Singapore Airlines (SIA) has today taken delivery of the world’s first Airbus A350-900ULR (ultra-long-range) aircraft from Airbus. It is the first of seven A350-900ULRs on firm order and will enter service on 11 October 2018 – operating the world’s longest commercial flight between Singapore and Newark Liberty International Airport.
SIA is the launch customer for the new A350-900ULR, which is capable of flying up to 9,700 nautical miles (nm), or over 20 hours non-stop. The flight to New York will cover a distance of approximately 9,000nm (16,700km), with travelling time of up to 18 hours 45 minutes. The aircraft is configured in a two-class layout, with 67 Business Class seats and 94 Premium Economy Class seats.
“This is a proud moment for both Singapore Airlines and Airbus, not only because we have again strengthened our partnership, but also because we have pushed the limits with this highly advanced new aircraft to extend long-range flying to new lengths,” said Singapore Airlines CEO, Mr Goh Choon Phong.
“The A350-900ULR will bring more convenience and comfort to our customers and will enable us to operate ultra-long-range flights in a commercially viable manner. It will help us boost our network competitiveness and further grow the Singapore hub.”
Airbus CEO Tom Enders added: “Today’s delivery is a milestone for Airbus and Singapore Airlines, as together we open a new chapter in non-stop air travel. With its unrivalled range and step-change in fuel efficiency, the A350 is uniquely placed to meet demand for new ultra long haul services. The combination of the A350’s quiet, spacious cabin and SIA’s world-renowned in-flight product will ensure the highest levels of passenger comfort on the world’s very longest routes.”
The A350-900ULR is designed for a more comfortable travelling experience with features such as higher ceilings, larger windows, an extra wide body, quieter cabins and lighting designed to reduce jetlag. Its carbon composite airframe also allows for improved air quality due to a more optimised cabin altitude and humidity levels.
The first two A350-900ULRs will be used for the launch of Singapore-New York services while subsequent aircraft will be used for Singapore-Los Angeles services commencing on 2 November 2018, as well as to increase frequency on the existing Singapore-San Francisco route. By the end of 2018, SIA will link Singapore and the United States with 27 weekly non-stop flights.
With the delivery of the first A350-900ULR, Singapore Airlines now has 22 A350-900 aircraft in its fleet, with 45 more on order including the six additional ULR variants.
Singapore Airlines currently operates 40 flights per week to the US cities of Houston, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. With the new ULR flights, total US flight frequency will increase to 53 per week by December.