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Surprise: Singapore Airlines will send its A380s to China again from April

SIA's sole weekly passenger flight to and from Shanghai will upgrade to the Airbus A380 from 4th April, offering the latest Suites and Business Class products.

Singapore Airlines has revealed a seventh destination for its flagship Airbus A380 fleet, as travel rebounds and 12 of the type are progressively returned to service, but it’s fair to say this is one we weren’t expecting to see any time soon.

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From 4th April 2022, the 471-seater superjumbo will take over from a Boeing 787-10 on once-weekly flights from Singapore to Shanghai and back, a route that has been operating throughout the pandemic under this limited frequency due to restrictions on passenger travel to and from Mainland China.

Despite tight border restrictions for those travelling to Mainland China, the fact that SIA is only allowed to carry passengers to and from Shanghai once per week may mean the passenger capacity of the A380 makes sense for the airline.

We weren’t expecting to see the Singapore Airlines A380 back on China routes so soon. (Photo: Li Yang)

The schedule

These 5 hour 30 minute flights will operate every Monday, with all other Shanghai services by Singapore Airlines being cargo-only operation, either by the passenger or freighter fleet.

4th April 2022 – 29th October 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= SQ830
A380
SIN
08:00
PVG

13:25
 bgcolor= SQ833
A380
           
PVG
16:50
SIN

22:20

The airline is also mounting an additional 20 times weekly cargo-only flights to and from Shanghai using passenger aircraft (almost always Boeing 787-10s), for overall three times daily operation, but one of those flights each week is permitted to carry passengers, and that’s the one being upgraded to the A380.

Unfortunately that will actually mean a slight reduction in freight space on the Shanghai route for SIA, with the Airbus A380 having 8% less underfloor cargo hold capacity compared to the Boeing 787-10.

KrisFlyer rates

These are the one-way KrisFlyer award rates for Singapore Airlines flights between Singapore and Shanghai.

KFtrans

KrisFlyer Redemption
(one-way)
Singapore ⇄ Shanghai
  Saver Advantage
Economy 20,000 40,000
Premium Economy 32,000 n/a
Business 39,000 65,000
First / Suites 53,000 98,000

Award space on this route looks to be waitlisted in most cabins, especially at the Saver level, so even if you are eligible to fly to or from Shanghai it may be a case of paying cash until more flight frequencies can be added, or waitlisting and hoping for the best.

SIA A380 fleet

Here’s the status of SIA’s 12 A380s returning to service post-COVID, including those that are already actively flying again, since November 2021.

Singapore Airlines A380 Fleet
(as of 24th March 2022)

Aircraft Current
Location
Version Status
9V-SKM SIN V3^   In Service
9V-SKN SIN V3^   In Service
9V-SKP ASP V2 Future
Refit & Re-entry
9V-SKQ SIN V2
(V3 pending)
Refit & Re-entry
9V-SKR SIN V3^   In Service
9V-SKS SIN V3^   In Service
9V-SKT SIN V3^   In Service
9V-SKU SIN V3   In Service
9V-SKV SIN V3   In Service
9V-SKW SIN V3   In Service
9V-SKY SIN V3   In Service
9V-SKZ SIN V3 Stored
Future Re-entry

^ Refitted from V2

ASP Alice Springs Airport, Australia
SIN Singapore Changi Airport

Only one A380 aircraft returning to the active fleet remains in storage at Alice Springs.

SIA A380 routes

Since bringing its A380s back into service post-COVID from November 2021, Singapore Airlines is now flying the superjumbos on three routes, with many more additions in the coming weeks, as shown below.

Singapore Airlines A380 Routes
(as of 24th March 2022)

Current Routes
Route Commenced Frequency
London
SQ322/317
18 Nov 2021 7 x weekly
Sydney
SQ231/222
1 Dec 2021 7 x weekly
Mumbai
SQ424/423
14 Mar 2022 7 x weekly
Future Routes
Route Starts Frequency
Frankfurt
SQ26/25
27 Mar 2022 7 x weekly
New York JFK*
SQ26/25
27 Mar 2022 7 x weekly
Shanghai
SQ830/833
4 Apr 2022 1 x weekly
Delhi
SQ406/403
15 Apr 2022 7 x weekly

* Via Frankfurt

By mid-April 2022 the airline’s Airbus A380s will be operating to and from seven cities on the network, all with new cabin products installed.

This schedule will require nine Airbus A380 aircraft (in line with the current active fleet total), with eight in almost consistent use and one acting as a spare, for operational requirements.

Singapore Airlines has nine of its A380s back in service, with three more to rejoin the fleet. (Photo: Plane’s Portrait Aviation Media / Malcolm Lu)

With three more aircraft for a 12-strong superjumbo fleet, it will be interesting to see which routes the aircraft are deployed on across the network in future.

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It would be great to think that destinations like Auckland, Melbourne, Zurich, Paris and Tokyo will all see the A380s again, but in reality that won’t be possible with a fleet only 60% of its pre-COVID size.

New cabin products

All of Singapore Airlines’ 12 Airbus A380s returning to service are fitted with the carrier’s latest 471-seat cabin configuration:

  • 6 Suites
  • 78 Business Class
  • 44 Premium Economy Class
  • 343 Economy Class

That’s good news for those who are eligible to fly to and from Shanghai at the moment, with the latest Suites and Business Class seats available, plus a premium Economy option not currently offered on Boeing 787-10 services.

Singapore Airlines A380 Business Class. (Photo: Agent Wolf / Shutterstock)

The aircraft also feature the latest KrisWorld in-flight entertainment system and Wi-Fi connectivity.

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Here are our reviews of the Suites (double bed) and Business Class cabins on these A380s.