Lufthansa Unveils Luxurious New Business Class

Over the years, European Airlines have began to lag behind in terms of onboard luxury. Whilst once at the forefront of glamour, airlines such as British Airways have declined in terms of reputation but, simultaneously, Asian and Middle Eastern airlines have jostled for position to be the best airline. Now, Lufthansa and Air France both offer 2-2-2 Business Class seating on their A380 and British Airways’ Club coffin seat divides opinion massively.

The refreshing news is, that between 2020 and 2025, when Lufthansa take delivery of their new Boeing 777X aircraft, they will offer a brand new Business Class experience. When they made the decision to eliminate First Class from their new flagship aircraft, it became clear a Business Class revamp was in order.

Lufthansa’s new Boeing 777X

Lufthansa has now publicly revealed their new cabins for the 777X aircraft, and there is now doubt; it is a huge improvement over their previous product in terms of hard-product.

Lufthansa’s New Business Class offers direct-aisle access from every seat.

Each seat has the luxury of direct-aisle access, and the rows will alternate between a 1-2-1 configuration and a 1-1-1 configuration. This will arguably make it the most spacious Business product in the sky. The cabin evokes a feeling of El Al’s 787-9 cabins or United’s Polaris seats, however there is one major difference. This cabin is much less dense – El Al and United have a 1-2-1 configuration on every row, whereas Lufthansa has opted to create perhaps the most private, spacious ‘throne’ seat from any airline. As an aviation enthusiast, perhaps I’d even be willing to give up that coveted window seat, to experience this!

Lufthansa will offer a 1-1-1 configuration on some rows in Business Class.

What’s even more impressive, is that Lufthansa will make a range of changes to its soft product, too. Specifically, they will introduce from 2018:

  • Mattress Pads in Long-Haul Business Class
  • ‘Sleeping Sweaters’ on request
  • New Blankets, which are ‘lined but still light’

I’m really pleased Lufthansa are making big strides with their onboard experience – the only down side of this announcement, is that we will have to wait for atleast another 5 years to experience it.

Malaysian Airlines to Axe the A380 by Early 2018

Malaysian Airlines to Axe the A380 by Early 2018

All Malaysian Airline A380 services will cease in the first quarter of 2018. This is happening only six years after they took delivery of their first A380. Their remaining sole A380 service to Heathrow will be swapped to an A350-900 in January 2018 on MH4/5 leaving only 1x daily flight as an A380. Then, in March 2018, the prestigious MH1/2 flights will be swapped to an A350-900 as well.

Malaysian A380 Credits: Alex Beltyukov – RuSpotters Team

Malaysian Airlines (MH) has six A380s in its fleet carrying a 3-class configuration of 8 First class, 66 Business class and 420 Economy seats. Only Paris and London were destinations where MH could hope to sell all of those seats, and now only London remains.

MH have attempted to sell/lease their remaining Super Jumbos, however very few airlines are interested in operating the 4 engine double decker, with most airlines opting for the hyper efficient twin engine wide-bodies. MH does see a future for the A380, however, providing charter flights for pilgrimages under a subsidiary company “Project Hope”.  Offering flights from ASEAN countries to Medina in Saudi Arabia. These A380s will be configured in a high density Economy class configuration. This new company is expecting to arise early 2019.

Malaysia Airlines Airbus A350-941 F-WZHE (9M-MAC) (msn 165) (Negaraku) TLS Credit: Eurospot

MH currently have six Airbus A350-900 aircraft on order with an expected configuration of more than 300 seats. For comparison Cathay Pacific A350s are configured with 280 seats, and Ethiopian with 343 seats. The A350 will be a blessing for MH on the London to KUL route, as it was “soul-destroying” for the MH staff to see some A380s with only 60-70 passengers on-board during early 2016. The A350 is also 40% cheaper to operate than the A380 and will offer a superior product to travellers in all classes. CEO Christoph Mueller has already flagged an interest in adding more “in order to reach a critical fleet size, allowing standby aircraft for any scheduled maintenance and enabling future network expansion.”

