Singapore Airlines has taken delivery of its first of seven new Airbus A350-900ULR (ultra-long range) aircraft over the weekend, ahead of its debut flight on the airline’s relaunched non-stop flights between Singapore and New York.
The Singaporean carrier is the launch customer for the new aircraft, which is an extended-range variant of Airbus’s current A350-900 model. The ultra-long-range aircraft is capable of flying up to 9,700 nautical miles for a duration of more than 20 hours.
This will enable Singapore Airlines to reclaim the mantle of the world’s longest non-stop commercial flight when it resumes its non-stop service to New York (Newark) on October 11.
Business Traveller will be on the inaugural flight, and will be publishing a review of the aircraft shortly thereafter.
The aircraft is then set to take on Singapore Airlines’ non-stop flights to Los Angeles starting in November.
Aside from its range, however, the new aircraft is particularly notable for its interior cabin set up, which has – perhaps mercifully – done away with the economy class cabin altogether. Instead, the A350-900ULR will have just 161 seats in total with 67 in business class and 94 in premium economy.
Fans of Singapore Airlines’ current A350-900 seat products will be pleased to know that the A350-900ULR will feature the exact same seats as its predecessor in both the business and premium economy cabins.
Aside from its new ultra-long-haul A350, Singapore Airlines also will be taking delivery of a number of new medium-haul A350-900s, featuring its new fully flat regional business class seat product, which it debuted earlier this year on its Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner aircraft. Singapore Airlines has already earmarked Adelaide (December 17) and Brisbane (2019) as initial destinations for the new aircraft.
Singapore Airlines is among the largest operators of the A350, with 21 A350-900s already in its fleet. To date, the carrier has ordered a total of 67 A350-900s, including the seven ultra-long-range variants.
Alex McWhirter writes…
“Normally delivery flights would take the shortest route possible. But in this case Airbus and SIA decided to “prove” the A350 ULH by taking it on the longer route between Toulouse and Singapore.
The quickest route would have been via Southern Europe, the Black Sea and India. However this particular flight routed to Singapore via the Arctic Circle and Russia which is roughly one-third longer.
It meant that, on this occasion, the normal 12 hours flight time (for Toulouse-Singapore) was extended to 16 hrs 30 mins.”