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SIA starts work on new concepts for its Boeing 777-9s

SINGAPORE Airlines (SIA) has started to conceptualise new cabin products for its upcoming Boeing 777-9s, even as it is set to unveil a revamped regional business class on Wednesday.

SIA has ordered 20 777-9s - primarily as replacement aircraft for the long-range 777-300ERs - which will start to arrive from FY2021/2022. SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong said that its 777-9 will feature a new First Class that will "set an industry standard".

Mr Goh was speaking to the media at Boeing's facility in South Carolina, after the airline had taken delivery of the first 787-10 aircraft as the launch customer. The aircraft, which will be deployed to Osaka and Perth from May, could be deployed to other points in Australia as well as Indonesia in the future, Mr Goh said.

Amid increased competition, SIA has rolled out a brand new regional business class for the 787-10, which will also be featured on some regional A350s in the future. This marks a refresh for the airline's regional premium seat, which was last introduced on the A330 back in 2009, and comes after it introduced an overhaul of its A380 seats in December,

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The new 787-10 are set to replace SIA's existing A330s and some of its 777s on Asia-Pacific routes. It will also mean a bump up in capacity, since at 337 seats, the 787-10 offers some 18 per cent more seats than SIA's A330-300, while burning less fuel. However, Mr Goh expects that there will be sufficient demand to absorb the capacity injection.

He said: "We believe we have a great product and there is sufficient demand for such a product. Coupled with the service level, we are able to provide, we believe it's going to be a great combination that will bring about demand for the capacity we're going to add."

UOB Kay Hian analyst K Ajith said that the new Business Class on regional routes could yield higher profitability versus the A330 and B777, since SIA is expecting stronger demand for premium seats, driven primarily by leisure travellers.