Great news for Airbus A380 fans, or those eager to try the latest Singapore Airlines Suites and Business Class cabin products, with the carrier confirming its latest plans for the superjumbo during the upcoming winter season.
From 30th October, which marks the start of the IATA northern winter timetable, SIA will double down on A380 flights to London, reinstating its highest capacity aircraft on the SQ308/319 flights, alongside the existing SQ322/317 service.
This will restore pre-COVID capacity to the airline’s London route, including two other daily flights using a four-class Boeing 777-300ER and a three-class Airbus A350 Long Haul aircraft.
It will also mean 12 of the latest Suites flying to and from London each day, on top of a whopping 156 of the latest 2017 Business Class seats, though picking up Saver award redemptions remains challenging given the route’s popularity.
Singapore Airlines currently flies the following schedule between Changi Airport and London Heathrow on a daily basis, which will continue until 29th October 2022:
- SQ306/305 (777-300ER)
- SQ308/319 (777-300ER)
- SQ318/321 (777-300ER*)
- SQ322/317 (A380)
* A350 Long Haul from 1st October 2022
Here’s how the full schedule including flight timings looks for the upcoming northern winter season from 30th October 2022, with Airbus A380s operating on highlighted flights.
30th October 2022
to 25th March 2023
A350 Long Haul
* Next day
30th October 2022
to 25th March 2023
* Next day
The SQ308/319 superjumbo flights from 30th October will replace a three-class Boeing 777-300ER 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.
SQ308 will offer a daytime A380 option from Singapore to London, while SQ319 will add an evening departure out of Heathrow for arrival back in Changi the following afternoon, often a preferable timing for those maximising their trip or meeting the late night departure connection bank to Australia, for example.
As part of the newly confirmed winter schedule, SQ318 and SQ321 will be operated by an Airbus A350 Long Haul aircraft, rather than a 777-300ER, which unfortunately removes the First Class option on these flights.
In total, however, this schedule will mean SIA is offering 20,426 seats per week to and from London, 6% more than pre-COVID (based on January 2020), thanks to the higher total capacity of the latest A380 cabin fits.
London was the first post-COVID A380 route
London was the first route to have A380 operations reinstated by Singapore Airlines after the fleet was grounded due to the pandemic, with daily flights in operation since November 2021.
The type was also used on a series of Singapore – Kuala Lumpur flights the previous month to allow crew to get back up to speed on the superjumbo, and has since been reintroduced on regular services to Sydney, Delhi, Mumbai, Frankfurt, New York and Shanghai.
The airline now has ten A380s in regular service, with the final two undergoing refit with the latest cabins, though the oldest seven jets are not returning to the fleet and have either been scrapped or will be disposed of in due course.
Here’s the status of SIA’s 12 A380s returning to service post-COVID, including those that are already actively flying again.
Singapore Airlines A380 Fleet
(as of 24th March 2022)
|Refit & Re-entry|
|Refit & Re-entry|
^ Refitted from V2
SIN Singapore Changi Airport
Our analysis shows that the winter 2022/23 schedule including the addition of SQ308/319 flights will require a minimum of nine A380s, with all eight airborne at certain times of day, while the ninth is parked on the ground in New York between flights.
That means a fleet of 10 should be sufficient, to cover routine maintenance, delays and operational disruptions.
Completion of refits for 9V-SKP and -SKQ therefore do not appear to be necessary in order for this schedule to operate, including the double daily London flights from late October.
With the eventual return of those two aircraft in the new configuration, we should see one or two additional daily A380 options join the fold, but with a slimmed-down fleet of 12 instead of 19 a return to many former superjumbo routes like Auckland, Zurich and Melbourne seems unlikely.
A380 cabin products & reviews
All 12 Airbus A380s returning to the Singapore Airlines fleet are being refitted with the latest cabin products before they re-enter service, as we exclusively revealed in November 2020.
The biggest selling point of the newly configured A380s is the latest Suites cabin, located on the forward upper deck with a capacity of just six, three either side of a central aisle.
Two of the Suite pairs (1A/2A and 1F/2F) can combine to form a double suite if you are travelling with someone else.