Malaysian 777 Copyright: Gustavo Petullo

MH also expects to lease multiple 777 aircraft and will potentially look at re opening old routes such as Istanbul and look to open new routes such as Manchester and Amsterdam. However, MH will not return to Paris as it is “extortionately expensive”.

Is this the end of the line for the A380? Let us know by # your tweets or instagram stories with #futureofa380

featured image by Wael Al-Qutub

Qantas to Launch ‘Project Sunrise’

Australian national carrier, Qantas, have unveiled their plan to fly the world’s longest commercial flight and are looking at the 777X or the A350ULR as possible aircraft to use. Qantas have dubbed this plan the “last frontier of global aviation”.

Qantas are already set to break the world’s longest flight record with its new Perth-London route, launching March 2018, but the Australian carrier hopes to take things one step further and fly from Australia’s Eastern seaboard to Europe and the West Coast of America. They are also said to be eyeing up Rio de Janeiro and Cape Town as future destinations.

The plans to expand further have been dubbed ‘Project Sunrise’, and the two aircraft manufacturer heavy weights, Boeing and Airbus are working on planes that are capable of doing the job – the 777X and the A350ULR. Qantas’ Chief Executive, Alan Joyce, believes that a time where this type of ultra-long haul travel is accessible for Australian’s is not far away, “We believe that advances on the next few years will close the gap,” he added. “This will be one of the most strategically important aircraft orders in the history of Qantas.” The non-stop flights would take four hours off the journey from Sydney to London route, which is currently sitting at just over 24hours.

The current longest nonstop commercial flight is operated by Qatar Airways (Doha-Auckland) with a distance of 14,535km and a flight time of more than 16 hours. Qantas’ planned Sydney-London flight would be about 17,000km, smashing this record.

The Launch of Non-Stop Services to Europe

The Australian airline took delivery of the first of eight 787-9 Dreamliners from Boeing a few weeks ago. Qantas is pinning its future on the success of the 787 and hope to turn things around after a poor financial year. Gareth Evens has been explaining how this jet allows Qantas to overcome its disadvantageous geographic position.

787-9 Paint Hangar Roll-Out

The new Perth–London route that is set to launch March 2018 will be flown with this brand new 787 Dreamliner. Alan Joyce expressed the beauty of this new ultra-long haul market when he said, “Australians have never had a direct link to Europe before so the opportunities this opens up are huge…our modelling shows that people from the east coast as well as South Australia would fly domestically to Perth to connect to our non-stop London service…Some will take the opportunity to break their journey, whether it’s for business meetings in Perth, to holiday or to visit family.” The 787 Dreamliner will soon replace Qantas’ existing 747 aircraft. This is the only plane that Qantas has on order at the moment.

The 787-9 will be configured with 236 seats over 3 classes.

  • 42 business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration
  • 28 premium economy seats in a 2-3-2 configuration
  • 166 economy seats in a 3-3-3 configuration

Qantas opted not to cram the 787 full of seats and have left the plane relatively spacious, with most other airlines opting for 300+ seats in the same type of aircraft.

When looking at the business class offering on their new dream-liners, it is clear to see that they are basing it on their current A330 Business product. The only difference being the addition of an adjustable privacy partition between seats. The “Business Suite” also converts to a fully flat bed and the layout will offer direct aisle access for all business class passengers.

New Business class product on-board Qantas’ 787

For once, economy passengers have also seen an upgrade in comfort, with an extra inch of legroom over the A380 Superjumbo, now at 32 inches. A new personal device holder, extra storage and seat back mood lighting to avoid passenger disturbance.

New economy class product on the Qantas 787

Overall Qantas’ expansion in the ultra long-haul will either be a huge success or a catastrophic failure. Will anyone pay to sit through a 17+hour flight? Will Airbus and Boeing build an aircraft capable of fulfilling the routes of Project Sunrise? Only time will tell.

