Singapore Airlines has taken delivery of its first Airbus A350, ushering a new era of long-haul international air travel for the national carrier.
The new A350-900 aircraft marks the first of 67 A350s ordered by SIA, including seven of “ultra-long-range” versions that will enable SIA to resume direct flights to the US.
The delivery ceremony took place at the Airbus factory in Toulouse and was attended by Goh Choon Phong, SIA’s CEO, Didier Evrard, Airbus’ head of programmes, Eric Schulz, president of civil aerospace for engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce.
“The addition of the A350-900 exemplifies Singapore Airlines’ long-standing commitment to operate a young and modern fleet,” Goh said at the delivery ceremony. “The A350 will be a game-changer for us, allowing for flights to more long-haul destinations on a non-stop basis, which will help us boost our network competitiveness and further develop the important Singapore hub.”
SIA’s A350-900 comes equipped with 253 seats in three classes – 42 in business class, 24 in premium economy and 187 in economy. But this configuration will change when SIA welcomes the A350s it plans to use on medium-range flights as well as those it will deploy on the ultra-long-range routes.
The A350 features higher ceilings than similar aircraft, as well as larger windows and lighting designed to reduce jet lag.
The aircraft will initially be deployed on flights within Asia ahead of the start of long-haul services to Amsterdam on 9 May 2016. The A350 will also be used to launch SIA’s new Singapore-Düsseldorf route which is scheduled to commence in July 2016.
The ultra-long-range version of the A350, known as the A350-900ULR, will join SIA’s fleet in 2018 and will be deployed on routes from Singapore to New York, Los Angeles and a third destination in the US.
As well as the 67 A350s, SIA has outstanding orders for 30 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner aircraft, as it bids to overhaul its long-haul fleet.