SIA said one of its four daily flights to between Perth and its Singapore hub would switch to the 787-10, replacing either the Boeing 777-200 or Airbus A330-300 which currently operate on the route.
As the aircraft will primarily be deployed within Asia Pacific, SIA has chosen a two-class layout for the 787-10, comprising 36 new, yet-to-be-revealed, regional business class seats offering direct aisle access for every passenger and 301 economy class seats in a 3-3-3 layout for a total of 337.
In addition to the improvement in cabin amenities, the switch to the 787-10 also represented a capacity increase of about five per cent on the Perth-Singapore route, given the 777-200s and A330-300s have 266 and 285 seats, respectively.
“Deploying our brand new 787-10 product to Perth reinforces the importance the city plays in our global network and will help to cater for the growing demand we have seen from the West Australian market,” SIA regional vice president Phillip Goh said in a statement on Thursday.
“I am looking forward to welcoming the new aircraft to Perth and showcasing our new regional cabin products to our customers.”
SIA has firm orders for 30 787-10s, as a well as a letter of intent for a further 19 of the type. It is the 787-10’s launch customer.
The airline’s first 787-10, 9V-SCA, commenced flight testing on February 2 2018. The official delivery ceremony was scheduled for late March.
Perth is the second announced scheduled destination for SIA’s incoming batch of 787-10s. After some short-haul flights to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur for crew familiarisation purposes following first delivery, SIA will deploy the aircraft on the Singapore-Osaka route from May.
Aviation thinktank CAPA – Centre for Aviation said the 787-10 was a key component of SIA’s fleet strategy as it would help lower costs and usher in a new phase of growth as older A330-300s and 777-200/200ERs are withdrawn.
“The lower unit costs generated by 787-10s enable SIA to compete better in an intensely competitive regional market – against LCCs, as well as aggressive full service airlines,” CAPA said in a research note dated February 21.
“SIA the parent airline has not grown over the past decade and is betting that the 787-10 is the right platform to support a resumption of growth.”
“The 787-10, which will account for more than a third of SIA’s eet in 2023, could be a game changer for SIA.”
The 787-10 is the largest variant of Boeing’s 787 program and is capable of flying 6,430nm when configured with 330 passengers in a two-class layout, according to Boeing figures.
At 68.2m, the 787-10 is a 5.5m stretch on the 787-9 that began flying in August 2014. The first 787 variant, the -8, made its commercial debut in October 2011 with launch customer All Nippon Airways.
The 787-10 received its amended type certificate from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in late January, following a flight test program that kicked off in March 2017 and accumulated 900 test hours.
Apart from SIA, airlines that fly to Australia and have ordered the 787-10 included ANA, British Airways, Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, EVA Air and United.
The Boeing website lists 171 orders for the 787-10 as of January 2018.
Boeing published a video of the 787-10’s first flight in March 2017 on YouTube