All photos by Qantas

Delta Downgrade: Business Class Eliminated on certain Transatlantic Routes

In the US,  competition is arising over premium ‘coast to coast’ or transcontinental services, with American’s A321T and JetBlue’s revolutionary MINT expanding constantly. It’s led to Delta and United making major changes to the way they roster their aircraft, both adding more heavily premium configured 757 aircraft to these high yielding, competitive markets such as New York to Los Angeles.

JetBlue offers 16 ‘MINT’ seats on its new Airbus A321 aircraft, designed to appeal to the premium market. Image: JetBlue

However, the catch is that these Boeing 757 aircraft were previously used on routes like Manchester-Washington D.C. for United, or London-Philadelphia for Delta; both of these were unmercifully cut in the past few years. Delta are now coming up with an inventive solution to this, which could increase profitability and retain their presence in markets across Europe.

Due to the fact Delta is flying internationally configured 757s on more domestic flights, they’ll therefore begin flying domestically configured 757s on transatlantic flights. Specifically, Delta will eliminate Business Class (instead flying domestically configured aircraft) on the following routes:

  • New York (JFK) to Shannon (Ireland)
  • New York (JFK) to Ponta Delgada (Azores)
  • New York (JFK) to Reykjavik (Iceland)

    Delta’s Domestic First Class, soon to be utilised transatlantic. Image: Delta

This means that the only premium cabin available on these flights will be the US Domestic ‘First Class’. For Delta to sell these as International Business Class, it would be unfeasible and a significant downgrade from any other competitor. Therefore, as the rollout of Premium Economy comes into force on their A350 aircraft, they will sell these seats with a Premium Economy product.

By utilising domestic aircraft on routes such as JFK-Shannon, it has perhaps helped Delta justify preserving the route.

In my opinion, this is inventive and should work for the primarily leisure orientated routes they’ve selected. Considering they currently operate a similar system on their Minneapolis-Reykjavik route, its clearly working well and its easy to see why: it allows them to deploy sought after lie-flat seats in more premium markets, such as Seattle, New York or San Francisco – whilst retaining service and presence to markets in Europe. Whether they expand this scheme to other ‘thin’ or seasonal European markets like Glasgow-New York or Paris-Pittsburgh remains to be seen.

British Airways’ New Boarding Process: Zonal Boarding Introduced

In recent times, specifically in the US, airlines have been employing a ‘zoned boarding concept’. This is designed to speed up the boarding process, and make it more efficient for passengers to stow their cabin baggage – as numbers dramatically increase. The arguments for this system are:

  • Passengers are assigned zones easily
  • Consistent across aircraft types (unlike a ‘row by row’ boarding system)
  • Easier for passengers to comprehend
  • Refrains from blocking aisles when stowing cabin baggage

    Boarding a large aircraft – like a Boeing 747-400 – can be disorganised and time consuming for airlines.

As the concept grows in popularity, it has spread to Europe. For example, when I flew to Dublin – with Aer Lingus Regional – in August, I was assigned a zone on my boarding pass, but this wasn’t implemented at the boarding gate. Following this trend, it looks like the latest airline to implement this system is British Airways, to align itself with its IAG & oneworld partners – American Airlines and Iberia. This is what BA had to say about the new boarding system, which will be introduced from 12th December 2017:

British Airways will be changing the way it boards aircraft with the introduction of group boarding in December. Group boarding simplifies the process, making it easier for customers to understand the boarding sequence at the gate. At the check-in stage, the customer will be put into a group number dependent on their cabin of travel and frequent-flyer status. This number will then be displayed prominently on the boarding pass, printed or mobile. Customers who are entitled will continue to be offered priority boarding for both long-haul and short-haul domestic.

British Airways is introducing zoned boarding.

