Singapore Airlines has become the launch customer for a new ultra-long-range variant of the Airbus A350-900 aircraft, which will enable the airline to resume non-stop flights between Singapore and both the West and East coasts of the United States.
SIA’s new agreement with Airbus will see seven of the 63 A350-900s the carrier has on firm order upgraded to a new version called the A350-900ULR (Ultra Long Range), which will have a range of up to 8,700 nautical miles (16,100 kilometers).
The A350-900ULR will have a modified fuel system to increase its fuel capacity, along with an increase in maximum gross take-off weight and aerodynamic improvements.
SIA has also announced it will convert four of the 20 purchase options it holds for A350-900s into an additional firm order. This will increase to 67 the total number of A350s which SIA has ordered from Airbus and the carrier will retain its remaining 16 options for possible conversion into firm orders in the future.
Singapore Airlines is scheduled to take delivery of its seven A350-900ULRs in 2018.
This will enable SIA to re-launch the world’s longest non-stop flights, linking Singapore with both Los Angeles and New York.
Singapore Airlines operated non-stop flights linking Singapore with both Los Angeles and New York (SIA serving Newark Liberty International Airport with its non-stop flights) until 2013, when the airline retired the 100-seat, all-Business Class-configured A340-500s it used for the services.
The carrier says it is also considering using its A350-900ULRs to launch non-stop services between Singapore and additional points in the United States.
SIA says it will outfit its A350-900ULRs with all-new cabin products which are currently under development
“Our customers have been asking us to re-start non-stop Singapore-US flights and we are pleased that Airbus was able to offer the right aircraft to do so in a commercially viable manner,” says Goh Choon Phong, Singapore Airlines’ CEO.
“This is another example of how we strive to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations by remaining at the forefront of product and service innovation in our industry,” adds Goh. “It will also further strengthen the Singapore hub by providing the fastest and most convenient air connectivity between North America and Southeast Asia.”
“We are excited to be working with Singapore Airlines to re-launch its premium non-stop service to the US,” says Fabrice Brégier, Airbus’ president and CEO.
“The A350 is the perfect, flexible platform for such operations, offering unrivalled operating economics for the very longest routes,” adds Brégier. “And the wider and quieter cabin will provide the perfect environment for passengers to enjoy the world-famous Singapore Airlines in-flight product.”
SIA’s commitment to the A350-900ULR comes as the carrier prepares to take delivery of its first A350-900 in January.