Singapore Airlines (SIA) has signed an agreement with aircraft manufacturer Airbus to be the launch customer for a new ultra-long-range variant of the A350 aircraft.
According to the carrier, the deal will facilitate its plans to resume non-stop flights between its base in Singapore and the US.
With a total of 63 A350-900s currently on firm order, SIA will see seven of these upgraded to orders for the A350-900ULR (ultra-long range). It has also placed an order for four A350-900s, taking its total order for the A350 XWB Family to 67.
Airbus touts the ULR variant as being capable of flying for up to 19 hours, as the aircraft will feature a modified fuel system that increases the fuel carrying capacity, an increase in maximum take-off weight, and other aerodynamic improvements. Range will be increased to 8,700nm, up from 7,750nm afforded by the A350-900.
Deliveries for the A350-900ULR are scheduled to take place in 2018, paving the way for SIA to relaunch the world’s longest non-stop flights, between Singapore and both Los Angeles and New York. The aircraft will feature brand new cabin products that are still under development.
The carrier had previously operated non-stop flights to both Los Angeles and New York but was forced to cancel the services in 2013, when it retired the A340-500s from service. Since then, no other aircraft in its fleet has had the capability to operate the routes profitably.
“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,” said SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong.
“It will also further strengthen the Singapore hub by providing the fastest and most convenient air connectivity between North America and Southeast Asia.”
For more information, visit singaporeair.com