Bright skies and sunny conditions greeted the 787-10 9V-SCA as it touched down a little after 1000 local time. The aircraft – with SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong on board alongside other executives from the airline, Boeing, other suppliers and media – received a monitor cross salute as it taxiied to the terminal.
— Changi Airport (@ChangiAirport) March 28, 2018
SIA plans to use the 787-10, which are configured with 36 business class seats and 301 economy class seats, on medium-haul routes of up to eight hours. The airline expected to have eight 787-10s in the fleet by the end of calendar 2018. The aircraft are replacing Airbus A330-300s and Boeing 777-200s.
A short time later, at Changi’s Jet Quay terminal, SIA chairman Peter Seah celebrated the arrival of the first 787-10 at an event attended by invited guests, representatives from government and other media.
“Indeed, this very new addition to our SIA fleet is an amazing addition because it is the first Dreamliner 787-10 that has taken to the skies, the first of all airlines in the world,” Seah said in his speech.
“SIA has always been committed to maintain a modern fleet of aircraft and being a launch customer of the newest variant of the Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner underscores this.”
And passengers in business class on its 787-10 will experience a new-design seat that offers direct aisle access for each passenger and converts to a 76in lie-flat bed. This represented a significant upgrade from the angled lie-flat business class seats in a 2-2-2 layout without direct aisle access on the A330-300 and 777-200.
The new business class seats, manufactured by Stelia Aerospace and customised by the airline’s product development team, were officially unveiled to the world shortly after the aircraft landed at Changi Airport and represented part of a US$350 million investment in new 787-10 cabin products.
That investment also extends to the economy class cabin, which features 301 seats arranged in a 3-3-3 configuration designed and built by Recaro and are similar to those on the airline’s reconfigured A380s that were first unveiled in October 2017.
VIDEO: Singapore Airlines has some new cabin products for its Boeing 787-10, as this video from The New Straits Times’s YouTube channel shows.
And the 787-10 will also feature inflight internet Wi-Fi supplied by Panasonic’s Global Communication Services.
“The introduction of the new cabin products on our Boeing 787-10 fleet reinforces our unwavering commitment to product leadership, one of the key pillars of our brand promise,” Goh said.
“The new products were the result of a series of consultations with customers, and from working closely with our seat designers and manufacturers. We are confident that the new regional cabin products, with full-flat beds in business class and the many new features in economy class, will offer our customers a more comfortable in-flight experience even on the shortest flights.”
The first two confirmed destinations for the 787-10 are Osaka, Japan and Perth, Australia, which begin in May.
However, the airline will operate the aircraft from Singapore to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur during the month of April for crew training and familiarisation
Boeing Commercial Airplanes senior vice-president for Asia Pacific & India sales Dinesh Keskar the 787-10 would be a passenger favourite.
“I can attest that Singapore Airlines passengers are going to love flying on it short-haul, long-haul, medium-haul, anything they want to do with this airplane” Keskar told guests shortly after stepping off the delivery flight.
“The seats are outstanding even in economy class and the business class is as I said is one of the best I have every seen.”
And Australia will welcome the 787-10 to its shores on May 8, when SIA switches its daily SQ215/216 rotation from Airbus A330-300 equipment to the 787-10. The flights are scheduled as an evening departure from Singapore, touching down in Perth just before midnight. After about an hour on the ground, the reciprocal SQ216 takes off a little after 0100 for an early morning arrival back in Singapore.
Currently, SIA flies four times daily between Perth and Singapore with a mixture of Boeing 777-200 and A330-300s.
SIA has 49 787-10s on order with Boeing, the largest order of the type from any airline. Following first delivery, the Singapore Airlines group now has all three Dreamliner variants in its operations, given its low-cost carrier Scoot’s fleet comprises both the 787-8 and 787-9.
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 (ANA).
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.
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 fleet in 2023, could be a game changer for SIA.”
The Boeing website lists 171 orders for the 787-10 as of January 2018.
Those on the delivery flight got a glimpse of the Northern Lights, as this tweet from Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren (@photoJDL) showed
Felicia, a cabin crew member on board @SingaporeAir #787 -10 delivery flight, takes a few minutes to watch as the northern lights dance through the sky. #avgeek @TodayInTheSky pic.twitter.com/2TKJZzBKJA
— Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren (@photoJDL) March 27, 2018