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Singapore Airlines will roll out new business class seats in the third quarter of 2013 but is playing the caution card in keeping a forward-facing design and holding out on premium economy, with concerns the 'in-between class' could cannibalise high-yield business fares if passengers opt for the cheaper albeit less comfortable seats.
Speaking with The Australian, SQ's senior vice-president of product and services, Tan Pee Teck, said that while premium economy "is not a closed matter for us... we are not getting the sense it's a truly successful product."
While premium economy isn't likely to appear on Singapore Airlines' new seating grid, Tan confirmed the new business class seats would follow a conventional forward-facing layout rather than move to the popular herringbone layout now being adopted by many airlines.
The new seats will however provide "more storage place for devices such as mobile phones and increased privacy for tablets".
Singapore Airlines has contracted James Park Associates, creators of its current A380 business class seats, to design the new seats which will debut on the airlines' late 2013 deliveries of Boeing 777-300ER planes, followed by its fleet of Airbus A350s.
Singapore Airlines has earlier said it would target "improved comfort in both seating and sleeping positions" on the seats, which some passengers criticise for a lack of relaxing positions and being too wide to let them get properly comfortable.
Tan also told The Australian that SQ would stick with personal in-seat touchscreens rather than adopt wireless streaming to tablets, saying "there's a very bright future for the in-seat video product."
As previously reported, Singapore Airlines will also be fitting its A380-style business class seats onto the Boeing 777-200ER planes used for many long-haul destinations out of Singapore, with the upgrade due to be completed in July 2013.
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