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Singapore Airlines increasing A380 Shanghai schedule

Singapore Airlines will fly four A380 flights per week to Shanghai from March, restoring 20% of pre-COVID capacity to the city, as China finally eases border restrictions.

Singapore Airlines has been progressively reintroducing its Airbus A380s to the passenger network following COVID-19, but one of the most surprising routes announced in March 2022 was to and from Shanghai in China, while strict border controls and lockdowns were still prevalent.

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With China recently relaxing its border restrictions for its own citizens, and an inevitable reintroduction of travel for foreign tourists including Singapore nationals in the pipeline, the route is getting hiked further with four weekly services now planned, all of which will use the superjumbo from late March this year.

This also follows a removal of the limit on international arriving passenger flights in China from 8th January 2023, the same day inbound quarantine was scrapped for returning residents.

The schedule

Singapore Airlines was maintaining a single weekly SQ830/833 flight to and from Shanghai during the COVID-19 pandemic, operated on Mondays using the Boeing 787-10 aircraft.

This was upgraded in mid-2022 to an Airbus A380, but more recently some additional Boeing 787-10 flights have been added to the roster to supplement the Monday superjumbo service:

  • A 2nd weekly flight on Saturdays from 5th November 2022
  • A 3rd weekly flight on Thursdays from 19th January 2023
  • A 4th weekly flight on Tuesdays from 31st January 2023

From 26th March 2023, all four of these weekly flights will be operated by the Airbus A380, as shown below.

Singapore Airlines
Shanghai Schedule
(26th March 2023 – 28th October 2023)

  Days
M T W T F S S
SQ830
A380
SIN
09:30
PVG
15:05
SQ833
A380
     
PVG
16:50
SIN
22:20

This will mean the latest Business Class product and Suites cabin four times a week to and from Shanghai, in a service that almost certainly looks set to return to daily operation soon.

There will be 24 of the latest Singapore Airlines Suites flying to and from Shanghai per week from late March 2023. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Prior to COVID-19, Singapore Airlines was operating 28 weekly flights between Singapore and Shanghai, operated by Airbus A380, Boeing 777-300ER and Boeing 787-10 aircraft.

The restoration of four weekly Airbus A380 flights still only represents 20% of previous seat capacity on the route (1,884 seats per week compared to 9,352 seats per week pre-pandemic), so we do expect significant further capacity hikes on this city pair in the coming months, as China continues to reopen.

Shanghai had the highest capacity of any city in mainland China on the SIA network prior to COVID-19. (Photo: Li Yang)

Shanghai award redemption rates

These are the KrisFlyer miles needed for the Singapore – Shanghai route, based on the latest award rates since the 2022 devaluation became effective from 5th July 2022.

KrisFlyer Redemption
(one-way)
Singapore ⇄ Shanghai
  Saver Advantage
Economy 21,500 40,000
Premium Economy 34,500 n/a
Business 43,000 65,000
First / Suites 58,500 98,000

Saver awards in Business Class are easy to come by on this route, so it may not be a bad idea to lock in a speculative redemption for later this year, in anticipation of restriction-free tourist travel to China for Singapore residents.

Unfortunately Suites Saver awards only appear to be available to waitlist on selected dates, based on our recent searches.

Travel to China

Tourist visits to China remain unfeasible while the country continues to pause its Tourist Visa, and visa exemption for Singapore citizens remains suspended.

No timeline has been announced for rolling out the red carpet to tourists at this stage, though it is an inevitable ‘next step’.

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Those who can currently travel to China include its own citizens, and those who hold a valid residence permit or are studying there.

In this case, the following process applies:

  • Complete a Health Declaration Form and present the resulting QR code before departure. The form can be found here.
  • Have a printed negative COVID-19 PCR test taken at most 48 hours before the departure time of the last direct flight to China (cheapest tests in Singapore can be found here).
  • No testing or quarantine on arrival.

Where else is the A380 flying?

Shanghai is one of seven cities on the Singapore Airlines network currently served by the Airbus A380.

Delhi returns to the superjumbo roster from late March, while both Frankfurt and New York will be downgraded to smaller types to make way for Melbourne’s superjumbo return from mid-May.

Singapore Airlines A380s are currently flying to seven cities. (Photo: Mike Fuchslocher / Shutterstock)

Here’s a summary of the carrier’s A380 operation between now and late October 2023.

Singapore Airlines A380 Flights
(now-Oct 2023)

Current Flights
Flight Dates
(2023)
Days
Frankfurt
SQ26/25
Now – 14 May
(ending)
Daily
Hong Kong
SQ894/895
Now – 25 Mar
(ending)
Daily
London
SQ308/319
Now – 28 Oct Daily
London
SQ322/317
Now – 28 Oct Daily
Mumbai
SQ424/423
Now – 13 Jun
1 Sep – 28 Oct
Daily
New York
SQ26/25
Now – 14 May
(ending)
Daily
Shanghai
SQ830/833
Now – 23 Oct
Mon
Sydney
SQ231/222
Now – 28 Oct Daily
Future Flights
Flight Dates
(2023)
Days
Delhi
SQ406/403
26 Mar – 14 Jun
31 Jul – 28 Oct
Daily
Hong Kong
SQ892/893
(replacing SQ894/895)
26 Mar – 30 Jun
1 Aug – 28 Oct
Daily
London
SQ306/305
(in addition to
SQ308/319/322/317)
15 Jun – 30 Jul
(peak period)
Daily
Melbourne
SQ237/228
16 May – 28 Oct Daily

Shanghai
SQ830/833
28 Mar – 28 Oct Tue, Thu, Sat
(in addition to Mon)
Sydney
SQ221/232
(in addition to
SQ231/222)

17 May – 28 Oct Daily

Unfortunately there’s no sign of a much-wished-for return of the superjumbo on Tokyo flights for the time being!

You can keep abreast of where the A380 is flying by referring to our continually updated First Class seats by route page.



 


 

Summary

China is finally abandoning its ‘zero COVID’ policy and rejoining the world, with quarantine now removed for returning residents, outbound travel restrictions axed and international flight caps abolished.

While a full reopening including the return of international tourists is still pending, Singapore Airlines is already increasing to four times weekly flights on its Shanghai route, all of which will receive the carrier’s highest-capacity Airbus A380 from late March 2023.

The carrier’s China routes should see a significant ramp-up in the months ahead once borders are fully relaxed, and that looks set to inevitably include a hike to daily A380 Shanghai flights at some stage.

(Cover Photo: Plane’s Portrait Aviation Media / Malcolm Lu)

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