Singapore Airlines’ Chief Executive Mr Chew Choon Seng announced today, at the unveiling of the A380 in Toulouse, that the A380 will fly on the kangaroo route between London - Singapore - Sydney in the second quarter of 2006. Singapore Airlines is the launch customer of the A380.
The choice of route is great news for London Heathrow and SIA’s UK travellers who will be among the first in the world to experience a new travel concept on board the double decker superjumbo, which has a wingspan equivalent to almost nine London Routemaster buses placed end to end.*
SIA UK General Manager Raja Segran said: “With its very large capacity and long flying range, the A380 is ideal for high-density long haul routes where airport gate and slot congestion make it difficult for us to add more services using smaller-capacity aircraft. London is one of the world’s premier aviation centres and an ideal choice for the launch route. As the A380’s launch carrier we are committed to setting new standards of premium air travel and putting the romance back into air travel”.
The A380 cabin interior is approximately 50 per cent bigger than the B747, which currently serves the London - Singapore route, and has offered SIA many intriguing opportunities to improve on what is available to its passengers.
The A380 can accommodate 555 seats in a standard, three-class configuration. However, to ensure the highest quality flying experience, SIA’s A380 will have less than 500 seats in a three-class configuration. This means that the space per passenger will be significantly increased.
Customer workshops were held in late 2002 in London, New York and Singapore, where a group of randomly selected frequent travellers were invited to participate in the brainstorming stage of the research and design process. Participants were encouraged to put aside their preconceptions of what an aircraft interior should be, and create the type of environment they would like to travel in. Feedback from the sessions was presented to a group of designers from fashion houses, specialist aviation companies and luxury car manufacturers who have been tasked with designing a cabin that would surpass the benchmark for air travel.
There will be three classes on the A380: First, Raffles (Business) and Economy. The First and Raffles Class products will be very different from the First Class SkySuites and Business Class SpaceBeds that are in service now.
SIA has 10 A380s on firm order and another 15 on option.
* The traditional red London double-decker bus measures 9.14 metres (30 ft) in length and is 4 metres (14 ft 4 inches) tall. It can seat up to 72 passengers.