Singapore Airlines to start Airbus A350 Melbourne flights this week

By David Flynn, August 8 2016

Singapore Airlines will begin Airbus A350 flights to Melbourne from Wednesday August 10, some three weeks earlier than the previously-slated September 1 kickoff.

It's the first Aussie destination for the airline's advanced A350 which is already flying to Amsterdam, Johannesburg and Düsseldorf.

The A350 is rostered to appear daily on the Singapore-Melbourne flight SQ207...

... along with the overnight Melbourne-Singapore flight SQ208.

However, the A350 won't be staying on the Melbourne-Singapore route for long: after October 22 it'll move onto the new daily Singapore-San Francisco service starting October 23, while the SQ207/208 flights will switch back to a Boeing 777-200 jet.

Melbourne is also earmarked for Thai Airways' first two Airbus A350s, while Cathay Pacific is expected to begin A350 flights to Australia in early 2017.

Qatar Airways took line honours for Australia's first Airbus A350 service in May with the debut of its daily Adelaide-Doha flight.

AusBT review: Qatar Airways Airbus A350 business class

Singapore Airlines' Airbus A350 sports the Star Alliance member's latest business class seats plus an updated version of its premium economy class.

Read more: First impressions of Singapore Airlines' Airbus A350 business class

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

David

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.

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 220

Well, even if it's only for 7 weeks, it's nice to have one up on Sydney for once ;)

They've been soaking up the A380 for sometime, so it's ncie when Melbourne get's something to boast about as well, even if it's a limited time!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 513

Throw the Thai A350s into the mix and Melbourne might be able to become Australia's A350 capital though depends on plans of CX and SQ.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Feb 2016

Total posts 101

But they are 3-3-3 abreast A350s ... The best SQ fleet is the A330s.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1136

Well that depends on which cabin you're travelling in.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Sep 2012

Total posts 213

A350 seats are wider and have ample leg room compared to the A330, plus with the latest Airbus product it would be a greater flying experience.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 582

no...the A330s are just as tight as the new A350 at 18inches wide.  Their best seats are on A380s and 77Ws with 19inch width.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 May 2016

Total posts 33

They should fly A350 to Melbourne as other competing airlines such as QR, CX, TG are flying A350 to Melbourne, starting this year and into next year.  Seven weeks trial of SQ A350 fleet is a good start then must continue on into Summer months onwards downunder.  A330 will retire eventually, hence A350 is the way to go for Melbourne moving forward for SQ to remain competitive and attractive in the Australiana sector.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 513

The general public couldn't care less if the plane is an A330 or A350. This is an expensive plane and in order to make it worthwhile they have to achieve maximum loads on it and so they will test the waters with a 7-week trial and if SQ finds it profitable then it will be permanent.

30 Jan 2015

Total posts 20

Are QR definitely adding the A350 to MEL? Their service and DOH/LHR lounges were fantastic, but the B777 business seating leaves a lot to be desired. However the A380 seats were top-notch and I understand the A350 ones are the same.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

"They should fly A350 to Melbourne as other competing airlines such as QR, CX, TG are flying A350 to Melbourne, starting this year and into next year."

1st of all, assuming your claims are correct, how are they superior to SQ which is also starting 350 service for MEL this year?  2ndly, are you certain about 350 service for MEL by all carriers per your claim? 

TG:  Agree 350 is scheduled for MEL most likely from Sep(Same as SQ) as reported by ausbt.com.au dated 1Jun.  However, it may be delayed as 1st delivery to TG has not even occurred yet(let alone @ least a few wks of crew initial training+familiarization on short routes prior to any longer ones).  Worst of all, TG is notoriously inconsistent in deploying specific fleet type for a particular route.  Per typical TG style, it can swap out 359 fm MEL route with little to no prior notice.

CX:  No annoucement re 359 for MEL that I'm aware of.  What CX did stated was all 359s will be for AKL, Europe and E.Asia until 2017.  This website even reported "Australia is unlikely to see the fuel-efficient jetliner until 2017." on 1Jun, let alone MEL specifically.

QR: No announcement re 359 for MEL that I'm aware of.  Only ADL gets it currently and among all AU routes, QR has so far only mentioned PER as the nex possible 359 destination.

Ultimately, every 350 operator is suffering fm the delivery delay @ Airbus each with so few 359s to play with and the situation not expected to improve much until @ least 12mths fm now.

"Seven weeks trial of SQ A350 fleet is a good start then must continue on into Summer months onwards downunder."

Why?  Are you aware that some SQ routes outside AU are suitable only for 359 but not any other types in SQ fleet?  Other types are either too large to maintain daily(e.g. 380, 77W) or don't hv sufficient payload/range(e.g. 333) for some SQ routes.  In contrast, MEL is technically suitable for every type in SQ fleet.

"A350 is the way to go for Melbourne...for SQ to remain competitive and attractive in the Australiana sector."

Possibly but what exactly is wrong with the SQ product stds on 77W or 380 commonly deployed on MEL route?  They've largely the same J as the 350 and their Y is actually wider than those on 350.  Most importantly, does it mean SQ should prioritize 350 deployment for MEL and delay other SQ routes/mkts(e.g. SFO, JNB, AMS, DUS, etc.) that can ONLY be served effectively /technically(due to mkt size /range) by 350?  I doubt it.  Remember, almost all of the fuel burn advantage of a 350 over older gen types is realized during cruise....the longer the cruise, the larger the fuel burn savings to be earned.  Totally logical for SQ to prioritize 350 for 12hrs+ sectors over sub-8hrs sectors such as SIN-MEL.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 70

They really need to start A 350s  or the dreamliner to All cities in Australia

as soon as possible to be competitive with Etihad  and qatar, otherwise they will lose the battle. Why would a business class customer choose an old aircraft with angled seats over a state of the art aircraft with the latest lie flat seat? SQ management nees to wake up. Also they should offer the Chauffer service like these other airlines do.

