Singapore Airlines to cut back on A380 first class suites

By David Flynn, March 2 2016
Singapore Airlines to cut back on A380 first class suites

Singapore Airlines will launch its new Airbus A380 first class suites mid-2017, read our exclusive story for more details

Previous | Singapore Airlines plans to reduce the number of first class suites in the next wave of its flagship Airbus A380s, although the remaining private suites are expected to be larger.

Speaking at the handover ceremony for SQ's first Airbus A350 in Toulouse, Singapore Airlines CEO Mr Goh Choon Phong revealed that superjumbos to be delivered from 2017 would see fewer suites at the pointy end.

The current A380s have 12 plush private suites at the front of the lower deck, with the middle four able to be converted into a 'double suite'.

As the first carrier to fly the Airbus A380 in 2007, Singapore Airlines introduced the concept of private suites – a move quickly aped by Emirates and most recently Etihad Airways.

Emirates' A380s are fitted with 14 first class suites, although the Gulf powerhouse also has some suite-free superjumbos with just business and economy seating.

Emirates is also working on its own first class suite upgrade, which the airline says will be "more like a private railway cabin."

Read: Emirates first class private bedroom for Airbus A380, Boeing 777

The Etihad A380s sport just nine private suites, although the upper deck is also home to a three-room 'flying penthouse' known as The Residence.

Goh didn't tip how many suites would be cut from the floorplan of the new A380s, which would begin flying in 2017.

Those next-gen superjumbos will debut an all-new first class suite that's tipped to be larger than the current rooms in an attempt to narrow the gap against the almost 4m² of Etihad's first class Apartments.

See: Up close with Etihad's new Airbus A380 first class apartments

Also slated for Singapore Airlines' next A380s will be all-new business class seats, which will also find their way into the ultra-long range Airbus A350 due to fly non-stop from Singapore to Los Angeles and New York from 2018, with around 170 seats compared to just over 250 passengers in SQ's long-range A350-900.

Read: Singapore Airlines ultra-long range A350 to have 'all-new' business class

Singapore Airlines is expected to draw inspiration from the airline's current design for the Boeing 777-300ERs and Airbus A350s.

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.

Also read: Concept designs for new Singapore Airlines first, business class

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1501

BTW SQ suites not terribly expensive – dummy booking shows $13,500 SYD-LHR-SYD, just $500 more than QF first class on the same days. I know what I choose if I get mad to burn that money for 24hr :-)))


BTW out of curiosity are their suites single bed (single seat) or design for couples?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Feb 2016

Total posts 97

Don't even think about it... they won't give you the knob tag to hang on the door.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 685

Hi David,

AFIAK, SQ currently has 4 configurations of A380-800:

1) Airbus A380-800 (388) Four Class V1Seats: 60 Business 333 Economy 12 First 36 Premium Economy

2) Airbus A380-800 (388) Four Class V2Seats: 86 Business 245 Economy 12 First 36 Premium Economy

3) Airbus A380-800 (388) V1Seats: 60 Business 399 Economy 12 Suite

4) Airbus A380-800 (388) V2Seats: 86 Business 311 Economy 12 Suite

So, the Suite product appears to only appear on 3 class aircraft, as opposed to 4 class aircraft. If this is a correct assumption, then the Suite changes will only affect configurations 3 & 4. In that case, is any further redesign / reconfiguration / refit envisaged on the First (vs Suite) product in config 1 & 2? 

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2551

As far as we know and as stated in the article, SQ's proposed trim off first class suites applies only to the new A380s due from 2017.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 685

Many thanks for your confirmation, David. It is appreciated.

I'm a bit surprised here - since SQ will effectively be fragmenting its premium product, with a mix of old and new suites on their A380-800 fleet. This may be tolerable, as long as SQ is returning an 'old' frame to the lessors, when a 'new' one is received.

But if there is any imbalance (I believe there are only 4-5 'new' on order and 19 existing 'old' A380-800 frames - of varying configs) then this could provide some level of product inconsistency between frames.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Sep 2012

Total posts 240

Doesn't SQ only operate a Suites product on the A380? There are no A380s fitted with First Class seats as there are on the 777s?

I guess the Private Room is going to get a whole lot more private!

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