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Singapore Airlines re-launches ultra-long-range flights
A350-900ULR. © Airbus

Singapore Airlines re-launches ultra-long-range flights

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has announced that it will launch (again) the world’s longest commercial flights in October, with non-stop services between Singapore and New York using the Airbus A350-900ULR.

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has announced that it will launch the world’s longest commercial flights in October, with non-stop services between Singapore and New York using the new Airbus A350-900ULR (ultra-long-range).

Flights are due to be launched on 11th October 2018, to Newark Liberty International Airport. The route will initially be served three times a week, departing Singapore on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Daily operations will commence from 18th October after an additional A350-900ULR aircraft enters service.

The Singapore carrier has operated this route in the past, using A340-500s with a reduced seat count. However, the service — offered from 2004 to 2013 — proved uneconomical using the four-engine A340 due to high fuel costs.

SIA is the world’s first customer for the new A350-900ULR, with seven on firm order. The aircraft will be configured in a two-class layout, with 67 Business Class seats and 94 Premium Economy Class seats. Reflecting the special nature of the ultra long-range service, the total seat count of 161 compares with a typical configuration of 325 seats on a “standard” A350-900.

Flights will cover a distance of approximately 9,000nm (16,700km) and travelling time will be up to 18hrs 45min. ULR range capability is 9,700nm, compared with 8,100nm in non-ULR configuration. The ULR variant is designed to fly over 20 hours non-stop.

Changes incorporated in the ULR version include a modified fuel system that increases fuel carrying capacity by 24,000 litres, without the need for additional fuel tanks. The aircraft also features certain aerodynamic improvements, including extended winglets.

Singapore Airlines currently has 21 A350-900s in its fleet, with 46 more on order including seven of the ULR variant. The first A350-900ULR is due for delivery in September, with all seven due for delivery by the end of the year.

Non-stop Singapore-Los Angeles flights are also planned with the A350-900ULR, details of which will be announced at a later date.

The ULR version of the A350-900 made its first flight in April.

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