Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) first premium economy service touched down in Sydney on Monday morning, marking the start of a 19-city rollout of the cabin between business and economy over the next six months.
The first flight to feature SIA’s new premium economy, SQ221 operated by 9V-SKJ, took off from Changi Airport a little past 2100 local time on Sunday night, lading in Sydney six and a half hours later at about 0540 Monday morning. The reciprocal SQ222, departed Mascot at 1130.
Just as it did with the Airbus A380 about seven years ago, SIA chose Sydney to debut a new product offering.
The NSW capital will be followed by Hong Kong and London later in August, with flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Manchester, Munich, Frankfurt and Paris slated to have premium economy in September.
The rollout will extend to New Delhi, Mumbai and Auckland in October, while Los Angeles, Tokyo, New York and Zurich services will be operated by aircraft featuring premium economy from December.
Finally, San Francisco and Seoul will have premium economy operated services from early January, SIA said.
SIA’s fleet of 19 777-300ER and 19 A380 aircraft were due to be reconfigured with premium economy by the end of 2016. The airline is also adding the cabin between economy and business on the first 20 A350s the airline has on order. The first A350 is due to be delivered in early 2016.
The total cost of the fit out was about US$80 million, SIA said in May.
SIA executive vice president for commercial Mak Swee Wah said in May there was a clear market segment segment that wanted an option between business and economy and SIA would offer a competitive product in that segment.
“Certainly we will hope that through optimal pricing we will be yield accretive,” Mak told media and analysts during SIA’s fiscal 2015 full year results briefing on May 15.
“It’ll be sold at the price that hopefully our customers will find hard to refuse. And we will make sure that, you know, we make it a success.”
SIA’s first Boeing 777-300ER premium economy flight was scheduled for August 12, with the SQ231 from Singapore to Sydney and the reciprocal SQ232 back to Changi the next day.
The airline’s premium economy will have 38-inch seat pitch and seat width of 18.5 or 19.5 inches (depending on aircraft type), with passengers able to access a “Book the Cook” menu, checkin via a dedicated line and offered champagne on board. Inflight entertainment is provided through a 13.3-inch HD monitor.
The seats were manufactured by ZIM Flugsitz GmbH (A380 and 777-300ER) and Zodiac Seats US (A350).