Singapore Airlines (SIA) has revealed that it expects to take delivery of 11 A350-900s in 2016, with a further seven to follow by mid-2017.
Speaking to Business Traveller Asia-Pacific, SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong stated that all 11 new aircraft will be deployed onto long range operations, given that the airline’s existing long-haul network is fairly conservative.
“Singapore Airlines itself has not grown very much in terms of long-haul operations,” said Goh. “With the addition of the A350-900 - with its fuel efficiency and its cabin that is ideal for mid-sized operations, we now have more options of opening up our network to more long-haul destinations.”
SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong
This competitive advantage is evident in SIA’s previous announcement of A350 flights to Dusseldorf, noted the airline’s chief who was speaking ahead of the A350’s delivery flight tomorrow.
“In the past, we would have had to fly passengers to one of the main key entry points in Europe – such as Frankfurt or Paris – to connect onto Dusseldorf. When we have to connect onto another point, it obviously wouldn’t be as competitive as someone else that is able to fly nonstop”.
SIA also announced that the inaugural A350 long-haul flight to Amsterdam will be on May 9, 2016. Flights on the A350 are now available for booking via the Singapore Airlines website.
Another major talking point was the impending launch of nonstop operations between Singapore and the US in 2018, when SIA takes delivery of seven “Ultra Long Range” variants of the A350-900. Goh revealed that the airline will restart nonstop flights to “New York, Los Angeles and one more point in the US.”
In terms of seating configuration, SIA is unlikely to have the same all-business class cabin layout of the A340-500, which it previously used to fly nonstop to the US.
“We have yet to confirm the exact seating arrangement on the A350-ULR,” said Goh. “However, we’re looking at the possibility of either a two-or-three- class configuration.”
In terms of the impact that United’s soon-to-be launched nonstop flights between San Francisco and Singapore will have on SIA’s business, Goh is unfazed by the added competition and noted the operational limitations of the B787 Dreamliner, which United will deploy on its SFO-SIN flights.
“The B787 service from San Francisco to Singapore – obviously, we’ve evaluated it before but the aircraft, with its current capability is only able to do that route. It can't do flights to New York or Los Angeles. It therefore has limited capabilities of being able to serve nonstop flights [to the US].
“We are not new to competition. We know that [nonstop flights from the US by our competitors] will come to Singapore in some capacity, and we’ll deal with it like we have always done.”
For more information, visit singaporeair.com