Singapore Airlines has pushed back the entry into service of its first Boeing 777-9s to 2022, a year later than first announced. The delay is due to production issues that are troubling the 777-9 production timeline. Singapore Airlines has a firm order for 20 of the Boeing 777-9s with options for another six.
A report in Flight Global yesterday, Wednesday, November 6, 2019, quotes Singapore Airlines Chief Executive Officer, Goh Choon Phong, at a results briefing, saying,
“Our expectation is that, with all those announcements that have been made up to this point, the aircraft’s entry into service will still be 2022.”
It will be five years from order to delivery
The order for the Boeing 777-9s dates back to October 2017 and was purchased primarily to replace the Boeing 777-300ERs on Singapore Airlines’ long haul flights. At the time, Goh Choon Phong said;
“SIA has been a Boeing customer for many decades and we are pleased to have finalised this major order for widebody aircraft, which will enable us to continue operating a modern and fuel-efficient fleet.
These new aircraft will also provide the SIA Group with new growth opportunities, allowing us to expand our network and offer even more travel options for our customers.”
At the time, the order was a pretty big deal. It was signed off on in the White House’s Rose Garden in front of Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and US President, Donald Trump.
A chance to make some changes
The 777-9 also order gave Singapore Airlines a chance to take a look at its cabin product – already amongst the best in the world. Last year, Goh Choon Phong said the 777-9’s first class cabin would set a new bar across the industry. He told The Straits Times that;
“Singapore Airlines will be going out to our consumers and customers to get better ideas about what it is they really want in the next quantum leap of service and product.”
Given that Singapore Airlines already operate the First Class Suites and other airlines like Emirates have superb first class products on their 777s, that’s a big call. Most potential passengers would probably prefer to see the resources being poured into improving economy class.
A likely replacement for the A380
Like a lot of airlines, Singapore Airlines has put a lot of focus on dual engine twin-aisle aircraft in recent years. Orders such as this Boeing 777-9s lead to considerable speculation about the immediate future of the big jets like the A380 – of which Singapore still has 19 in service.
The Boeing 777-9 is the largest twin-engined jet Boeing has ever built, seating over 400 passengers in a two-class configuration. But of course, we know from the CEO’s statements about the first class cabin that their plane will have at least three classes. There’s a batch of Singapore Airlines A380s with leases running out around 2022. The Boeing 777-9 could fill their shoes quite nicely at considerably lower running costs.
No wonder Singapore Airlines can afford to invest in a new first class cabin for its newest aircraft.
Simple Flying reached out to Singapore Airlines for a comment but has not heard back prior to publication.