KrisFlyer Singapore Airlines

Where is Singapore Airlines flying its new A380s?

There are now six Singapore Airlines A380s with the latest cabin products flying daily on six routes

SQ 2017 R Couple (Singapore Airlines)

It’s been over a year and a half since the first Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 with the new Suites and Business Class cabins commenced commercial flights between Singapore and Sydney. By August 2018 all five new A380s had been delivered to the airline, earning their keep on a constant route list of five cities.

That changed in June 2019 when a refitted A380 rejoined the fleet, the first of 14 scheduled to undergo conversion with the latest seats, allowing more city pairs to be operated by aircraft with the latest seats.

94A_2.jpg
An all-new Business Class design is installed on SIA’s new and refitted A380s. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Here’s where the six-strong fleet is currently flying.

Sydney

Sydney was the first route to get the new SIA A380 seats, just as it was when the airline’s first A380 entered commercial service back in October 2007.

Sydney.jpg

The newest plane at the time, 9V-SKU, took over the regular SQ221/232 flight departing Singapore just before 9pm on 18th December 2017. It returned the following day, and since then that flight has been exclusively operated by the A380s with the latest cabin products, apart from one-off substitutions.

Northern summer schedule
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ221 SIN2020 – SYD0555* 388 Daily
SQ232 SYD1100 – SIN1730 388 Daily

* Next day

Timings on this route differ slightly during the northern winter schedule, due to seasonal wind changes and Sydney’s observance of daylight saving time.

Northern winter schedule
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ221 SIN2040 – SYD0740* 388 Daily
SQ232 SYD1215 – SIN1735 388 Daily

* Next day

When the first refitted A380 entered service on 20th June 2019, Singapore Airlines used it to boost Sydney flights to twice daily with the new products by introducing the newly fitted aircraft on daily SQ231/222 services.

However that was a temporary arrangement until early August 2019, with the ‘sixth’ aircraft now redeployed elsewhere.

London

Singapore Airlines’ cash cow route to London Heathrow was next for newly decked out A380 number two. Earning the airline over US$2 million (S$2.8 million) per day in revenue, this high priority destination is always on the SIA’s radar for new products and services.

London (Mariana Martin).jpg
(Photo: Mariana Martin)

16th February 2018 marked the first time the new A380 seats flew to London, as SQ322, returning the next day as SQ317.

While initially this flight pairing was only running three days a week with a new A380 until a third example arrived in the fleet, it went daily from 1st May 2018 and has remained so ever since.

Northern summer schedule
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ322 SIN2330 – LHR0555* 388 Daily
SQ317 LHR1125 – SIN0730* 388 Daily

* Next day

Like the Sydney route this flight has a bit of seasonal wind adjustment and daylight saving time to contend with in the winter months, and operates on a slightly different schedule from November to March.

Northern winter schedule
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ322 SIN2345 – LHR0555* 388 Daily
SQ317 LHR1055 – SIN0750* 388 Daily

* Next day

Singapore to London is the longest non-stop A380 flight on the Singapore Airlines network, at up to 14 hours 10 minutes during the winter season.

Hong Kong

Just a couple of days after the London flights began receiving the new A380s Hong Kong became the next city on the roster, with flights operating four days per week with the new Suites and Business Class seats.

Hong Kong Skyline 4.jpg

Like London, the Hong Kong flight began to operate on a daily basis with the new products in early May 2018 following the delivery of the third new A380.

Northern summer schedule
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ856 SIN0955 – HKG1355 388 Daily
SQ861 HKG1540 – SIN1935 388 Daily

A small timing adjustment on the Hong Kong – Singapore flight SQ861 applies in the northern winter season.

Northern winter schedule
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ856 SIN0955 – HKG1355 388 Daily
SQ861 HKG1545 – SIN1945 388 Daily
Lobster.jpg
Boston lobster thermidor on our Suites flight from Singapore to Hong Kong last year. See our full review of the experience. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Zurich

Another European route picked up the new A380 from 2nd August 2018, the largest city in Switzerland, Zurich.

