By Charlotte Seet
Singapore Airlines Is Bringing Back The A380s
The Airbus A380 has definitely had quite the rollercoaster ride during the pandemic, with bad times ranging from early retirements from some airlines to having its production stopped for good and eventually having been grounded or parked for what would seem like an eternity in storage airport.
And then by some miracle, the good times suddenly came flooding back rather consecutively as travel demand ramped up and borders kept opening worldwide, airlines such as British Airways and Qatar had brought their superjumbos back to life, and once again in what seemed like forever, these beautiful aircraft were back to flying the skies.
In what would seem like another unexpected turn of events, Singapore Airlines will be the third airline joining the growing list that is bringing the superjumbos back into operational flight service, as a non-stop return service between Singapore and London. After being grounded for slightly more than a year, the Airbus A380 will be returning to service as SQ322 from Singapore’s Changi International Airport to London’s Heathrow International Airport that is set to be launched from 18th November.
The return service is scheduled as SQ317 from London to Singapore and is currently the only confirmed flight of the A380, although there have been some other routes in store for the near future.
Coincidentally, the return of Singapore Airlines’ superjumbos is in tune with the recent Vaccinated Travel Lane scheme whereby the airline had announced the launches of several popular destinations that included the United Kingdom as well. The U.K. has always been a popular destination for both business and leisure passengers in Singapore, and the foregoing of quarantine was just the cherry on top for passengers to rack up demand for flight services between the two countries, especially as the year-end holiday season is approaching.
However, the initial Singapore-London return service will operate daily using the Boeing 777-300ER as the A380 will be deployed on more of an ad-hoc basis on short-haul services for operational requirements before the superjumbo can be cleared for long-haul passenger service. Featuring a massive total of 471 seats – including six of the famous Singapore Airlines Suites, alongside 78 Business Class seats, 44 in Premium Economy, and the remaining 343 in Economy, the superjumbo would be an ideal aircraft to meet the highly-anticipated demand from passengers for both Singapore and London.
As of Wednesday (Oct 13), more than 970 passes for the vaccinated travel lane have been issued to passengers in the United Kingdom as according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore – which just shows how immense the demand is, and will continue growing to be. Unfortunately, Singapore Airlines’ decision to bring back the A380s might be quite a gamble despite the obvious high demand, as the Vaccinated Travel Lane scheme has a daily limit of only 3,000 passengers.
Thus, the national carrier would have to further manage the fleet operations alongside seat capacities between the different markets, as it is had also launched various other popular destinations such as Paris. Just like the Singapore-London return service, the Singapore-Paris return service was also flown using the superjumbos and was equally just as popular in its prime before the more modern predecessors Airbus A350s took over.
With what we’ve been seeing in the tides and turns of the A380s however, the odds may very well still be in its favor as the Airbus A350s might be utilized on other popular flights for Singapore Airlines. Besides the already hotlist of destinations for the Vaccinated Travel Lane scheme, Singapore Airlines has additionally launched the return of its seasonal flight services to Vancouver, Canada after more than a decade’s hiatus when the airline pulled the plug since 2009.
This return to the Pacific Northwest will be quite different from before as the new four-times-weekly seasonal service between Singapore and Vancouver will come as a tag flight to continue onto Seattle, the United States of America.
Scheduled to commence launch from 2nd December to 15 February, the A350-900 will operate as SQ28 departing from Singapore’s Changi International Airport and arriving in Vancouver International Airport, and thereafter departing Vancouver and arriving in Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
“With the new Singapore-Vancouver-Seattle flights and the conversion of San Francisco-Singapore to a VTL service, SIA customers can enjoy even more seamless travel options to North America during the year-end holiday season. SIA will continue to monitor the demand for air travel, and adjust its services accordingly,” said Senior Vice President Marketing Planning of Singapore Airlines, Ms. JoAnn Tan in a press release.
Additionally, Singapore Airlines will also operate SQ27 as a twice-weekly Seattle-Vancouver-Singapore service that will not be designated under the Vaccinated Travel Lane scheme to cater to passengers who are not ineligible to enter Singapore through the scheme.
While the return of Vancouver as a destination might have some new configurations, but it would certainly do well for Singapore Airlines as the combined demand for both Vancouver and Seattle would do better than just the demand for a single, and relatively far destination.