Singapore Airlines' next-generation business class seat for its Boeing 787-10 fleet will be "a brand new seat design showcasing new materials and technologies" and will also be fitted to a future tranche of Airbus A350-900 jets.
The seat will be designed and supplied by Stelia Aerospace – a company with an unfamiliar name but plenty of experience, as it was formed by last year's merger of Sogerma and Aerolia and is fully owned by Airbus.
The Singaporean flag-carrier is the global launch customer for the Boeing 787-10, a super-stretched version of the Dreamliner designed to carry more passengers than its siblings – estimated to be around 300 in a three-class layout – but over a shorter distance than even the original Boeing 787-8.
A new regional business class?
30 of the Boeing 787-10s will join some of SQ's Airbus A350-900 jets in creating a modernised 'regional' fleet for flights of around eight hours, which will include Australia and the Asia-Pacific circle.
According to Stelia the new business class seats will debut "on regional routes from 2018".
In January 2016 a Singapore Airlines executive confirmed plans for a medium-range Airbus A350 to Australian Business Traveller, potentially with less emphasis on premium seating than the first ten 10 A350-900s to be delivered this year.
First impressions: Singapore Airlines' Airbus A350 business class
"The medium-range configuration will not be too different from what we have for long-haul" said Singapore Airlines regional vice-president Mr Tiow Kor Tan, who added that "eventually all (of Singapore Airlines) A330s will be replaced with the A350 medium-haul aircraft in 2017-18-19"
Reflecting passenger demands on the relatively shorter flights of up to eight hours, the medium-range A350s are likely to see fewer business class seats and a larger economy cabin.
SQ's new seats and suites
The Stelia announcement is also notable for the fact that it cites only Singapore Airlines' regional fleet and not the flagship Airbus A380, which we know is getting new business class seats alongside new first class suites from 2017.
That ultra-long range A350, for which Singapore Airlines is to date the sole customer, will fly non-stop from Singapore to Los Angeles and New York, fitted with around 170 seats compared to just over 250 passengers in SQ's 'standard' A350-900.
Singapore Airlines CEO Mr Goh Choon Phong last year told Australian Business Traveller that unlike the 'all business class’ model of SQ's previous non-stop Airbus A340 flights, the layout for the long-legged jets "will probably be more than just business class, I think it will be a mix of cabin classes."
This is likely to see a mostly business class configuration bookended by small first class and premium economy cabins.
More great Airbus A350 reads on Australian Business Traveller
- Innovative Airbus A350 first class cabin concept revealed
- First impressions: Singapore Airlines Airbus A350 business class
- Inside Cathay Pacific's all-new Airbus A350
- Cathay Pacific Airbus A350 bound for Auckland in 'second half of year'
- Review: Finnair Airbus A350 business class
- Cathay Pacific nixes first class for Airbus A350-1000
- Behind the scenes of Cathay Pacific's Airbus A350 countdown
- The Airbus A350's secret loft where cabin crew relax and sleep
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