Zurich.jpg

Zurich also acts as Star Alliance partner Swiss International Air Lines’ hub. Unlike some previous route launches, the delivery of two new A380s in relatively close succession meant the Zurich flights became daily assignments from day one.

Northern summer schedule
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ346 SIN0125 – ZRH0815 388 Daily
SQ345 ZRH1145 – SIN0555* 388 Daily

* Next day

The usual factors lead to a schedule adjustment during the winter season on the route.

Northern winer schedule
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ346 SIN0130 – ZRH0750 388 Daily
SQ345 ZRH1035 – SIN0600* 388 Daily

* Next day

Shanghai

The final route to benefit from the first five new A380s delivered to Singapore Airlines was Shanghai, which like Zurich also started on a daily basis from 2nd August 2018.

Shanghai Skyline 2.jpg

Northern summer schedule
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ830 SIN0945 – PVG1505 388 Daily
SQ833 PVG1650 – SIN2220 388 Daily

Like the other routes, this one gets a slightly different timing in the November to March period.

Northern winter schedule
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ830 SIN0920 – PVG1435 388 Daily
SQ833 PVG1625 – SIN2215 388 Daily

Mumbai

There was a long gap with no new destinations for the newly configured A380s while we awaited the first refitted aircraft, 9V-SKS, to be returned to service.

That happened in June with the additional Sydney flights noted above, then for the month of August the Delhi route temporarily switched to the new planes.

The next permanent route though was Mumbai, which saw its regular daily A380 flight swapped to a newly configured A380 on 1st September 2019.

Mumbai.jpg

Northern summer schedule
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ424 SIN1900 – BOM2210 388 Daily
SQ423 BOM2340 – SIN0740* 388 Daily

* Next day

Timings in the winter months are as follows.

Northern winter schedule
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ424 SIN1855 – BOM2210 388 Daily
SQ423 BOM2335 – SIN0730* 388 Daily

* Next day

Route map

Here’s the current A380 Version 3 route map, correct at September 2019.

A380v3 Routes Sep19
(click to enlarge)

How’s the reliability?

Singapore Airlines has seen its A380 fleet a bit stretched recently, as regular maintenance and cabin refits have kept some planes in the hangar.

Here’s an analysis of how often the flights that are supposed to have the new cabin products actually did receive them on the day of operation, over the last year.

Route Roundtrip flights operated Reliability
Old A380s New A380s Total
London
SQ322/317
1 360 361 99.7%
Zurich
SQ346/345
7 356 363 98.1%
Sydney
SQ221/232
9 351 360 97.5%
Shanghai
SQ830/833
44 319 363 87.9%
Hong Kong
SQ856/861
66 296 362 81.8%
All Routes 127 1,682 1,809 93.0%

There is not sufficient data to analyse the reliability of the Mumbai route yet.

It’s no surprise that the shorter Hong Kong and Shanghai routes are the ‘fall guys’ when things go wrong. 66 of the last 362 flights to and from Hong Kong were operated by A380s with the older cabin products, a disappointing outcome if you were on board for one of those substitutions and were expecting the latest fit.

Toilet 1R Vanity.jpg
Don’t get your expectations up too much if you’re travelling in this new cabin on the Shanghai or Hong Kong routes, which have the highest chance of an aircraft swap. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

On the flip side the London flight SQ322/317 only had to make do with an older plane once over the last year, a 99.7% score for the new cabins. Zurich and Sydney are the other safe bets, as the airline clearly prioritises the longest routes.

Where else have they flown?

