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SIA spending US$350m on new seats for 787-10s

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A Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner sits on the tarmac as people gather for a delivery ceremony to Singapore Airlines at the Boeing South Carolina Plant in North Charleston, South Carolina, United States on March 25, 2018.

SINGAPORE Airlines (SIA) is investing US$350 million on new cabin products for 20 Boeing 787-10s as it introduces a revamped business class for regional routes.

The first of those 787s touched down at Changi Airport on Wednesday morning from Boeing's South Carolina production facility to a water cannon salute. Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan was the guest of honour at the arrival ceremony.

The highlight onboard is a new premium seat, which will be deployed on medium-haul flights up to an eight-hour radius. Featuring a forward facing, 1-2-1 layout, it gives every passenger direct aisle access and is a step up from the 2-2-2 layout seen on SIA's A330-300s.

Manufactured by Stelia Aerospace, the seat offers a width of 26 inches (about 66 cm) and a seat pitch of 44 inches, as well as additional stowage space and in-seat power supply. Unlike the current product on SIA's regional A330s with inclined flat beds, each of the new 36 seats can recline directly into a 76 inch long fully-flat bed. Meanwhile, the 18 inch touch-screen in-flight entertainment (IFE) system is powered by Panasonic's latest eX3 system.

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The new business class will be rolled out on routes operated by SIA's A330s - which last saw a refresh in 2009 - and some 777s as the airline phases out the older aircraft.

SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong said: "The introduction of the new cabin products on our Boeing 787-10 fleet reinforces our unwavering commitment to product leadership."

He added that the new products were crafted based on consultations with customers, seat designers and manufacturers.

The airline, which is seeking to significantly improve its premium product in a hyper competitive operating environment, announced just last November that it was channelling US$850 million to overhaul the cabin products on 19 of its A380s, which includes a refreshed Suite product.

Meanwhile, the economy class seats on the 787-10, which are arranged in a 3-3-3 configuration, feature a contoured backrest for comfort and a six-way adjustable headrest. These seats are also available on SIA's new A380s. Another new feature is myKrisWorld, where passengers can save and resume media across flights and are pushed recommendations based on preferences and viewing history.

With 49 planes on firm order, SIA is both the launch customer and the largest operator of the 787-10, which is expected to deliver lower unit costs and greater fuel efficiency. The airline will deploy the 787-10 to Osaka and Perth from May, but will initially use them on select services to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur for crew training.