Singapore Airlines has been forced to delay the launch of its new first and business class for the Boeing 777-9, and it could now be closer to the mid-2020s before the next generation suites and seats take to the skies.
The Singapore flag-carrier is among several airlines which intend to use the Boeing 777X series of jetliners as the launchpad for new premium product, with that debut in turn tied to the delivery of its first 777-9 – which airline CEO Goh Choon Phong in late 2019 said he expected in 2022, at a time when Boeing was still aiming for a 2021 rollout.
Boeing this week revised its own schedule, saying the already-late 777X was now planned to make its way to airlines from sometime in 2022.
Launch customers Emirates and Lufthansa are first in line to pick up the keys to their 777-9 jets, with Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways also early in the queue (although both are in discussions with Boeing about pushing back on their deliveries).
Singapore Airlines is now also looking to delay the arrival of its 20-strong Boeing 777-9 order on the back of this week's dramatic $1bn loss over the April-June 2020 period and forecasts that travel won't return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024.
"We continue to engage aircraft manufacturers to negotiate adjustments to the delivery stream of existing aircraft orders," the airline said in a statement, adding that it had "reached an agreement with Airbus on some of these matters and discussions with Boeing are ongoing."
Singapore Airlines' Boeing 777-9 first class, business class
Singapore Airlines has already showcased its proposed Boeing 777-9 seating to a number of stakeholders and top-tier frequent flyers who signed non-disclosure agreements, and Executive Traveller understand that the final designs had been all but signed off.
The Star Alliance member's current Boeing 777 first and business class were launched in 2013, which means they'll be at least a decade old by the time the 777-9 versions hit the stage.
Sliding privacy doors have been suggested as a key feature of Singapore Airlines' new Boeing 777X first class suites, which CEO Goh has previously promised "will be a first class that we believe when we launch (it) will again set industry standards."
Goh has also talked up Singapore Airlines' Boeing 777-9 business class, saying a "quantum leap" is in store.
The airline's latest business class portfolio comprises of the Boeing 777-300ER's 2013 business class seat developed with James Park Associates, which also appears on many of SQ's Airbus A350s.
Some A350s and all Boeing 787s feature the 2018 regional business class seat – created by the airline in conjunction with Stelia Aerospace – which despite the regional appellation still offers direct aisle access and converts to a fully-flat bed.
In 2017 the latest tranche of Airbus A380s introduced an evolutionary leap of the original A380 business class seat, again crafted by James Park Associates and boasting a score of modernising updates from constriction techniques and materials to LED lighting patterns.
It's not known if the obviously reliable JPA has been tapped for Singapore Airlines' Boeing 777-9 business class.