Some lucky passengers expecting to fly an older A380 Version 1 or 2 aircraft were in for a lucky surprise on occasional flights over the last year, which were substituted for the new A380 Version 3 for operational reasons. They included:

  • London (6 times)
  • Beijing (3 times)
  • Delhi (twice)
  • Mumbai (once)
  • Sydney (once)

Future routes

The next A380 to be converted to the latest cabin products, 9V-SKT, is still in the Changi hangar undergoing refit. It will join the fleet later this year and support a brand new A380 Version 3 destination from 1st January 2020 – Tokyo Narita.

Tokyo Skyline (Morio)
(Photo: Morio)

This will be a daily service, replacing an older A380 currently flying on the SQ638/637 flight pairing.

From 1st January 2020 (highlighted flights will operate with new cabin products)
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ638 SIN2355 – NRT0730* 388 Daily
SQ637 NRT1105 – SIN1745 388 Daily

* Next day

Flights switch to the summer timings from 29th March 2020.

Northern summer schedule
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ638 SIN2355 – NRT0800* 388 Daily
SQ637 NRT1110 – SIN1720 388 Daily

* Next day

KrisFlyer redemptions

If you’re looking to try out the new Suites or Business Class on these six routes, you’ll be wanting to secure a saver award redemption where possible. Here are the prevailing rates in those cabins by route, including for the upcoming Tokyo service.

KFtrans

KrisFlyer Redemption to/from Singapore
Business Suites
Hong Kong
SQ856/861
30,500 40,500
Mumbai
SQ424/423
39,000 53,000
Shanghai
SQ830/833
39,000 53,000
Tokyo
SQ638/637
(new products from 1 Jan 2020)
47,000 70,000
Sydney
SQ221/232
62,000 85,000
London
SQ322/317
92,000 125,000
Zurich
SQ346/345
92,000 125,000

Bear in mind that new Suites remain very popular, and with only six seats compared to 12 on the older A380s you’ll normally have to either waitlist for a saver award or pay advantage rates.

Mumbai is an exception, with lots of immediately confirmable availability compared to the other routes.

The Singapore Airlines A380 fleet

The current Singapore Airlines A380 fleet is configured as follows.

Reg Version Config
9V-SKF Version 1 12R
60J
36W
333Y
9V-SKG
9V-SKH
9V-SKI
9V-SKJ
9V-SKK
9V-SKL Version 2 12R
86J
36W
245Y
9V-SKM
9V-SKN
9V-SKP
9V-SKQ
9V-SKR
9V-SKS Version 3 6R
78J
44W
343Y
9V-SKT Version 2
(in refit to V3)
9V-SKU Version 3
9V-SKV
9V-SKW
9V-SKY
9V-SKZ

The seat maps will help you determine which aircraft type you’re flying on. In Suites Class a 1-2-1 configuration means the Version 1 or Version 2 aircraft, it’s a 1-1 configuration with just six Suites in total which represents the latest Version 3 fit.

In Business Class if the seat map goes up to row 27 it’s a Version 1 plane, up to row 96 means Version 2 and up to row 97 means the new Version 3.

Externally if the aircraft is parked in front of you at the gate, you can also tell the newer configuration compared to the older ones by observing the different window arrangement at the front of the aircraft.

!Front Window Differences.jpg

The main deck has no missing windows on the newer Version 3 aircraft, but instead the missing windows are apparent on the upper deck.

Finally if you’re striving for 100% AvGeek, you can tell all three versions apart by counting the number of windows behind the last upper deck door, if you can see that far.

!Rear Window Differences.jpg

A single window here is a Version 1 aircraft, two windows is Version 2 and four windows is Version 3.

Reviews

We have two comprehensive reviews from our first-hand experiences on this new aircraft, one of the 2017 Suites and the other from the 2017 Business Class.

$Promote.jpg

We weren’t totally enamoured by the new Suites product, which despite the ‘wow factor’ has many flaws, but we loved the latest Business Class and think it’s the best ever offered by the airline.

In both cases we also experienced the double bed arrangement, with adjoining Suites to Hong Kong and a bulkhead row in Business Class to Sydney.

