Singapore Airlines Celebrates 50 Years Of Frankfurt Airport Flights


  • Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-941 (2)

    Singapore Airlines

    IATA / ICAO Code:
    SQ / SIA

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Hub (s):
    Singapore Changi Airport

    Year Founded:
    1972

    Alliance:
    Star Alliance

    CEO:
    Goh Choon Phong

    Country:
    Singapore

  • Tom Boon-069

    Frankfurt Airport

    IATA / ICAO Code:
    FRA / EDDF

    CEO:
    Stefan Schulte

    Passenger Count:
    24,814,921 (2020)

    Runways:
    07L / 25R 2,800m (9,240ft) | 07C / 25C 4,000m (13,123ft) | 07R / 25L 4,000m (13,123ft) | 18 4,000m (13,123ft)

    Terminals:
    Lufthansa First Class Terminal | Terminal 1 | Terminal 2 | Terminal 3 (Under Construction)

    Country:
    Germany

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Singapore Airlines has recently clocked in half a century of flying to Frankfurt. On August 3rd, 1972, the inaugural maiden flight took off from Singapore and landed at Frankfurt’s Rhine-Main Airport as Malaysia-Singapore Airlines. It was the first of many flights that eventually established an ever-lasting political, economic, and tourist relationship between the airline and Germany.

Three stops on a Boeing 707

During that time, Malaysia-Singapore Airlines flew thrice weekly to Frankfurt using a Boeing 707-327 aircraft, which featured only two cabin classes – First and Economy Class. What’s more interesting is that nonstop flights weren’t as common as they are today, which meant the airline made a few stops before reaching Frankfurt.

On Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, Malaysia-Singapore Airlines flight ML783 would fly from Singapore to Bombay for a short ground time of approximately one and a half hours before continuing onward to stop in Bahrain. After another short halt, ML783 would fly ahead to Rome for the third stop before finally landing in Frankfurt at approximately 07:25. However, ML783’s final destination wasn’t actually Frankfurt, it was Londons Heathrow.

The aircraft that operated the inaugural flight (pictured above) was registered 9V-BDC, making its first flight in 1967. Photo: Singapore Airlines

Eventually, the flights to Frankfurt were upgraded to four times weekly in 1973 under the current branding of Singapore Airlines (Malaysia-Singapore Airlines became defunct a year prior). And then, 45 years ago, in 1987, the route was further upgraded and remained a nonstop service. The aircraft on the route was also upgraded from the Boeing 707 to SIA’s famous Boeing 747-400 “Megatop.”

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Frankfurt’s 10th anniversary with the Airbus A380s

Frankfurt has undoubtedly been the most significant continental European hub for Singapore Airlines since the beginning, with various connections in the 1970s and equally vital connections now. Today, passengers can connect onward from Frankfurt to New York JFK on a fifth-freedom flight. Before the pandemic, nearly 700,000 passengers flew with the national carrier from Frankfurt annually.

With that massive number of passengers, it makes sense why Singapore Airlines chose Frankfurt to be the first European hub to see its biggest aircraft yet. A decade ago, in 2012, the Rhine-Main Airport was Singapore Airlines’ first European Airbus A380 destination as the Boeing 747-400 was replaced, with daily flights from Frankfurt to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport and Singapore.

Back then, Singapore Airlines’ Executive Vice President Commercial, Mak Swee Wah, said:

“The introduction of the A380 to Frankfurt is another milestone for Singapore Airlines. For Germany, it will mean offering our customers the latest cabin products on both of our daily Frankfurt flights as well as our daily Munich flights.”

A retrofitted comeback to Frankfurt

For two years since March 2020, Singapore Airlines was flying to Rhine-Main Airport using the Airbus A350 or the Boeing 777-300ER, as the pandemic saw the near-eternal storage of the beloved Airbus A380s. However, the route’s significance meant it is one of the first to see the superjumbo return as demand surged.

In March, the Star Alliance member airline brought the newly retrofitted version of its Airbus A380s back to Frankfurt. The superjumbo is highlighted by six super-spacious first class ‘Suites’, each of which features separate recliner seats, beds, and a sliding door for privacy. The plane also flies 78 lie-flat business class seats, 44 premium economy seats, and 343 economy seats.

The new first class Suites, which measure approximately 50 square feet and can be adjoined to make it doubled in size with a shared double bed, are double the size of the initial 12 first class spaces offered on the Airbus A380s that Frankfurt enjoyed before the pandemic .

Singapore Airlines has bigger goals for Frankfurt, beginning with the future number of passengers. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Future ambitions for Frankfurt

After five decades, Singapore Airlines has truly evolved its relationship with Frankfurt – from stopovers to direct flights, from four-times-weekly frequencies to daily schedules. Currently, the airline offers two daily departures from Frankfurt. The first is operated by the A380 and flies onward to New York as SQ25. Singapore Airlines a second direct flight from Singapore to Frankfurt as SQ326, utilizing the Airbus A350-900.

The airline has bigger ambitions for Frankfurt and is seeking for the number of passengers from the German airport to surpass the one million mark sometime soon. Considering how successful these past 50 years have been, this enhanced ambition should be an easy feat for Singapore Airlines and Frankfurt as they look forward to several more years ahead.

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