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Singapore Airlines first to start A380 service to India

Singapore Airlines has confirmed it will be the first airline to commence scheduled services of the world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380, to India. The surprise announcement beats out Dubai-based Emirates airline, the largest foreign carrier in India, and coincidentally, the world’s largest A380 operator, which was widely expected to be the first to commence the super-jumbo’s flights to India. Singapore Airlines has also edged out fellow Star Alliance member, Germany’s Lufthansa which has announced it will operate an A380 to India from this winter schedule.

The A380 services of the ASEAN city-state carrier which will commence on May 30 from Singapore to New Delhi and to Mumbai on a daily basis, will replace the existing two evening daily flights between the respective cities currently operated by Boeing 777 aircraft, thus reducing the number of flights from each city from 21 to 14, but with an increase in the size of the aircraft.

While not confirmed, it is almost certain, Singapore Airlines will operate its 471 seat three class configured A380s to India, with 12 first class suites, 60 business, and 399 economy class seats. This is still one of the most comfortable cabin configurations in the sky.

Airline wise, Airbus A380 cabin configuration and seating comparison chart

Airline wise, Airbus A380 cabin configuration and seating comparison chart

In our February analysis on which airlines were likely to commence A380 services to India, we had stated

“The dilemma the airline [Singapore Airlines] faces is that its current A380 fleet is fully deployed. The additional five orders are relatively recent and delivery is not expected any time soon. The airline will have to sacrifice one flight from another destination to service India in the short term, or may choose to deploy A380s at a later date.”

It will be interesting to see, which services has the carrier changed to accommodate the India flights.

The revised schedules between Singapore and Mumbai and New Delhi are:
Singapore <> Mumbai v.v.

Flight No

Sector

Aircraft

Dep / Arr

SQ 422

SIN-BOM

B777-200

0235/0525 (till 10Jun14)

0730/1020 (from 11Jun14)

*SQ 424

SIN-BOM

A380

1915/2155

SQ 421

BOM-SIN

B777-200

0845/1645 (till 10Jun14)

1145/1945 (from 11Jun14)

*SQ 423

BOM-SIN

A380

0025/0820

Singapore <> New Delhi v.v.

Flight No

Sector

Aircraft

Dep / Arr

SQ 402

SIN-DEL

B777-200

0235/0535

*SQ 406

SIN-DEL

A380

1725/2005

SQ 401

DEL-SIN

B777-200

0925/1740

*SQ 403

DEL-SIN

A380

2205/0610+1

* The A380 services are subject to regulatory approval

Singapore Airlines Senior Vice President Marketing Planning, Ms. Lee Wen Fen said

“We have been keen to operate the Airbus A380 to India and are glad that the Air Services Agreement between Singapore and India now allows us to do so,” “India is a particularly important market for Singapore Airlines and we are very pleased that more of our customers will soon be able to experience the spaciousness and comfort of the world’s largest aircraft.”

Mr. David Lau, General Manager – India, said

“Singapore Airlines was the first airline in the world to operate the A380. The Singapore Airlines A380 not only has immense public appeal but also showcases our commitment to offer the best in-flight experience to our Indian travellers.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.
  • http://www.vishal1mehra.com/ Vishal Mehra

    Intuition tells me that Emirates did that intentionally to cordon off “India’s unofficial National airline” tag. Now that they have extra seats beginning this summer season, I’m expecting them to bring 380 soon to Indian shores as well.

  • Xing Honey

    It is not that Singapore Airlines is being super nice to India, they are losing market share in other markets like Singapore-Australia with Emirates and others using sixth freedom rights. India- Australia market is one without strong competitors. I would like to see Emirates, Etihad or Qatar Air using some of the south Indian ports like Chennai or Hyderabad with sixth freedom to Australia. Ultimately passenger will be the winner with that.

    With AirIndia going traditional hub ways in modern days (with nearly 7 catchment airports in India), it is no competitor for any airline. The only thoughtful schedule of Air India is the India-Bangkok schedule with flight alternating between Delhi and Mumbai. That is the way to go for better connections at your hub with limited aircraft. Now they boast that they are connecting Europe to Australia with better transit. Then what about Australia – Europe, that is not business round trip friendly.

  • Anil

    I am surprised at the timing of BOM-SIN. It’s starting very late and would miss the connections to Australia which leaves around 8 AM? Also for those coming on business to Singapore, this will be a late arrival.

    • http://www.bangaloreaviation.com/ Devesh Agarwal

      Anil, earlier, when there was only once a day service, the Mumbai flights of SQ always used to arrive around 820am. Now, if I remember correct SQ has a group of Australia flights that depart around 9:30am, at least to the major destinations like Sydney and Melbourne, so that should provide a connection. Adelaide will not have a connection, and similarly Auckland will be a miss.

      I hazard a guess, the schedule will be improved during the winter when MIAL will be able to juggle some flights and get SQ a better time.

      • http://batman-news.com Janak Thaker

        Agree… If one wants to enjoy the A380 on the 5 hour flight from BOM-SIN for AKL, he should be prepared for a minimum of 12 hour or have 48 / 60 hours layover at SIN. Wisdom says get on the next available plane to reach home earlier.

  • http://oussamastake.blogspot.com/ Oussama

    My guess is Emirates will not commence A380 operation to India until after it gets additional seats under a revised bilateral, which as I recall was being discussed a few months earlier.

    • http://www.bangaloreaviation.com/ Devesh Agarwal

      I thought the new bilateral was already a done deal and EK got its additional seats?

      • http://oussamastake.blogspot.com/ Oussama

        I have not heard any news on the revised bilateral other than it is under discussion. It will happen, it could be paperwork and bureaucracy in action.

  • Sanjeev M

    I assume with the widened taxiway that BOM is indeed A380 capable?

    It didn’t make sense to have two flights right next to each other heading to SQ minutes apart. So the A380 is good, and of course SQ will pack it full with Indians heading to Australia and Indonesia.

    I don’t see an A380 from SQ anywhere else in India. MAA is theoretically possible, but higher frequency better suites the O&D market, not to mention the 777 is better for cargo and for MAA’s tight taxiways.

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