News Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines upgrades Male flights to A350s in November and December

Selected Singapore Airlines flights to and from the Maldives will be operated by the Airbus A350 in November and December, with new Regional Business Class seats.

Up to 6 Business Saver awards available per flight!

Singapore Airlines is adding capacity to its Maldives route for the upcoming peak holiday season, in anticipation of increased year-end demand between the Lion City and Male, both from local residents and those connecting to the popular holiday islands from the likes of Australia, Europe and the USA.

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The good news is that this will come in the form of a wide-body aircraft once again, with A350s back on selected services from 30th October 2022, which also means more sought-after Business Class saver award space has been loaded.

The Singapore – Male route already had an upgrade from ex-SilkAir Boeing 737-800s to the newer Boeing 737-8 MAXs, as we reported back in February this year, benefitting from flat-beds in Business Class (but not direct aisle access for all).

Updated 2022 schedule

From 30th October to the end of December this year, selected SQ438/437 flights will use two-class Airbus A350 Medium Haul aircraft, including 40 of the 2018 Regional Business Class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, with direct aisle access.

This will apply to flights departing both Singapore and Male on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays over this two-month period, boosting capacity on the route by over 20%, from 4,312 seats per week to 5,206 per week.

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Currently there are two daily Boeing 737-8 MAX flights operating on this route, but here’s how the schedule looks once the larger A350 is deployed on selected days from 30th October 2022.

Singapore Airlines
Singapore – Male Schedule
(30th October 2022 – 31st December 2022)

Airbus A350 MH services highlighted

  Days
M T W T F S S
SQ432
737-8 MAX
SIN
10:05
MLE
11:50
SQ438
A350 Medium Haul
       
SIN
20:35
MLE
22:10
SQ438
737-8 MAX
     
SIN
20:35
MLE
22:10
SQ431
737-8 MAX
MLE
12:55
SIN
20:45
SQ437
A350 Medium Haul
       
MLE
23:40
SIN
07:15*
SQ437
737-8 MAX
     
MLE
23:40
SIN
07:15*

* Next day

Singapore Airlines Airbus A350s will be jetting off for the Maldives again come 30th October 2022. (Photo: motive56 / Shutterstock)

2023 schedule

From 1st January 2023 through to the end of the winter season, all of SIA’s Male flights return to Boeing 737-8 MAX service, as shown in the following schedule.

Singapore Airlines
Singapore – Male Schedule
(1st January 2023 – 25th March 2023)

  Days
M T W T F S S
SQ432
737-8 MAX
SIN
10:05
MLE
11:50
SQ438
737-8 MAX
SIN
20:35
MLE
22:10
SQ431
737-8 MAX
MLE
12:55
SIN
20:45
SQ437
737-8 MAX
MLE
23:40
SIN
07:15*

* Next day

Prior to COVID-19, Singapore Airlines was serving the Male route daily with a Boeing 787-10, supplemented by a daily SilkAir Boeing 737-800 service, so overall group capacity in early 2023 is still only around 62% of pre-pandemic levels.

Redemption rates and awards

Here are the redemption rates you’ll pay when flying on an SIA flight between Singapore and the Maldives.

KrisFlyer Redemption Rates
🇲🇻 Maldives to/from Singapore
  Saver
(one way)
Advantage
(one way)
Economy 20,000
37,000
Business 43,000
65,000

Remember these rates apply regardless of the aircraft type used, so you’re paying the same mileage rate to fly on the 737-8 MAX as you are on the A350.

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The good thing about the A350’s 40-seat Business Class cabin is that there’s now more award space available on this popular route, with each upgraded flight boasting 30 more seats in this cabin compared to the Boeing 737-8 MAX.

Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays now have Saver Business Class awards on the Male route through to the end of 2022

Apart from the immediate run-up to Christmas, in most cases there are two Saver Business Class awards available, and on some dates even up to six available on the same flight.

A group of six can redeem Business Saver awards from Singapore to Male on 19th November

2018 Regional Business Class

We have two comprehensive reviews from our firsthand experience of the 2018 Regional Business Class; one of the window seats and a shorter but still detailed look at the ‘couple’ middle pairs, which are available at alternate rows on aircraft with this product installed.

Those will help you learn what to expect from these new products, if you haven’t flown them before. You can also take a look at what to expect on SIA’s Boeing 737-8 MAX flights as a comparison here.

Economy is better on the A350

It’s also worth pointing out that even Economy Class passengers get an upgrade on the A350 in the 2017 version of this seat, compared to the Boeing 737-8 MAX, the main differences on the A350 being:

  • Seat width is 0.5 inches more than the MAX
  • Seat pitch is 2 inches more than the MAX
  • Seat recline is 1 inch more than the MAX
  • The IFE screen is 1 inch bigger than the MAX
  • There is an UNI (AC power) socket in addition to a USB socket on the A350
Even in Economy, it’s a more spacious and better-equipped experience on the A350 compared to the 737 MAX. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

Maldives taxes have increased

Unfortunately there was some bad news recently for those redeeming KrisFlyer miles for a Maldives trip, with a new departure tax now levied, which hikes the cash component of a Business Class redemption by almost S$100.

This has of course sadly combined with the latest KrisFlyer miles devaluation, meaning a round-trip saver award in Business Class from Singapore to Male now costs 86,000 miles (10% more than before), and will now set you back around S$220 in taxes and charges too, instead of S$120 previously.

Travel process to the Maldives

The Maldives is highly dependent on tourism and so one was one of the first countries in the region to remove the majority of entry restrictions, including any vaccination requirement for visitors from mid-March 2022.

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The only COVID-related travel requirement when heading to the Maldives is now:

  • Passengers and airline crew must complete a “Traveller Declaration” within 96 hours (4 days) of arrival to and departure from the Maldives, at imuga.immigration.gov.mv