British Airways recently added a Business Class product to its domestic offering, so the short-haul boarding process applies to both European and UK services, and looks as follows:

  • Group 1 — Executive Club Gold, oneworld Emerald & Club Europe
  • Group 2 — Executive Club Silver and oneworld Sapphire
  • Group 3 — Executive Club Bronze and oneworld Ruby
  • Group 4 — Economy Class Passengers
  • Group 5 — Economy Class Passengers, with hand-luggage only fares

British Airways therefore seems to be disincentivising hand-luggage only fares, as its popularity grows, as boarding the aircraft last means a lesser chance of overhead locker space. BA will, however, check your hand luggage bag into the hold for no extra cost, if there is no space available.

The Club Europe seats British Airways now offers on domestic flights.

For long-haul flights the boarding process is similar, but differs slightly due to the different travel classes available:

  • Group 1 — Executive Club Gold, oneworld Emerald, and First Class 
  • Group 2 — Executive Club Silver, oneworld Sapphire, and Business Class 
  • Group 3 — Executive Club Bronze, oneworld Ruby, and Premium Economy
  • Groups 4 & 5 — Economy Class Passengers

This is a new scheme for British Airways, and it seems logical, following their partner airlines, who’ve clearly enjoyed more efficient boarding by employing this method. The main difference is that airlines such as American Airlines designate more zones to economy, to help further organise the process, in terms of back to front boarding etc. Providing the process is enforced with clarity and consistency, this new method should prove beneficial for British Airways.

 

 

 

Air Transat Unveils New Livery – Exclusive

Air Transat unveiled its latest fleet livery last night, which the Canadian airline claims ‘blends innovation with community’, to celebrate their 30th anniversary. Canada’s largest integrated tourism company, Air Transat, now serves 60 destinations in 2 major markets, Transatlantic (Europe and the Middle-east) and Central America. With over 5000 motivated employees, the airline connects 4.5million holiday makers each year.

Jean-François Lemay, President, Air Transat, Jean-Marc Eustache, President and Chief Executive Officer, Transat, Annick Guérard, Chief Operating Officer, Transat (CNW Group/Transat A.T. Inc.)

Air Transat also has made some impressive achievements in its short history, in July 2016, at the Skytrax World Airline Awards, Air Transat was voted, for the fifth consecutive year, Best North American Leisure Airline. In November 2016 Air Transat was ranked for the 6th year in a row, the most climate friendly airline in North America, based on CO2 emission levels, and ranked 12th in the world in the long haul and medium haul categories and 14th over all categories. Furthermore, no fatal incidents involving Air Transat aircraft have been recorded so far. Dominique Anglade, Deputy Premier of Quebec, Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation, and Minister Responsible for the Digital Strategy, said in her address, “The story of Transat’s growth over the past 30 years is a remarkable one. Today, Transat is Canada’s leading integrated tourism company, and Air Transat is the country’s number one leisure carrier. Transat also attracts some 500,000 European travellers each year to Quebec and the rest of Canada, notably from France and the United Kingdom, two major tourism markets. Through its operations, this first-class employer generates substantial economic benefits for all of Quebec.”

Jean-François Lemay, President, Air Transat, Annick Guérard, Chief Operating Officer, Transat, Dominique Anglade, Quebec Deputy Premier, Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation, and Minister Responsible for the Digital Strategyand Jean-Marc Eustache, President and Chief Executive Officer, Transat (CNW Group/Transat A.T. Inc.)

Air Transat currently operates a mixed fleet of old and new aircraft, including 9 Airbus A310s, 11 A330-200s, 4 A330-300s, 1 Boeing 737-700 and 7 737-800s bringing the average age of Air Transats fleet to 18.6 years. However, Ten Airbus A321LR aircraft will be joining the fleet, making it the first North American operator of the longest-range single-aisle aircraft in the world. Air Transat will lease the aircraft through a deal with AerCap, and plans entry into service starting in 2019. The A321LR is based on the highly popular A321Neo of which has over 1400 orders. This new aircraft will able Air Transat to access new markets and launch new ‘long and skinny’ routes.

