Singapore Airlines to start scheduled Airbus A380 services on 28 October

Scheduled Airbus 380 super jumbo services between Singapore and Sydney will start on 28 October, three days after the history-making first commercial flight, Singapore Airlines (SIA) said on Wednesday 12 September. (See: Singapore Airlines to launch A380 commercial flight in October)

Flight SQ221 is scheduled to depart Singapore at 8.30 pm in the evening (all times are local) and arrive in Sydney early the following morning. It will return as Flight SQ220, departing Sydney at 8:50 am and arriving back in Singapore at 1:45 pm. The A380 superjumbo will replace one of three Boeing 747-400 planes that presently service the route.

The 471-seat aircraft is configured in three classes. This includes 12 yet-to-be-unveiled suites in the front of the main deck, 60 business class seats on the upper deck and 399 economy class seats on both decks. "The suites will feature the ultimate in-flight luxury, in a class beyond first," an SIA communication said.

An online charity auction for seats on the first commercial flight ended on Monday. A handful of additional seats in business class were still up for grabs, also on eBay, until Wednesday.

The two-week auction has caught the fancy of aviation enthusiasts worldwide. The top bid of $100,380 came from Australian Julian Hayward, for a pair of first-class suites on the 25th August inaugural flight, which returns the next day. Most successful bidders were from Australia, as well as Asian and European countries. A few were from the United States and elsewhere. Seats were auctioned on both legs of the flight, totalling about 700.

Proceeds from the auction are to be divided between Singapore's Community Chest social service charity, Doctors Without Borders, the Sydney Children's Hospital and The Children's Hospital at Westmead in suburban Sydney.

SIA, which has ordered 19 of the planes, was to have received its first A380 about a year ago. Now, it will receive it in Toulouse, France, on 15 October. Production and delivery delays have led to huge losses at Airbus' parent company, EADS.

The upper deck of the A380 runs nearly the whole length of the four-engine plane, making its floor space 50 per cent larger than the next largest passenger airliner, the Boeing 747-400. The superjumbo can seat up to 850 passengers if the plane is laid out in a budget, all economy configuration.