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Sydney is next for Singapore Airlines’ A380s, as Australia plans further border reopening

Singapore Airlines will fly its A380s to Sydney from 1st December, with daily service, restoring its latest cabin products on the 'kangaroo route'.

Just a week after confirming that the London route would mark the return of its Airbus A380s into passenger service for the first time since COVID-19, Singapore Airlines has announced that Sydney will be the second city on the network to have regular superjumbo service restored.

Daily flights will commence on 1st December 2021.

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This news coincides with recent border relaxations in Australia, with fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents free to travel in and out of the country via Sydney from 1st November 2021.

“With the NSW and Australian border opening up from 1 November, the A380 will support even more Australians hoping to reconnect with loved ones ahead of the Christmas period.”

Louis Arul, Regional Vice President, Singapore Airlines

A two-way Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) or similar arrangement between Singapore and Australia is also expected to be announced as early as next week, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison suggesting this will initially include students and business travellers, followed by overseas visitors “before the end of the year”.

SIA will be hoping to tap significant international travel demand as Australia opens its borders. (Photo: Rolf Wallner)

In combination with pent-up demand from Aussies travelling overseas and returning home, not to mention the upcoming festive period, SIA clearly feels confident that the time is right to bring the A380 back on the Sydney route.



 


 

The schedule

From 1st December 2021 the Singapore Airlines A380 will return to the Sydney route on seven of the 17 weekly flights to and from Changi, as shown in the following schedule.

Singapore    Sydney

1st December 2021
to 26th March 2022
Airbus A380s operate on highlighted flights

  Days
M T W T F S S
SQ231
A380
SIN
00:45
SYD
11:50
SQ241
787-10
       
SIN
07:05
SYD
17:55
SQ211
777-300ER
SIN
10:30
SYD
21:20

Sydney    Singapore

1st December 2021
to 26th March 2022
Airbus A380s operate on highlighted flights

  Days
M T W T F S S
SQ212
777-300ER
SYD
09:05
SIN
14:15
SQ222
A380
SYD
16:10
SIN
21:20
SQ242
787-10
       
SYD
19:10
SIN
00:20*

* Next day

This service will replace a three-class Boeing 777-300ER on the SQ231/222 flight combination on a daily basis, meaning those lucky enough to already be booked in First Class will enjoy a fantastic ‘upgrade’ to the 2017 Suites cabin in either (or both) directions.

Singapore Airlines will be only the second airline to reinstate Airbus A380 service in Australia since COVID-19, after China Southern Airlines. Qantas now plans to bring its first superjumbos back on the Sydney – Los Angeles route from April 2022.

New cabin products

All 12 of Singapore Airlines’ Airbus A380s returning to passenger service will feature the airline’s latest 2017 cabin products, as we exclusively revealed in November 2020, in a 471-seat configuration:

  • 6 Suites
  • 78 Business Class
  • 44 Premium Economy Class
  • 343 Economy Class
The latest 2017 cabin products will feature on the Sydney route. (Photo: Daniel Gillaspia)

That means Sydney passengers have the 2017 Suites to look forward to (see our review), not to mention the excellent 2017 Business Class – our personal favourite in the carrier’s lineup (see our review).

There’s even the option at the middle seat pairs in Business Class to retract the divider for couples travelling together, who also benefit from a ‘double bed’ at the three bulkhead positions – Rows 11, 91 and 96.

Business Class double bed on the new A380. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The new and refitted A380s also benefit from the latest in-flight entertainment system and Wi-Fi connectivity.

KrisFlyer awards

These are the KrisFlyer award rates for the Singapore – Sydney route.

KFtrans

KrisFlyer Redemption
(one-way)
Singapore ⇄ Sydney
  Saver Advantage
Economy 28,000 55,000
Premium Economy 47,000 n/a
Business 62,000 90,000
First / Suites 85,000 155,000

For those based in Australia or the UK looking at redeeming all the way on the ‘kangaroo route’ via Singapore, the airline does set aside additional award space for city pairs like Sydney to London as part of its ‘married segment’ awards policy, even where there is no availability on individual segments of the journey.