20 Apr 2015

Total posts 21

Yes, not sure why Melbzone got so many down votes. 

Australia is basically the domestic market that SQ never had, so if SQ doesn't keep up with the hard product, discerning passengers will flock to the ME3.

Another instance of shortsightedness from SQ management, after they dithered on taking over VA. At the rate they are going, SIA will become another MH, TG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2221

SQ is streets ahead of MH and TG. They may not have made all the best calls and they may lag slightly in some areas, but they are not catastrophically mismanaged like MH and TG.

20 Apr 2015

Total posts 21

But SQ also charges way more than MH, TG, or CX and QF and the ME3 for that matter. While I acknowledge their soft product, they need to buck up on the hard product.

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 514

Have you been on a new or refitted SQ 777-300ER? More or less same business class seat and down the back not much different either in terms of seat and amenity.

Also new A380's coming soon for SQ.

Don't get me wrong, the SQ A359 is a great plane (flown in it twice already), but bit harsh to say SQ's other aircraft are not competative because they are 'old', when the product is far from old.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 May 2016

Total posts 33

SQ eventually will phase out all the A330s, so why wait/hold onto flying A350 to Australia sector at later stage?  It should fly now to wet the appetite of the Australian passengers to fly them rather to try other airlines?  I must admit SQ isn't cheap, but with new products, surely people are tempted and willing to pay.  And also, A350s offer PE class unlike the A330s.  777s are older aircrafts and offer nothing new or special for frequent flyers, except first class for Australian passengers travelling to Europe (transit in SIN).

SQ launches bidding recently and this will add attractiveness on SQ products.  Other airlines are offering upgrade bidding options already and SQ should catch up now. The airline markets are getting very competitive in pricing, particularly the EK, QR and EY are slashing prices to compete with the prominent airlines such as SQ and CX recent years.  If these asian airlines are not innovative and attractive enough, they will loose market shares (in which they are loosing now) to them.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

"Why wait/hold onto flying A350 to Australia sector at later stage?"

Because believe it or not, SQ doesn't hv much chocie but to hold @ this stage.

1st of all, 359 is a very new type and typically for a new widebody type, initial delivery to any customers during Year1-2 will be slow even if everything goes by Airbus production plan.

2ndly, everything did not go by 359 production plan....in fact, it's seriously delayed(Search the infamous cabin/seat delivery delays due to supplier Zodiac).  The type 1st entered service 18mths ago and guess how many hv been delivered worldwide to all customers as of today? 27.  That's only 1.5 per mth on avg.....a sharp contrast against Boeing which delivered 787 x14 just for the mth of Jun16.  Only 9 hv been delivered to 3 Asian operators and SQ is really lucky to hv received 4(Poor CX got only 1).  359 delivery rate is improving but Airbus is not expecting more than 40 additional deliveries worldwide for 2016....SQ will receive 4 more @ best before 2017. 

Finally, contrary to popular belief of some folks here, SQ's 350 fleet is not exclusive to AU routes.  SQ intend the 359 to eventually cover its entire network fm super-short trunks such as SIN-KUL to new ULH intercon routes such as SFO-SIN(Scheduled to launch daily fm Oct16 meaning 2 frames taken fm the fleet just to support this Trans-Pcf rotation).  This means those few initial 359 frames must be rotated thru a vast array of SQ stations for initial crew training+familiarization both on the ground & in the air(Vast majority hv never worked on a real 350 in Rev$ service before) plus longer daily downtime to account for dispatch contingencies typical for new type in service.  I est before mid-2017, there's no way SQ will hv a 359 fleet large enough to schedule 1 continuously on any AU route.  There're simply too many SQ routes which are technically suitable or flyable(e.g. SFO-SIN) only by 359....no AU route is in that category.  SQ will simply hv too few 359s to play around with for the nex 12mths.

QR is able to deploy 359 regularly on AU route because it's lucky....it already has 9 airframes in the fleet.

Good to see SQ bringing their A350 to more cities. Now let's hope they get Brisbane fixed soon because those A330s are not up to SQ's usual standards.

These first A350s are for Longhaul, hence why the MEL engagement is temporary. I look forward to when the medium-range A350 config arrives... I'd expect 28 business (that fills the A350s entire forward cabin with space for the lavatories), 24 P. Econ and at least 235 Economy seats (that's a lowball by the way) so at least 287 passengers and probably closer to 300.

Good to see SQ putting the newest product onto Australian routes and I look forward to future developments there.

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 514

Those SQ A330's are very much up to SQ's usual REGIONAL standard.

Beleive it or not SQ do have regional and long haul product and they fly what ever product they beleive the market can sustain.

SQ also has different versions of product, they don't always rush up and bring the fleet up to the latest standard everytime they get something new.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 582

I believe the 2nd batch of regional A350s will only be 2 class...but that's not set in stone

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 May 2016

Total posts 33

A380s are more suited for Sydney as the loads are higher than Melbourne.  A350 would be ideal with premier economy options for Melbourne passengers.  Moreover, EK has cut its direct flight between MEL to KUL, hence the SQ will pick up more passenges travelling to KUL from this sector. 

24 Apr 2014

Total posts 271

Already booked on it in a few weeks, will be interesting.


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Singapore Airlines to start Airbus A350 Melbourne flights this week