Singapore Airlines took delivery of its first Airbus A350-900 on 2nd March. The aircraft arrived in Singapore the following day where it was greeted with a water cannon salute and a ceremony attended by Singapore’s Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport, Mr Khaw Boon Wan.
The airline has ordered 67 A350-900s firm (including seven ultra-long-range versions), with options for a further 20. The aircraft will initially be operated on flights within Asia for crew training purposes, after which it will be used for long-haul services to Amsterdam, from 9th May 2016. It will also be used for new services between Singapore and Düsseldorf, which are due to be launched in July this year.
The initial batch of A350s will have no First Class seating. They will be fitted with 253 seats in three classes, with 42 in Business Class, 24 in Premium Economy Class (as already proposed on the carrier’s A380s) and 187 in Economy Class. In addition to an in-flight entertainment offering equivalent to that of Business Class, Premium Economy offers a 96.5cm seat pitch, as well as a wider selection of meals and extra baggage allowance.
The Business Class seats, inaugurated in July 2013, also equip the airline’s A380s and Boeing 777-300ERs. With the A350-900, Singapore Airlines is targeting three main markets : regional long-haul services within the Asia-Pacific region (5 hours or more), traditional long-haul routes (8-13 hours), mostly to Europe, and ultra-long-range flights (more than 16 hours).
In the ULR category, the company is eyeing Los Angeles and New York. Both destinations were previously served with the A340-500 but the service was continued due to the economics of the four-engine airliner, even with a 100-seat, all-Business configuration. There are no details yet on the configuration of the seven A350-900 ULRs.