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.

singapore a380/a340 business class

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.

More images of the Singapore Airlines business class ...