Several airlines have scheduled the introduction of brand-new planes on key international routes to the U.S., including Qantas, Lufthansa, Swiss International and Singapore.
Qantas announced that its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will enter service on December 15, 2017, flying the Melbourne-Los Angeles route. The new 236-passenger, three-class Dreamliner will fly the route six days a week, replacing a 364-seat 747, and will supplement Qantas’ daily A380 flight on the route. That will give Qantas 13 flights a week on the route, up from nine today. Even though the 787 is smaller than the 747 it will replace, the larger plane is only flying twice a week, so that’s a net capacity increase on the route of 1,400 seats a week. The Dreamliner will have business class, economy class, and a new premium economy section that the airline will introduce early next year.
Lufthansa recently took delivery of its first brand-new Airbus A350-900 which will begin regular commercial service February 10 between Munich and New Delhi. But the carrier announced last week that its second new A350 will start flying in March 2017 on the Boston-Munich route. Lufthansa said its first 10 A350s will all be based at its Munich hub. The aircraft will have 48 business class seats, 21 in premium economy and 224 in regular economy. The airline will introduce a new in-flight service for A350 business class flyers: a self-service area offering snacks and cold drinks. The new aircraft will also have larger video screens and “the latest FlyNet technology and improved web surfing,” Lufthansa said. The plane will offer a variety of lighting schemes and improved cabin pressure so travelers will arrive “feeling more rested,” the airline said.
Swiss International, a Lufthansa subsidiary, has been rolling out new 340-seat Boeing 777-300ERs as the flagships of its long-haul network. It has six already, with three more coming online in 2017. This year, it started flying them to Los Angeles in June and Miami in October. And they’ll soon be coming to San Francisco and Chicago. According to the Swiss website, The 777-300ER will begin flying between Zurich and San Francisco three times a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) starting February 16. And the airline will reportedly boost that 777 schedule to seven flights a week starting April 17. Meanwhile, Routesonline.com reports that Swiss will put the new 777-300ER into service between Chicago O’Hare-Zurich beginning June 1, flying that route six times a week. The new 777s carry 340 passengers, with eight seats in first class, 62 in business and 270 in economy (in a 3-4-3 configuration). Check out a photo tour of the Swiss 777-300ERs that we ran last year.
Singapore Airlines continues add new Airbus A350s to its long-haul feet, and the next deployment of the aircraft will be on its Houston-Manchester (UK)-Singapore route starting January 17, according to Routesonline.com. The Singapore A350s have 42 business class seats, 24 in premium economy, and 187 in regular economy (in a 3-3-3 configuration). Two months ago, Singapore put one of the new A350s into service on its Singapore-San Francisco route. Chris was on board for one of the first flights, and you can read his comprehensive report here about seating and in-flight service aboard the Singapore A350.