Airbus has delivered the first A350-900 Ultra Long Range (ULR) aircraft to launch customer Singapore Airlines (SIA).
The latest variant of the A350 XWB has 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 October 11, 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.”
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.
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.