Airbus has delivered the first A350-900 Ultra Long Range (ULR) aircraft to launch customer Singapore Airlines (SIA). The aircraft is being prepared for flight and is scheduled to depart Toulouse for Singapore later today.
The latest variant of the best-selling A350 XWB is capable of flying further in commercial service than any other aircraft, with a range of up to 9,700 nautical miles, or over 20 hours non-stop. Altogether, SIA has ordered seven A350-900ULR aircraft, configured in a two-class layout, with 67 Business Class seats and 94 Premium Economy Class seats.
SIA will begin operating the A350-900ULR on 11th October, when it will launch non-stop services between Singapore and New York. With an average flying time of 18 hours and 45 minutes, these will be the world’s longest commercial flights. Following New York, the aircraft will enter service with SIA on two more non-stop transpacific routes, to Los Angeles and San Francisco.
“This is a proud moment for both Singapore Airlines and Airbus, not only because we have again strengthened our partnership, but also because we have pushed the limits with this highly advanced new aircraft to extend long-range flying to new lengths,” said Singapore Airlines CEO, Mr Goh Choon Phong. “The A350-900ULR will bring more convenience and comfort to our customers and will enable us to operate ultra-long-range flights in a commercially viable manner. It will help us boost our network competitiveness and further grow the Singapore hub.”
“Today’s delivery is a milestone for Airbus and Singapore Airlines, as together we open a new chapter in non-stop air travel,” said Tom Enders, Chief Executive Officer, Airbus. “With its unrivalled range and step-change in fuel efficiency, the A350 is uniquely placed to meet demand for new ultra long haul services. The combination of the A350’s quiet, spacious cabin and SIA’s world-renowned in-flight product will ensure the highest levels of passenger comfort on the world’s very longest routes.”
The A350-900ULR is a development of the A350-900. The main change over the standard aircraft is a modified fuel system, enabling the fuel carrying capacity to be increased by 24,000 litres to 165,000 litres. This extends the range of the aircraft without the need for additional fuel tanks. In addition, the aircraft features a number of aerodynamic enhancements, including extended winglets, which are now being applied to all in-production A350-900 aircraft.
The A350 XWB is the newest and most modern widebody aircraft family, incorporating the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fibre fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. Together, these latest technologies translate into unrivalled levels of operational efficiency, with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel consumption and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs.
The A350 XWB features the Airspace by Airbus cabin, which is designed to enhance comfort and well-being on long flights. The aircraft has the quietest cabin of any twin aisle widebody and features the latest air conditioning, temperature management and mood lighting systems, with an optimised cabin altitude and higher humidity levels. The aircraft also features the latest in-flight entertainment and WiFi systems, with full connectivity throughout.
As at the end of August 2018, Airbus had recorded a total of 890 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 46 customers worldwide, already making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever. Almost 200 A350 XWB aircraft have already been delivered and are in service with 21 airlines, flying primarily on long range services.
Singapore Airlines is one of the largest customers for the A350 XWB Family, having ordered a total of 67 A350-900s, including the seven Ultra Long Range models. Including today’s delivery, the airline’s A350 XWB fleet now stands at 22 aircraft.