Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 777-9: what we know so far

Over-sized first class suites? Sliding doors in business class? Everything is on the table as SQ prepares for its next-gen jet.

By David Flynn, February 1 2022
Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 777-9: what we know so far

Singapore Airlines will be among the first to fly the Boeing 777X series – specifically, the 777-9 model – with the big twin-jet stepping up as the eventual flagship of the Star Alliance member’s post-A380 fleet.

There’s still some years to go before SQ takes delivery of its first 777-9 in 2024-2025, due to various holdups with the aircraft’s production, but we’re here to keep you up to date with the latest news on the Singapore Airlines Boeing 777X. 

Singapore Airlines Boeing 777X orders, delivery

Singapore Airlines has placed a total of 31 orders for the Boeing 777-9, beginning with 20 in February 2017 and then adding 11 more to the tally in February 2021.

Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 777X delivery was initially scheduled for 2021, but after a series of production setbacks, Boeing now expects it won’t hand over the keys to 777-9 launch customer Emirates until 2023, with Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 777-9 delivery date likely to be no earlier than 2024, and potentially sometime in 2025

(Other airlines waiting in the Boeing 777-9 queue include Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways, all of which will use the jet to launch new business class and in some cases first class seats.)

Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong is bullish on the Boeing 777-9.
Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong is bullish on the Boeing 777-9.

In 2018 the carrier had “already begun to conceptualise on what product we should introduce in the 777-9, what they should be like,” Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong told Executive Traveller on the delivery flight of the airline's first Boeing 787-10.

Goh said first class flyers should expect a “quantum leap” from today's Boeing 777 premium cabins, with “a first class that we believe when we launch it will again set industry standards.” 

Singapore Airlines signs off on Boeing 777X first class 

Singapore Airlines has built a solid reputation for first class, although more so on the Airbus A380, which launched in 2007 with cosy private suites that were in 2017 upsized into more spacious rooms.

Singapore Airlines is known for setting the standard in first class: its latest A380s feature six of these spacious suites.
Singapore Airlines is known for setting the standard in first class: its latest A380s feature six of these spacious suites.

As befits the arrival of a new jet, SQ will adorn its Boeing 777-9s with new first class suites.

Speaking with Executive Traveller in November 2021, a senior Singapore Airlines executive confirmed the carrier has now “signed off” on the design of these next-generation suites, along with their business class counterparts. 

“We have signed off the basic design,” said Betty Wong, Singapore Airlines’ Divisional Vice President of Inflight Services and Design, who had recently flown to Seattle to meet with Boeing “and see some real products that we’ve designed (so it’s) finally coming together.”

Wong said “the next step (is) to manufacture them”, barring any finesses from a final round of revisions.

“There is always that little bit of a change when you come up to a critical design phase and you look at something and it's not fitting or not right, so there’s always opportunity to make that little tweak.”

Of course, she wasn’t giving away anything on what travellers will see in either first class or business class, deflecting our questions on sliding privacy doors and other areas of improvement with a teasing “watch this space.”

That said, some of Singapore Airlines’ most frequent flyers will know what to expect, having been privy to – and signed non-disclosure agreements on – a series of invitation-only focus groups to trial and give their feedback on different evolutions of the seats.

These have given Wong the confidence to predict “we are developing a product that will meet the expectation of our clients, of our customers.”

Two views of Singapore Airlines' current Boeing 777 first class, which debuted in 2013.
Two views of Singapore Airlines' current Boeing 777 first class, which debuted in 2013.

While SQ is giving away no hints as to what’s in store for the pointy end of its 777-9 jets, the carrier’s Boeing 777-300ERs sports four high-partition first class suites developed in collaboration with BMW Designworks.

It’s difficult to imagine that their Boeing 777-9 equivalents – which will come more than a decade after the 777-300ER models debuted in 2013 – won’t add a sliding privacy door.

We’re also expecting mod-cons such as wireless charging, using the Qi standard adopted by both Apple iPhones and Google Android phones, as well as Bluetooth streaming of audio from the inflight entertainment system to the passenger’s own wireless headphones or earbuds. 

Singapore Airlines’ new Boeing 777X business class

Likewise, Singapore Airlines says its new Boeing 777X business class seats are all but locked and loaded.

Wong told Executive Traveller the delay to Singapore Airlines’ own delivery timeline meant “we bought some time to review some designs, re-look at and double-check some things like technologies (and) to look at different materials before the final selection.”

"But basically, we're on track,” says Wong, who also remains excited about how the jet “gives us the possibility of lifting the next travel experience.”

While each generation of SQ’s business class has evolved the premium offering, the circa 2013 business class seats of the Boeing 777-300ER – created by feted London design firm James Park Associates – also made its way with revisions and refinements onto the long-range Airbus A350s.

Singapore Airlines' Airbus A350 business class remains one of the best.
Singapore Airlines' Airbus A350 business class remains one of the best.

In truth, the gap between the 777-300ER’s first class and business class suites is not as tremendous as many first class flyers might expect. 

A class of their own? Singapore Airlines' Boeing 777-300ER first (left) and business (right).
A class of their own? Singapore Airlines' Boeing 777-300ER first (left) and business (right).

And as more airlines add sliding privacy doors to business class, Singapore Airlines may feel pressured to do likewise, which in turn will fuel the push to make first class even more special again.

Ditto the drive to deliver business class travellers those high-tech conveniences of wireless charging and Bluetooth streaming.

While Singapore Airlines has always been able to rely on food, drinks and service to crown its inflight first class expedience, there are also limits on how far that can go, and how much more travellers are prepared to pay for that difference. 

Singapore Airlines’ new Boeing 777X premium economy, economy 

Despite all this attention on the Boeing 777-9’s most expensive real estate, Wong tells Executive Traveller that there’ll also be new premium economy and economy class seats.

“Everything is new,” she beams. In fact, from the 777-9’s tip to tail, Singapore Airlines has decided upon “the number of seats, the configuration of the seats, and how they look like in terms of footprint,” Wong explains.

Singapore Airlines' Boeing 777-9 will also usher in a second-gen premium economy seat.
Singapore Airlines' Boeing 777-9 will also usher in a second-gen premium economy seat.

This will include a second iteration of Singapore Airlines’ premium economy seat (above), which launched in 2015 and now appears across the Airbus A380, Boeing 777 and long-range Airbus A350 fleets.

It’s becoming increasingly hard to make premium economy or economy class significantly different, or significantly better, from one airline to the next, although there are some innovative premium economy designs which could help a bold airline break out from the largely look-alike pack.

Also read: Flight of fancy? Here are Singapore Airlines' Airbus A380 first class concepts 

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 324

2023 maybe 2024  certification for 777X .  The delays due to massive errors and faults with the 777X and the US FAA refusing to certify the aircraft, particularly after its Dreamliner and 737Max debacles  

Oh poor Boeing, its not going!


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