On 18 March Singapore Airlines (SIA) introduced a second scheduled route to fly the new Airbus A380, this time from Singapore to London Heathrow. It has upped the ante with inflight amenities and a new best-in-business-class seat to inject some decorum into the long-haul schlep. With an almost silent cabin and greener aspirations, the A380 is in a serious dogfight with rival Boeing.
With previous incarnations as Malayan Airways (first flight 1 May 1947) and Malaysia-Singapore Airlines, in 1972 the company split to form Singapore Airlines and Malaysian Airline System. Today Singapore Airlines reaches over 100 destinations in 42 countries, flying 95 aircraft including three Airbus A380-800s and 19 Boeing 747-400s.
A division of aviation giant EADS, Airbus began developing the A380 in the early 1990s to challenge Boeing’s 747. The Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines are estimated to burn 18 per cent less fuel than its closest rival and its three-class seating offers a capacity of 471. But with an all economy class configuration, the A380 could hold 820 passengers.
- Inflight entertainment
KrisWorld and Panasonic Avionics
The first airline with in-seat telephones in its aircraft, SIA’s inflight entertainment service, KrisWorld, is the world’s most advanced. Powered by Panasonic Avionics Corporation’s eX2 IFE system, the package incorporates more than 1,000 on-demand options including movies, TV shows and language tutorials.
James Park Assoc.
Billed as the widest business class seat in the industry at a whopping 86cm, London-based James Park Associates incorporates PC connectivity via twin USB ports, an RJ45 connector and universal power supply, a 40.5cm screen, integrated bag storage and lie-flat capability with a 193cm-long bed conversion.
- Cabin Crew
The Singapore Girl
When Singapore Airlines gained independence from Malaysia-Singapore Airlines in 1972, the new company created a figure to embody the highest quality service standards of the airline. Today the “Singapore Girl” is an icon for international service and all stewardesses are required to undertake a strict training scheme that lasts 15 weeks.
Designed in 1972 by Pierre Balmain, the Singapore Girl’s uniform has remained largely unchanged. The traditional Malaysian-inspired ‘Sarong Kebaya’ is always individually tailored to the wearer and each Singapore Girl receives four new uniforms a year. All are required to keep or dye their hair black or dark brown with no highlights.
Founded in 1958 in Nürnberg, Diehl Corporation began making cabin lighting in the 1970s and has supplied Airbus aircraft ever since. Diehl was the first to develop glare-free cabin illumination. Its most recent breakthrough is the Mood Lighting System – dimmable light, artificial ambients, coloured accents and pre-programmes.
Nordam Transparency, a division of the Oklahoma-based Nordam Group, was awarded the manufacture of the cabin and door windows on the A380. They are constructed from Nordam’s trademarked Nordex acrylic. The firm’s customer base includes global airlines, corporate aircraft manufacturers and military organisations.