Singapore Airlines flashes up its cabins with a little help from BMW
In an effort to jump ahead of its swanky long-haul rivals in the Middle East, Singapore Airlines is bringing in BMW and DesignworksUSA to help develop its next generation of in-flight cabin products.
Color us intrigued. When it comes to airline cabins, Singapore Airlines (SIA) has always been ahead of the game so these new cabins should be slick.
Back in 1997, it was among the first to bring in seat-back in-flight entertainment systems -- a time when other long-haul airlines were still making us watch movies projected onto an overhead screen.
In 2007, SIA was the first to fly the world's largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380.
But though travelers continue to rate SIA among the world’s best airlines -- it came in third in the 2012 World Airline Awards -- financially speaking it's still struggling.
Competition in the region is steep as all those budget carriers prove that these days cost trumps comfort, while the dismal European economy and recovering United States market are keeping long-haul travelers grounded.
This explains SIA's push to get ahead of airlines like Qatar and Etihad, also known for placing an emphasis on cabin comfort.
More comfort, more gadgets
So what groundbreaking amenities can we expect from SIA's new aircraft?
Specifics are in short supply but SIA will say that in first class, they're working to improve cabin ambience, while a revamped seat will feature more privacy and personal stowage space, and improved seating comfort.
Meanwhile, a new generation business class seat will offer improved comfort in both seating and sleeping positions, and more of that all-important stowage space.
In terms of economy class, SIA says development work is focusing on key areas such as improved seat and headrest comfort and personal space for travelers.
New inflight entertainment and connectivity offerings and enhanced cabin lighting
will also be introduced.
More on CNN: Seat-back screens to be ditched by 2020?
SIA says it's starting with the new Boeing 777-300ERs that will enter service from the latter half of next year, followed by Airbus A350s and Boeing 787s, “in addition to possible retrofits to aircraft already in service.”
Meanwhile, SIA says it has ordered more than 60 new aircraft from Airbus and Boeing.
“In this business if you are staying still you are moving backwards, as your competitors can catch up quickly," said Tan Pee Teck, SIA’s senior vice president of product and services.
"It is therefore important to always be planning for the future."