Air Transat’s new Livery

Air Transat’s new livery is designed to reflect their evolution and long standing brand image, to ‘brighten the everyday with the joy of vacations’.  Air Transat’s recognisable star is to be painted on the rear fuselage, wingtips and tail. The 30th anniversary livery also has a touch of grey, to commemorate their very first livery. It is also to feature graduated shades of blue to ‘evoke the transformative power of holidays’. Finally, it will have their airlines name proudly painted onto the underside of the fuselage, to ‘ensure visibility even when the aircraft is in flight’.

Air Transat new livery (CNW Group/Transat A.T. Inc.)

 

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Gatwick’s Expansion Plan is more ‘Credible’ than Heathrow’s

The UK Government has recently published a forecast whereby they stated that all five of London’s main Airports will be “completely full” by the mid-2030s with four of them being full in the next 10 years.

The need for a new runway in London is more desperate than ever before, Michael O’Leary (CEO of Ryanair) has called for Prime Minister Theresa May to approve runway expansion plans at not just Gatwick but Stansted as well, which would allow the two airports to develop additional runways as and when they see fit, thus allowing for the airports to compete for competition, driving costs for the new runway  developments down. He also went on to say “Approving a third runway at Heathrow over Gatwick is not the way forward,”.

An insight into what a third runway at Heathrow will look like

In addition to all this, new evidence has led to the re-opening of public consultation, as the current plans for Heathrow’s third runway expect to play a negative effect on air quality, noise and bio-diversity. Gatwick may prove less damaging, therefore throwing the current plans into jeopardy if there is no way to mitigate significant damage caused at Heathrow. However, Transport Minister Chris Grayling is adamant that the northwest runway scheme at Heathrow is the one that will deliver the greatest benefits soonest. He went on to say that it is best for the national interest, “to spread the opportunity to travel and trade throughout the UK, through more flights between our global aviation hub and our regional airports.” A third runway at Heathrow “continues to offer the greatest choice in terms of destinations and frequency of vital long-haul routes.”, Grayling added.

Heathrow Airport themselves are claiming that they will work with airlines to keep landing fees as close as possible to current levels. The UK Government are thus launching a short period of consultation to allow consideration for new evidence and to update forecasts using this new evidence which was not available at the original consultation.  This will be in line with an updated National Air Quality plan to ensure that the UK does not breach its air quality obligations. Grayling also went on to say how the Government will look at other areas of expansion in an ambitious long term vision for the sector. To support economic growth throughout the whole of the UK, while tackling consequental environmental impacts.

In response to the re-opening of the consultation, a spokesperson for Gatwick welcomed the new consultation on the revised draft Airports National Policy Statement. Gatwick Airport is currently rapidly growing as the world’s busiest single runway airport, amid the launch of new long haul services to Singapore, Buenos Aires and Taipei. Gatwick will continue to offer a credible privately financed runway plan to the government. The benefits of a new runway at Gatwick offer economic growth across the whole UK as it will offer a larger boost to regional connectivity, no burden to the tax payer as it is privately financed and it will keep Gatwick within the legally binding air quality limits and set a cap on those most affected by noise. To go further, the private financing of the runway will attract a large number of “high intensity businesses which will create 120,000 jobs.

What a second runway at Gatwick may look like

“The benefits of growth, including jobs and housing, will be spread more evenly through the capital and region and not just focused on the already congested areas of West London and the Thames Valley.” – Gatwick Obviously (pro Gatwick website)

A new runway at Gatwick will lure back a wide range of airlines that left Gatwick previously due to its single runway operations. This is because of the worry that a runway closure will halt airport operations. Gatwick is also the UK’s best rail connected airport, and was the world’s first airport to have a direct train link with a dedicated, integrated train station. Over 15million people can reach Gatwick within 60 minutes, giving Gatwick the largest catchment area by rail. All of these changes will result in:

  • New Thameslink trains by 2018
  • Connections to Crossrail at Farringdon in 2019
  • Capacity on rail services to Gatwick to double by 2020 and nearly treble by 2035
  • A train to central London every 2.5 minutes by 2025
  • New twice hourly direct connections to Peterborough and Cambridge from 2018

