Singapore Airlines (SIA) has decided to retrofit its Airbus A340-500s to all-business class configuration citing higher demand from business travellers for the non-stop flights to the USA.
Currently the A340-500s are in a two-class configuration – 117 premium economy and 64 business class - and are used for non-stop flights from Singapore to Los Angeles and New York but in a statement today the Star Alliance carrier says the A340-500 will continue to be used on these routes but will be converted to all-business class.
The change means economy class passengers wishing to fly SIA to the USA will have use the airline’s one-stop services that go via points in Asia.
SIA executive VP marketing and regions, Huang Cheng Eng, says there was more demand for the non-stop A340-500 service from business travellers.
“The peak demand for the non-stop flights is from business class customers and this change will expand the business class capacity” to 100 seats from 64 and the rows will have a 1-2-1 layout, he says.
The business class seating on the A340-500s will be the same as the new business class seating on SIA’s Boeing 777-300ERs and Airbus A380s, says Huang, referring to the business class seats that have flat beds and leather upholstery.
SIA says in the statement that the change means all five of the airline’s A340-500s will be retrofitted and the “implementation will be phased in gradually from the middle of May 2008 on the Singapore-New York route”.
By the end of June all of SIA’s non-stop flights to New York will have the retrofitted aircraft and the non-stops to Los Angeles will have the aircraft by late September, it adds.