$Promotion.jpg

As you’ll see from the reviews, the largest Suites are the forward two (1A and 1F), while the forward pair on each side (1A/2A and 1F/2F) can be combined into the double suite arrangement.

In Business Class there’s more foot space and bed length in the bulkhead seats at rows 11, 91 and 96, with the middle D/F pairs at each of these rows able to be converted into a double bed, of sorts.

Bedtime96_2.jpg
Double bed at row 96 on the SIA A380 Version 3. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

You can check out all our seating recommendations for the A380 Version 3 here.

Summary

A relatively rapid rollout of the new A380 cabin products in 2017/18 has slowed significantly, with refitted aircraft and therefore new routes now appearing only every four to six months or so.

1A Seat 2.jpg
Suite 1A on the SIA A380 Version 3. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Original plans called for the refit of the 14 older aircraft with the new products by the end of 2020, though it now looks inevitable that the project will take much longer.

Nonetheless we should see at least a couple more routes switch across to the Version 3 planes next year. As always we’ll let you know what those are as soon as it’s confirmed. In the meantime you can always check our regularly updated tracker page for the new products to confirm where they are heading on the network.

(Cover Photo: Singapore Airlines)

8 comments

    1. I reckon they all will, @Koh.. as in, all current A380 routes.. It’ll just be a matter of how long it takes to refit the old.. The only question would be IN WHICH ORDER would the switchover be..

      1. The problem is the pace of the refits, with some of the remaining routes requiring two refitted aircraft in order to be replaced on a daily basis, like Paris and the second daily London flight. FRA/JFK would require three refitted aircraft.

        So unless they withdraw a refitted plane (or two) from one of the existing routes (e.g. HKG/BOM/PVG/NRT) they would have to serve those destinations only 3 or 4 days per week (twice per week for JFK) for many months until another refit was finished.

        That makes it more likely I think that they will replace the flights that only need one aircraft, like the second daily Sydney, Beijing, Melbourne or Auckland.

        It’s all guesswork at this stage though – after Tokyo in Jan 2020 nothing is confirmed yet!

  1. Another incredible piece, Andrew… and your analysis, just brilliant!

    Just wanted to let you know.. I know you’ve mentioned this just about every time you write about their new Suites.. I thought I’ve give an updated view (my own) after having the privilege of flying in them thrice this year ZRH>SIN in Mar, SIN>HKG; HKG>SIN in Jun..

    They made really positive improvements to all the initial flaws you’ve mentioned from the earlier days.. eg..

    – They now have mattress toppers on request, should anyone feel that the mattress is too firm;

    – They now have little foldable foot-stools for those who would like to dine together. The foot-stools looked quite low-rent, to be honest, and gave feedback that a simple skirt on Velcro around the base of cushion (instead of the exposed skinny folding legs) would go a long way.. I hope they’ve done so..

    – The slightly rickety seat stump/ base which I experience ZRH>SIN was no longer on my SIN>HKG-SIN flights..

    I love the new Suites to bits! and the toilets now are sooo much more befitting ‘Suites’ standards.. The only thing I wished they had added, especially given so much dead space in the starboard toilets, would be a shower.. to me, that’s where they really went cheap on.. it would mean a great deal to me if I could get a shower before landing, after a 12+ hour flight…

    Oh well… maybe they’ll read this and agree with me.. 🤞🏻🤞🏻

    1. They have said they will, but my personal opinion is realistically no.

      For one thing it would take years, until late 2024 at the current rate. By then the airline will have a number of the (huge) 777-9s in service, at least some of which can easily replace A380 flying much more efficiently (e.g. FRA/JFK, which occupies three planes).

      Apparently each A380 refit is costing close to S$40m, that’s not far off the budget to renovate all four of the airline’s flagship Changi T3 lounges! It’s just not feasible to refit them all, in my opinion.

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