(stats from gatwickobviously)

Gatwick is seeing sustained growth with the launch of new route and the introduction of new airlines – Norwegian Inaugral to Singapore

Gatwicks Chief executive, Stuart Wingate, said that “It is a plan that can guarantee growth and guarantee certainty for Britain. We look forward to studying the full reasons behind the Government decision in detail. The challenges facing Heathrow have not changed.  Our message today is that Gatwick stands ready to proceed when the time comes.” With Heathrows current plans being revised, Gatwick may turn out to be the more credible option. With 2 leading airports, Heathrow and Gatwick, the UK offers more flexibility in terms of future travel. Current financial reports put Gatwick ahead of Heathrow, stating that Britain is set to gain up to £75.3billion from Gatwick, compared to just £74.2billion from the third runway option at Heathrow.

The government has committed to a final vote on the expansion in the first half of 2018, giving MPs and the public time to understand how the new forecasts impact emissions, noise and the sustainability of the project.

Emirates Announce $15.1bn Aircraft Order and ‘Game-Changing’ New Cabins

The Dubai Air Show is taking place and Emirates have shocked everybody with their $15.1bn order for 40 Boeing 787-10 aircraft and unveiling of their eagerly-anticipated new First Class Suites – set to rival Singapore Airlines’ new product, just days after their release.

Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner order

Yesterday, Emirates reached a deal with Boeing for 40 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner aircraft, worth $15.1bn. The aircraft will be delivered from 2022, building on Emirates’ relationship with Boeing, being the largest client of the Boeing 777 family, with 164 additional 777 aircraft on firm order. Since the retirement of Airbus A330/A340 and Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, Emirates have been restricted in their route development opportunities due to the only aircraft being available boasting large seat capacities which are perfect for a high volume route like London Heathrow or New York JFK to Dubai but not so great for new marginal opportunities. They’ve missed out on key new ventures such as Cardiff and Helsinki (the former having secured daily services with Qatar to rival hub – Doha) due to their obvious lack of suitable aircraft. Furthermore, prime destinations to funnel passengers to Europe such as Kathmandu aren’t able to handle the Boeing 777-300ER or Airbus A380, whilst Qatar, Etihad, Oman Air and others have been able to survive in the market. The Boeing 787-10 improves this dramatically, but personally I would have liked Emirates to choose the -8 variant, to connect smaller markets for this aircraft order to truly be a ‘game changer’.

Emirates’ render of their new Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner aircraft.
new first class suites cabin

Emirates has long been a primary purveyor of luxury in-flight, from onboard showers to a slick-understated brand. After the initial WOW-factor, however, their previous Suites cabin appeared not glamorous, but tacky and rather brash. With this new cabin, I’m happy to see a toned-down colour palette, with welcoming tones of light cream, still with a touch of luxury. To introduce the new product, take a look at the promotional video below, highlighting some revolutionary features such as individual temperature controls and ‘virtual windows’ in the centre suites:

Some of the main features include:

  • 40 Squared-feet of personal space
  • Floor to ceiling sliding doors for full privacy
  • 1-1-1 configuration, replacing the former – more densely packed – 1-2-1 setup
  • Mercedes-inspired soft leather seats
  • The introduction of a Zero-Gravity position, inspired by NASA
  • Centre Suites will sport virtual windows, with real-time views generated by live camera technology
  • Window Suites will be fitted with binoculars, for guests wishing to take in the view
  • A video-call function to request service from the cabin crew, without leaving your suite. An audio-only call option is also available
  • Each suite has an “inspiration kit,” featuring a luxury skincare collection,  moisturizing pyjamas, and Bulgari amenity kits
  • In a further nod to the Emirates-Mercedes collaboration on this product, chauffer services from Dubai airport will come in the form of S-Class Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

The first routes to receive the new product, will be Dubai-Geneva and Brussels from 1st December 2017. Under current plans, it is only the 777-300ER that will receive the refit – not Airbus A380s.

