Singapore Airlines could soon announce Milan, Barcelona and Sao Paulo as the newest additions to its Airbus A350 network map for late 2016.
Earlier this week, the airline removed the ability to book first class travel from Milan and Barcelona on selected days as of September 2016, and Sao Paulo from October 2016.
Those three cities are currently served by SQ's Boeing 777-300ER fleet, which feature a small first class cabin.
However, the Airbus A350 eschews first class for a 42-seat business class cabin at the pointy end of the plane – which may well indicate that Milan, Barcelona and Sao Paulo will join launch Amsterdam and Düsseldorf as the first five ports to see the airline's next-gen jet.
Approached for comment by Australian Business Traveller, a Singapore Airlines spokesman said "we are continually reviewing the aircraft used on specific routes across our network and are not in a position to make any announcement on future A350 destinations."
Singapore Airlines will take delivery of its first Airbus A350-900 in January 2016 and schedule short hops from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta through to April for the purposes of crew familiarisation with the all-new aircraft, before spreading its wings onto the 13 hour Singapore-Amsterdam route.
Düsseldorf will follow with three A350 flights a week from July 21, 2016.
The airline expects to have 11 Airbus A350s by years' end, out of a total of 63 orders.
The A350 would also give Singapore Airlines the “potential to open new routes, enhancing our network and further strengthening the Singapore hub" Singapore Airlines' SVP Marketing Planning, Ms Lee Wen Fen, told Australian Business Traveller during a briefing in Toulouse last month.
Singapore Airlines' Airbus A350 will carry 253 passengers split between business class, premium economy and economy, with identical business class (below) and economy as the airline's latest Boeing 777-300ER jets but a slightly revised premium economy design.
A Singapore Airlines executive has also indicated to Australian Business Traveller that later A350-900 deliveries could include a two-class version without premium economy and slated for medium-range flights where the ‘better than economy’ cabin has limited appeal.
The Singaporean flag-carrier will be the fifth airline to fly the A350 following Qatar Airways, Vietnam Airlines, Finnair and Brazil’s TAM (part of the newly-branded LATAM Airlines) in December, while Asian neighbour and competitor Cathay Pacific will collect the keys to its first A350 in February 2016.
However, Singapore Airlines' ultra long-range version of the A350 – dubbed the A350-900ULR, and due to take wing from 2018 on non-stop flights to Los Angeles and New York – will feature a new generation of business class seats which the airline says "are currently under development."
Also on Singapore Airlines' roadmap is a new raft of Airbus A380s from 2017, which will debut all-new first class suites.
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