the new Regional Business Class seats and we think everyone should try them at least once. Award availability in the first few weeks of A350 Regional operation on the Brisbane route is also fairly generous, especially on the BNE-SIN sector.

Do you think the current A350 being replaced by the A350 Regional on the Brisbane route is a positive or negative thing? Let us know in the comments section below.

(Cover Photo: MainlyMiles)

9 comments

  1. Hi Andrew. Thanks for the article. I think SQ265 and SQ266 have switched over the A330 instead – perhaps you can verify and amend your business class seat type? Thank you.

    1. Hi Justin,

      Thanks for your message. Current SQ265/266 A330 operation is temporary until 6th Jan 2019, from 7th Jan 2019 it reverts back to 777-200ER (2006 J), however I’ve added a note to clarify!

      1. Thanks Andrew for the clarification! Aw shucks, I end up getting the A330 instead of the 772 due to my flight dates – was hoping i was wrong.

      1. I wish.. but Redemption.. and no KF status.. that’s gonna be more than just tough.. especially in J.. and we’ve got 3 seats.. ☹️

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