Singapore Airlines Just Ordered 39 Boeing Widebodies to Refresh Its Fleet

Singapore Airlines is one of my favorite carriers, offering outstanding service and attention to detail in its product — even in economy, where the seat has a foot rest and cup holder and you can actually imagine their flight attendants traveling to Bollywood film festivals to pick out the right inflight entertainment choices or making treks to discover the best tea to serve onboard.

They’ve faced many challenges. Southeast Asia is a hotbed of ultra low cost carrier operations. They’re hamstrung in the US market because of geography and aircraft — they haven’t been able to economically fly non-stop to the US (though they’re now flying the ‘short’ San Francisco route, launched after United began its own service) and this means there’s little advantage to flying them even to their home market of Singapore — let alone beyond which requires an extra connection compared to Cathay Pacific or Korean Air. Not to mention that for many destinations you’d be overflying and have to backtrack.

Singapore Airlines US Routes

Nonetheless they continue to invest aggressively in their product and technology, their niche in the market is as a preferred carrier while also offering differentiated products under different brands.

Singapore Airlines just signed a firm order for 20 Boeing 777-9s and 19 Boeing 787-10s. It had been announced with a letter of intent back in February. Now it was made firm at a signing ceremony at the White House “witnessed by US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong.” This makes me greatly concerned about the future of American business, at least of the non-cronyist variety, business that isn’t favored by or kowtow to whatever politician is in power.

The order is valued “at US$13.8 billion, based on Boeing’s published list prices.” so assume about half that amount.

  • The Boeing 777-9s are primarily going to be used on long-haul routes and will start arriving in 2021-2022.

  • The Boeing 787-10s are for medium-haul routes and will commence deliveries in 2020-2021.

Singapore is already the launch customer for the 787-10, with the first one being delivered next year, so these 19 planes add to 30 already on order. Singapore currently operates 53 Boeing 777s.

Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER

These new Boeings add to 49 Airbus A350-900s on order plus 5 Airbus A380s. Their short haul subsidiary SilkAir has 36 Boeing 737 MAX 8s entering the fleet, and low cost carrier Scoot has 5 Boeing 787s and 39 Airbus A320neos coming on.

Singapore flies the A350 non-stop San Francisco to Singapore and on the Houston – Manchester, UK – Singapore route.

Singapore Airlines Airbus A350 Business Class

The new Airbus A350ULR (Ultra Long Range) will come into the fleet next year allowing the airline to re-start non-stop Singapore – Los Angeles and Singapore – New York service.

In general, and there certainly is variation across their crews, but I find that Singapore Airlines has the best food and I love their ‘Book the Cook’ feature. I love their business class product and I think their first class seat is phenomenal (albeit not quite an Etihad ‘First Apartment’ and no showers). I’m looking forward to the new first class suites onboard the brand new A380s they bring into the fleet soon. And service — I love many of the Singapore Airlines crews though I can understand those who might prefer a more formal (ANA, Japan Airlines) or a more understated and less obtrusive (Cathay) experience.

Prawn and Chicken Laksa, Business Class Singapore – Bali

The point though of the piece is that we can have these discussions of whether or not Singapore is the best in any given area. That’s hard to imagine for most airlines in the world.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Singapore (the country) has a strong (if short) history of segregating politics and business results. My guess is that this is most likely a clever spin to an already made business decision to gain political chits with the administration by helping Trump appeal to his manufacturing blue collar base.

  2. I fail to see the “problem”” with a President touting the business of their countries companies. If France did the same with the AIrbus would it be a concern about the future of business there?

  3. Trump will now/later take credit for the deal and he will tout that he brought 1k jobs back from Mexico..king of lies and fake news..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *