SINGAPORE – Keen competition in the luxury air travel segment is seeing an ‘arms race’ in first class flight, with big commercial airlines overhauling their premium products to expand their suite of offerings. Meanwhile, industry watchers have said private jet travel is also taking off for short-haul flights around the region.
Earlier in November, Air France launched its new first class ‘La Premiere’ suites in Singapore.
Four individual suites of about three square metres each are on board 19 of the airline’s Boeing 777-300 fleet, and they will be available on daily flights between Singapore and Paris by the middle of Jan 2015.
Mr Nicolas Ricard, Country Manager Singapore, Air France-KLM said: “Luxury air travel demand is growing in Asia. This is a target for Air France. Air France is undergoing significant transformation with an investment of €500 million in upgrading all the long haul products, and services. This is not only La Premiere suite, but also other cabins.”
In May, Middle Eastern airline Etihad unveiled its new first class suite, the Residence, which will feature a living room, double bedroom and ensuite shower room.
Also within the past month, British Airways announced that it has added Singapore as its fifth destination in its network of A380 service routes from London. The move is part of a £5 billion investment the carrier has made in the last two years to upgrade its products and services.
Mr Robert Williams, Regional General Manager, Southeast Asia, British Airways, said: “The A380 allows us to offer even more space to first class customers than they are already enjoying on the other air craft in the fleet. They have 30 percent more space in their seat, 60 percent more personal storage.”
“We maintain Singapore in Southeast Asia as a hub down to Australia as part of the traditional kangaroo routes between Europe and Australia. Those stories demonstrate our commitment to SEA and what we’re doing in this market,” he added.