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Singapore Airlines has signed an agreement to be the launch customer for a new ultra-long-range variant of the Airbus A350 aircraft, enabling the resumption of non-stop flights between Singapore and the United States.
Singapore Airlines has 63 A350-900s on firm order and the new agreement with Airbus will see seven of these upgraded to orders for the A350-900ULR, which will have a range of up to 8,700nm.
Image: SIA Airbus A380
The Airline also has 20 purchase options, four of which will be converted into firm A350-900 orders. This will lift to 67 the total number of A350s on firm order with Airbus, plus 16 options.
Deliveries of the A350-900ULR aircraft are scheduled to take place in 2018, enabling the re-launch of the world’s longest non-stop flights, between Singapore and both Los Angeles and New York. The aircraft will be fitted with all-new cabin products which are currently under development. Non-stop flights between Singapore and additional points in the US are also under consideration.
“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 Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong.
“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. It will also further strengthen the Singapore hub by providing the fastest and most convenient air connectivity between North America and Southeast Asia.”
Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Brégier added: “We are excited to be working with Singapore Airlines to re-launch its premium non-stop service to the US. The A350 is the perfect, flexible platform for such operations, offering unrivalled operating economics for the very longest routes. And the wider and quieter cabin will provide the perfect environment for passengers to enjoy the world-famous Singapore Airlines in-flight product.”
The agreement comes as Singapore Airlines is preparing to take delivery of its first A350-900 early in 2016, in line with the Airline’s longstanding policy to maintain a young and modern fleet.
Singapore Airlines operated non-stop flights between Singapore and both Los Angeles and New York until 2013, when the A340-500s that were used for the services were retired.