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what about the rest of us?

Despite boasting a sports car style seat, that’s where the luxury ends. 7 abreast configurations in Business Class are not convenient, let alone luxurious and it staggers me that Emirates still advertise this sub-par product. It does, however, feature lie-flat seats and Emirates’ world-renowned hospitality onboard.

Emirates’ new 777 Business Offering

Economy Class will feature a new colour scheme, creating a refreshing spacious feel. The ergonomically-designed seats come with full leather headrests that have flexible side panels and can also be adjusted vertically for optimum support.

Economy has got a facelift too!
my view

There’s no denying that this product is a new-height in luxury. I love individual features such as light and temperature adjustments for your personal suite, virtual windows (I wonder if they’ll have a wing view!) and beautiful seats. This product seems painfully well-thought out for Emirates’ customers and I really feel this will show as a First Class passenger enters the aircraft for the first time. The suites are much larger than the previous counterpart – but Singapore’s new suites will sport a much larger footprint. Another possible downfall of this product, is it doesn’t really cater for those travelling together, unlike Singapore’s new Suites which can be converted into a double bed. What disappoints me though, is that Emirates still continues to pursue 7 abreast seating in Business Class on 777 aircraft, and that only 9 Boeing 777 aircraft are planned to be refurbished in the next two years, so the question arises – will this product make headway in Premium Class travel or will it become a gimmick? Only time will tell.


All images and featured image courtesy of Emirates.

Singapore Airlines Unveils Luxurious New Cabins

For months, Singapore has had the aviation industry excited. With so many disruptive new Premium products introduced by airlines, such as Etihad’s Residence and Qatar’s Q Suites, Singapore Airlines needed to re-establish its place at the forefront of the market. As part of this, Singapore Airlines is unveiling new Suites, business, premium economy, and economy products. Recently, you could say Singapore has been ‘teasing’ us with videos and pictures showing different aspects of the suite. Here is one such of those videos, released on the launch of the new cabins:

Singapore air first class suites

This is how Singapore Airlines describes the new Suites in their press release:

With six Suites tucked spaciously within the front cabin of the upper deck, customers will experience a sense of exclusivity and intimate privacy aboard the A380. Behind its artistically-designed sliding door lies a personal oasis complete with lavish furnishing and finishes. Each Suite is furnished with a separate full-flat bed with adjustable recline and plush leather chair, enabling customers to lounge comfortably in the chair or rest in bed without the need to convert the bed from a sitting position. For couples travelling together, the beds in the first two Suites of each aisle can be converted to form a double bed. Each seat is fully adjustable using an electronic control side panel which can accommodate a variety of sitting and lounging positions. The swivel capability of the chair with recline up to 45 degrees provides added flexibility for dining and relaxation. Each Suite also has a full-sized personal wardrobe, customised handbag stowage compartment, amenity box lined with soft leather, specially designed carpet and a feature wall with mood lighting – all exquisitely crafted to give a touch of luxury and intimacy.

Singapore challenged Etihad with their individual suite, here. Creating a ‘Residence-Style’ experience, which certainly looks exclusive and luxurious.

The Individual First Suite

One possible disappointment is that Singapore won’t be offering onboard showers, such as Emirates, but rather two lavatories including a smaller ‘standard’ suite (although this looks anything but standard to those who fly Economy!). Then, they will offer a larger lavatory, including a dressing table.

Singapore Airlines’ New Lavatory

Continuing with their tradition, Singapore will again offer double-beds. In this product, the second row of the suites will convert, offering two seats and a double bed.

Singapore’s Duo Suites

One fault of this seems to be that there is no space for a couple to dine together, unlike on Etihad. This is of course a minor issue, but when comparing the products, this could be a game-changer.

Singapore air new business class

Singapore will offer cocoon style seats, again, with individual seats by the window:

Singapore’s New Business Class

Whereas in the centre of the cabin, they will offer a convertible double-bed. This is a game-changer in Business Class, and looks like the ultimate luxury for couples on business. However, does this deter people from paying that extra money for Suites Class?

