Singapore Airlines is using the introduction of its A380 fleet to set a new benchmark in premium cabins in the form of fully enclosed first-class suites.

The long-awaited unveiling came last week when the airline took delivery of its first of 19 A380s in Toulouse on 15 October. It will introduce the 471-seater on Singapore-Sydney services this week.

The A380's three-class configuration has 12 are "SIA Suites" on the main deck, along with 60 business-class and 399 economy seats spread across the main and upper decks.

Each suite incorporates sliding doors and roller blinds for privacy a leather chair a bed with separate sitting and sleeping surfaces a 23in (58cm) LCD entertainment screen chaise longue and personal stowage. It was designed by French yachting designer Jean-Jacques Coste with a Ferragamo amenities kit.

Business class is configured as one-two-one, giving all passengers direct aisle access, and features a height-adjustable table.

Economy class, as on the A380 in general, will be wider than usual at 19in with a 32in seat pitch. All passengers will have footrests, height-adjustable leather headrests with side-panels for support, the new reading light, a 10.6in LCD monitor, in-seat power, and a USB port.

The eX2-branded upgrade of the Krisworld in-flight entertainment system running on Panasonic Avionics' S3000i platform will provide 100 movies, more than 150 TV programmes, 700 audio CDs, and 22 audio programmes - all on demand.

Passengers will be able to access files on thumbdrives via the IFE by plugging the drives into at-seat USB ports and using the "QWERTY-thumboard" provided to run documents, spreadsheets and presentations on a system based on Sun Microsystem's StarOffice.

Source: Flight International