Singapore Airlines has long been a big player at Perth International Airport. Now it’s reinforcing its presence in the West Australian capital by announcing that every one of its four daily return services to Perth will feature Singapore Airlines’ premium lie-flat business class product.
Executive Traveller is reporting that as of October 1st, 2019, SQ224 and SQ225 will be operated by Boeing 787-10s which are outfitted with the most up-to-date Singapore Airlines business class seat.
The 787-10 will replace the A330 which had sloping rather than lie-flat seats.
It comes just weeks after Singapore Airlines and the Western Australia State Government signed a marketing agreement to promote inbound tourism into Western Australia.
The Singapore Airlines regional business class seats are the same seats people have been talking about on Turkish Airlines A350s and its new 787s.
It’s only a five and a half-hour hop up to Singapore from Perth. Lie-flat seats aren’t strictly necessary on day time flights but SQ225 out of Singapore is a red-eye, leaving at midnight and landing in Perth at dawn. Even for a short flight through the early hours, a lie-flat seat is a big plus.
Singapore Airlines steps into the breach
For years Qantas has had a dilatory approach to international services out of Perth, annoying Perth locals and its frequent flyers who felt the national flag carrier was far too east coast centric.
Only a generation ago you could catch the Flying Kangaroo out of Perth to a range of Asian cities, including Hong Kong, Tokyo, Bangkok and Singapore. With the exception of Singapore, Qantas has axed the lot of them.
Qantas makes a lot of noise about its newish Perth-Heathrow nonstop service – it has been a great success, but its commitment to servicing Perth with international flights to other destinations has been poor.
Otherwise, it offers a daily return service to Singapore utilizing an A330. It has a fine business class product. But not so long ago, it was sending a 737 up to Singapore with its domestic business class seat.
You can’t even hop on a Qantas flight to Bali out of Perth anymore.
Contrast that single daily A330 service with the four return services Singapore Airlines has. Cathay Pacific has 10 return services a week to Hong Kong. ANA has just announced it will start flying into Perth and Emirates has a daily service. Clearly, other airlines have been happy to step in the breach.
Regular travelers out of Perth appreciate the commitment to the city shown by airlines such as Singapore and, unlike many better serviced east coast Aussies, aren’t shy about giving Qantas the cold shoulder and booking elsewhere.
The Qantas argument about Perth
Qantas argues that its ongoing dispute with Perth Airport is hampering the growth of its international services there. It cites its decision to delay a flagged Perth-Paris service as an example of this. But Qantas pulled the vast bulk of its international services out of Perth well before its current imbroglio with Perth Airport began.
But Qantas is looking to settle the dispute and recent reports in Australian media suggest the impasse may be moving forward. If an agreement is reached, can Perth expect a decent ramp-up in international Qantas services?
I wouldn’t hold my breath. Touted flights like Perth-Paris could be temporary events pending the much anticipated long-range Project Sunrise jets Qantas CEO Alan Joyce is trying to get either Boeing or Airbus to conjure up. When that happens, when he gets a plane capable of flying into Western Europe out of Sydney and Melbourne, Perth might be looking for scraps again.
In the meantime, airlines like Singapore Airline service the market well. The Star Alliance member sends its premium passengers to the very nice Air New Zealand lounge at Perth Airport, it has great lounges in Singapore and offers a service frequency and product unmatched by its local competitor.
The upgrade of the Singapore Airlines product on SQ224 and SQ225 is the icing on the cake.