The following award rates apply:

KFtrans

KrisFlyer Redemption
(one-way)
Sydney ⇄ London
  Saver Advantage
Economy 53,000 95,000
Premium Economy 91,500 n/a
Business 116,000 150,000
First / Suites 163,000 275,000

The A380 flight SQ222 from Sydney to Singapore pairs up nicely with SQ322 from Singapore to London, also operated by the A380, with a 2 hour 25 minute layover at Changi.

Pick SQ222 and SQ322 for the A380 all the way from Sydney to London

Will the Sydney SilverKris lounge reopen?

With border relaxations on the cards and SIA offering around 6,000 seats per week from Sydney by December, it’s surely an inevitable development that we’ll see the shutters come down on the airline’s dedicated SilverKris lounge at the airport.

The Sydney SilverKris lounge has been closed for over 18 months. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

This was the first of the carrier’s facilities to receive the ‘home away from home’ makeover, a concept by interior designers ONG&ONG, in December 2013.

Sydney SilverKris lounge. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

The design has since been rolled out to six other lounges on the airline’s international network, including the only other overseas SilverKris facility currently in operation at London Heathrow.

SIA will operate a slimmed-down selection of 10 overseas SilverKris lounges after COVID-19, with three of the facilities marked as permanent victims of the pandemic.

Kuala Lumpur is first

While Singapore Airlines’ first ‘proper’ post-pandemic A380 route will be to and from London commencing 18th November, the carrier has been making headlines recently for a series of return trips the aircraft will fly on the short 30-minute hop between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

These will be the shortest A380 passenger flights in the world during their 30 days of operation from 4th November to 3rd December.

They will facilitate training as the airline’s A380 pilots and cabin crew get back up to speed on the aircraft prior to it’s reintroduction to long-haul service.

For most crews it has now been 19 months since they last flew on the aircraft.

Other airlines are also muscling in

It’s not just SIA taking advantage of Australia’s border relaxations. Qantas is bringing forward its international relaunch in line with the latest government border proposals.

Cathay Pacific is restoring its full schedule of 10 flights per week from Hong Kong to Sydney on 1st November, and is trying to lure UK-based Aussies in particular to choose its flights via Hong Kong to return home.

(Image: Cathay Pacific)

Qatar Airways is also restoring its frequencies between Doha and both Sydney and Melbourne from four and three times weekly to daily in both cases, its pre-COVID levels.

Singapore Airlines will certainly be hoping its commitment to the Australian market throughout the COVID-19 pandemic will stand it in good stead to pick up a high share of the demand.

“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the highly challenging and financially constrained operating environment, SIA invested heavily to ensure Australia remained connected to the world.

“We have operated almost 4,000 passenger flights helping to bring close to 67,000 people to Australia, the vast majority being Australians wanting to return home, as well as 3,000 cargo-only flights to keep key trade channels open, allowing essential medical supplies, PPE and COVID-19 vaccines to be delivered.”

Louis Arul, Regional Vice President, Singapore Airlines

Prior to COVID-19, Singapore Airlines carried 8.3% of international passengers to and from Australia, making it the third largest carrier by this metric, after Qantas (17.4%) and Jetstar (8.7%).

Summary

As the border walls start to come down, Singapore Airlines is keen to maintain its position as one of the leading carriers in its key markets, with Australia being no exception.

This announcement of the second long-haul A380 route returning to the network is another important step towards a full recovery for the airline, which will eventually see a 12-strong superjumbo fleet plying the international route map, all of which are decked out with the latest cabin products.

A Singapore Airlines A380 departing Sydney. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

We keenly await details of Australia’s wider border reopening plans later this year, though these should see international visitors welcomed by the end of December according to the Prime Minister, perhaps via an extension to the VTL scheme or a specific travel bubble arrangement between the two nations.

It also seems all but certain that this news will trigger a reopening of the Sydney SilverKris lounge in the near future, for a more complete passenger experience – all the way from Sydney to London for some!

(Cover Photo: Agent Wolf / Shutterstock)

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