Centre Double Seats on Singapore’s new Business Class

Singapore will debut their new cabins on the five new A380s they will receive over the next couple of years. The first route will be Singapore to Sydney – from 18th December 2017 – although I find it hard to believe London will be far behind.

Although this offering is underwhelming for some, I think that this, coupled with Singapore’s renowned in-flight service, will help the airline to reposition itself as the leader of the market once again.

October Delivery Report

The beginning of the month on londonspotter offers you all a chance to reflect on the past 31 days through the delivery and routing reviews. This month continues that trend in quite some fashion!

October came and went with a bang with one delivery being imprinted in the minds of all of us – the first Qantas B787 (VH-ZNA)

photo by Qantas

Great Southern Land (as it has been named) was delivered to Qantas from Seattle on October 17th. Qantas plan to use the aircraft on the new Perth – London route which will begin sometime in March. The aircraft is fitted with three cabins – business, premium economy and economy and is up to 40% more fuel efficient than older aircraft like the B747. The new route will cost you up to double that of a Qantas stopover fare but is a new development in the industry and will be looking to further trade and relations between the UK and Australia. I look forward to watching how successful the link is.

Alongside delivering Qantas their first B787, Boeing had a month to be proud of. They delivered a total of 11 eleven 787s to 11 airlines. Noteworthy deliveries included El Al’s second and final Dreamliner on order (4X-EDB), Air India’s 27th and final of their order (VT-NAC) and Air Canada’s 30th and final delivery (C-FSBV). Ethiopia received their first ever -9 variant of the aircraft (ET-AUO), thus becoming the first African operator of it and Norwegian received G-CKMU which they named after Babe Ruth.

Ethiopian’s first 787-9 jetting out of Seattle. Photo by Boeing

Airbus, on the other hand seemed to be focusing too hard on the first flight of the A330 NEO this month as they only managed to churn out 6 A350s to 3 different customers. Qatar set their intentions of completing their order as soon as possible with the delivery of A7-ALS and A7-ALQ on October 10th. They then received A7-ALO on October 25th. The airline still has 13 on order and it will be interesting to see if they continue this pace into next month. Air Mauritius made the headlines with the A350 this month. They received their one and only 350on order (3B-NBP) on October 20th. Ethiopian finalised their order of six on October 21st with ET-AUC and finally Cathay Pacific received B-LRU.

Air Mauritius first A350 arriving home. Photo by Airbus

Seeing as Boeing did so well with the 787, you have to cut them a little slack on their other aircraft. Only two 737 MAX aircraft were delivered in October. They went to Lion Air (PK-LQL) and WestJet (C-GXAX).

The A320 NEO project seems to be in full flow now and Airbus churned them out quicker than you could count in October. I won’t go through and list registrations to save you all from complete boredom but I will let you know which airlines added to their NEO fleets. Goair and Volaris set the pace with 2 and all the others added one to their fleet. These airlines were: Sichuan, Pegasus, Air India, SAS, S7, Frontier, Citilink, Lufthansa and Air Asia. It is interesting to note how many of these carriers are Asian. Why are the Americans so behind on the NEO? Let me know what you think by getting in touch or commenting below.

Photo by Airbus

Boeing hit rock bottom with the 777 this month as no passenger variants were delivered. Three cargo aircraft left Seattle for a new home, however.

Airbus had a similar month with the A380 as none found their way out of Toulouse to a new home.

Airbus delivered four A330s to the following airlines: Saudia (HZ-AQ28), China Southern (B-8362), Sichuan (B-8690) and EVA Air (B-16340). Again, note the dominance of Chinese carriers on this particular aircraft.

Photo by DN280 on airliners.net

That’s it from me this month but I’ll be back next month with all the latest deliveries of November.

Fun fact: I am writing this article while sitting in seat 17A of the inaugural Japan Airlines JL42 (LHR-HND)! Thank the lord for onboard WiFi I say.

header image by Qantas