You can read our review of the double suite on a flight from Singapore to Hong Kong in 2018 below.
Although Singapore Airlines stopped short of installing showers in the latest A380 fit, there are two large washrooms at the front of the cabin, one of which is so big it has its own separate vanity area.
We also enjoyed the ‘A380 Restaurant@Changi’ experience on board the new Suites cabin back in October 2020 – see our review here.
2017 Business Class
Another great advantage of the new Singapore Airlines A380 cabins is the excellent Business Class product, our personal favourite in the fleet, with 78 of these seats occupying the rest of the upper deck in a 1-2-1 layout.
There’s the option at the middle seat pairs 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.
This is our personal favourite among the airline’s Business Class seats, so it’s great to see it offered twice per day to and from London for the first time.
SIA’s A380s have the airline’s largest Premium Economy cabin, with 44 seats in a 2-4-2 layout at the front of the main deck.
Each seat is 19.5 inches wide, with eight-inch recline and seat pitch of 38 inches.
The seats were first introduced by the airline in 2013 on the Boeing 777-300ER and are by German manufacturer ZIM Flugsitz.
A slightly narrower 19-inch-wide version is installed on the Airbus A350 long-haul variant, widely in service to and from Europe, so passengers usually appreciate the additional space these ones provide on the 777 and A380.
Economy Class on the new A380s has the latest Recaro CL3710 seats, complete with the airline’s own customisation.
One of the biggest benefits is the latest IFE system with an 11.1-inch touchscreen, plus individual USB charging and shared multi-standard power sockets.
Latest KrisFlyer award rates
Singapore Airlines recently hiked KrisFlyer redemption rates across its network, including for travel to and from London.
Here are the latest KrisFlyer award rates for the Singapore – London route, including for the (likely very elusive) Suites cabin.
Singapore ⇄ London
|First / Suites||141,000||225,500|
Don’t expect this capacity increase to coincide with a flood of Saver awards, given the popularity of the route, but hopefully things will settle a little after the festive season into 2023.
Where available, A380 Suites awards currently loaded on this route are at the Advantage level, though there are opportunities to score two Saver awards in Business Class on many dates.
London is a ‘cash cow’ route
Singapore to London Heathrow is SIA’s ‘cash cow’, earning the highest revenue of any route pre-COVID and no doubt today as well.
The carrier was netting over US$2 million (S$2.8 million) per day in revenue on these flights in 2019, so this is always a high priority destination for capacity and the latest cabin products.
Unfortunately it’s also the reason award space can be hard to come by, and then there’s the very high Air Passenger Duty (APD) payable on award tickets departing from the United Kingdom to contend with, significantly adding to the cash cost for a round-trip redemption.
Where else is the A380 flying?
These SQ308/319 London flights are the only confirmed addition to SIA’s A380 roster this winter season at the time of writing, with the airline already removing the type from its schedules to Auckland, Beijing, Hong Kong, Paris, Sydney (SQ221/232) and Zurich, which until now have appeared as ‘placeholders’ based on the pre-COVID winter timetable.
You’ll therefore see the superjumbo flying on the following services this winter.
Singapore Airlines A380 Flights
(as of 7th July 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 Jul 2022||1 x weekly|
|15 Apr 2022||7 x weekly|
(in addition to SQ317/319)
|30 Oct 2022||7 x weekly|
* via Frankfurt
In total there will be 50 weekly Singapore Airlines A380 departures from Changi Airport by November 2022, around half the pre-COVID total.
It’s great to see more Singapore Airlines Airbus A380s back in service, with additional flight options, now set to include a second daily London service from late October.
London was the first city to see the carrier’s A380s return post-COVIID, and it’s now becoming the first to see double daily operation of the type too.
This will come in the form of SQ308/319, offering the first daytime A380 option from Singapore to London since March 2020.
Overall SIA will fly 50 weekly A380 departures from Changi by November 2022, linking its Singapore hub with seven cities globally.
(Cover Photo: Plane’s Portrait Aviation Media / Malcolm Lu)