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.
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.
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
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.
These are the one-way KrisFlyer award rates for Singapore Airlines flights between Singapore and Shanghai.
Singapore ⇄ Shanghai
|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)
Refit & Re-entry
|Refit & 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)
|18 Nov 2021||7 x weekly|
|1 Dec 2021||7 x weekly|
|14 Mar 2022||7 x weekly|
|27 Mar 2022||7 x weekly|
|New York JFK*
|27 Mar 2022||7 x weekly|
|4 Apr 2022||1 x weekly|
|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.
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.
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.
The aircraft also feature the latest KrisWorld in-flight entertainment system and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Here are our reviews of the Suites (double bed) and Business Class cabins on these A380s.
Older cabin products are not returning
Singapore Airlines confirmed back in November 2020 that all 12 of its Airbus A380s returning to the fleet would feature the latest cabin products prior to re-entry to service, meaning we had already seen the end of the longstanding 2006 Business Class and 2007 Suites from the Singapore Airlines network.
Don’t miss our heartfelt farewells to products we’ll probably all miss, even if they were a little past their prime.
Singapore Airlines will serve seven cities with its Airbus A380s by mid-April 2022, including this relatively surprising addition of a once-weekly Shanghai flight.
This will allow the airline to maximise passenger capacity on a route it is only permitted to fly once per week, due to tight border restrictions.
With three more A380s still to rejoin the active fleet in the months ahead, it will be interesting to see what other destinations we can look forward to with the new cabin products (fingers crossed for Tokyo, once Japan reopens!).
(Cover Photo: Plane’s Portrait Aviation Media / Malcolm Lu)