Singapore Airlines is to begin ferrying passengers between Copenhagen and Rome with the launch of a fifth freedom Airbus A350 route. The launch will mean that passengers between the two cities have an additional choice on top of the existing connections planned by Norwegian, Ryanair, and SAS.
Fifth freedom flights are popular with aviation enthusiasts. They typically mean a short-haul ride on a widebody from a different region of the world. However, recently their number has dipped as a result of the COVID-19 impact on the aviation industry. As the industry finds its feet once more, it seems as though fifth freedom flights are back.
An Intra-EU Singapore Airbus A350 flight?
As first spotted by Mainly Miles, Singapore Airlines will be launching flights between Copenhagen and Rome from mid-July. The Airbus A350-900 will operate the flights. The flights appear to be priced incredibly reasonably compared to the airline’s competitors on the route. At the time of writing, on July 16th, the first day of Singapore Airlines flights, the following economy options are available non-stop between Copenhagen & Rome,
- Singapore Airlines to Rome (FCO) – 08:15 departure – Airbus A350 – €76 ($91)
- Norwegian Air to Rome (FCO) – 07:25 departure – Boeing 737 – €146 with no bags ($174)
- Ryanair to Rome (CIA) – 13:55 departure – Boeing 737 – €176 with no bags ($210)
- SAS to Rome (FCO) – 07:40 departure – Airbus A320neo – €207 ($247)
The flight will be tagged on to the Singapore Airlines service from Singapore, operating three times a week, departing Singapore on Friday, Sunday, and Tuesday. The flights will run to the following schedule,
- SQ 352 – Singapore (SIN) 00:30 – Copenhagen (CPH) 06:55 – 12h25m
- SQ 352 – Copenhagen (CPH) 08:15 – Rome (FCO) 10:35 – 02h20m
- SQ 351 – Rome (FCO) 08:35+1 – Copenhagen (CPH) 11:00+1 – 02h25m
- SQ 351 – Copenhagen (CPH) 12:20+1 – Singapore (SIN) 06:20+2 – 12h00m
As you can see, the aircraft spends 22 hours on the ground in Rome before returning to Copenhagen. The aircraft is already spending 29.5 hours on the ground in Copenhagen on the current schedule, meaning that Singapore Airlines will be able to get more bang for its buck on the aircraft during its downtime.
While operating the Copenhagen to Rome rotation within the Schengen Zone, the flight almost certainly won’t be operated as a Schengen flight. This is because the passengers traveling between Copenhagen and Rome will mingle with the passengers traveling from Singapore to Rome. The alternate is that all passengers from Singapore to Rome clear immigration in Copenhagen, which would be more hassle for the airline than it is worth.
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SAS vs. Singapore in business class
Singapore Airlines is the only airline to offer premium economy on the route, with a price of €184 ($220). The airline’s business class offering (€276/$330) is essentially the same price as SAS (€261/$312) but comes with a substantial hard and soft product increase.
The SAS business class cabin on the Airbus A320 is nothing to write home about. Passengers are sat in the same seats as those in economy, with the middle seat blocked out. There is a slight upgrade in the soft product offered, although it doesn’t really justify the price increase compared to Singapore Airlines.
The Singaporean carrier offers 40 lie-flat business class seats at the front of the Airbus A350-900. This sees each passenger have direct aisle access in a 1-2-1 configuration. It’s unclear what soft product the airline will offer on the short flight. Presumably, the cabin crew won’t provide bedding, but perhaps passengers can expect decent catering during the flight.
What do you make of Singapore Airlines’ new fifth freedom hop? Would you use it? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!