At 10.00am on Thursday March 3rd at Changi International Airport, Acting Senior Vice-President of Flight Operations Captain Quay Chew Eng delivered SQ8895 from Toulouse in France. What made this flight different to the hundreds of daily SIA flights around the world was that it was the delivery flight of the stunning new Airbus A350-900 into the SIA fleet, direct from the airplane manufacturer’s HQ in the South of France.
Singapore International Airlines’ CEO Goh Choon Phong was amongst the 70 to have made the flight alongside SIA and Airbus staff as well as assorted members of the media and they all disembarked looking ‘fresh, hale and hearty despite the 12-hour journey, attesting to Airbus’ claim that the A350’s higher ceilings, larger windows, extra-wide body and lighting reduce fatigue and jet-lag.’
With an initial order for 67 A350-900 planes (including seven of the Ultra-Long Range variants known as (A350-900ULR), Mr Goh said ‘we consider the A350 to be a game-changer, allowing for flights to more long-haul destinations on a non-stop basis which will boost our network competitiveness and further develop the important Singapore hub.’
He continued, ‘With its arrival, SIA is staying true to our longstanding commitment to maintain a young and modern fleet. The A350 will ultimately enable us to further enhance the three pillars of our brand promise: service excellence, product leadership and network connectivity.’
Design and Technology for the 21st Century and Beyond
The Airbus A350-900 XWB (Extra-Wide Body) is a modern masterpiece of forward-thinking design and technology:
- Range: Approx. 15,000km
- Typical Seating: 325 passengers (max. 440)
- Maximum Payload: 16 tonnes
- Wing Span: 64.75m
- Overall Length: 66.89m
- Height: 17.05m
- Fuel Capacity: 138,000 litres
- Engines: 2 x Rolls-Royce Trent XWB
More than half of the A350-900 is made from lightweight carbon-fibre and benefits from an all-new aerodynamic design. The overall wing area of the plane covers more space than two tennis courts and speaking of the wings and inspired by birds in flight, they have been designed to adapt during flight, morphing while airborne and changing their shape to reduce fuel burn.
The jetliner is also being billed as the first to ‘wear sunglasses’, referring to the plane’s distinctive cockpit windows and in addition, the engines offer unrivalled levels of operational efficiency with ‘up to 25% reduction in fuel burn and emissions’ according to Airbus.
In a very rare appearance at an aircraft arrival ceremony at a client airline’s home airport, Airbus CEO Fabrice Brégier said that it was an honour that Singapore Airlines were one of the initial A350 clients and thanked the airline for ‘betting’ on the success of the new plane. He agreed with Mr Goh that the A350 was indeed a game-changer as well as being the culmination of an intensive 10-year programme to develop a lighter and higher-performing aircraft which is also more comfortable, smoother and quieter.
‘Who can be a better ambassador for the A350 than Singapore Airlines? I wish you a long and bright future with the A350.’ Airbus CEO Fabrice Brégier
© Singapore Airlines
SIA and the A350
The seven Ultra-Long Range variants will be used to resume non-stop services between Singapore and the USA in 2018 but the first planes to be delivered are already in use. It was deployed on a select number of intra-Asian routes on a temporary basis, ostensibly for crew training and long-haul services started in the second week of May, first to Amsterdam followed by Dusseldorf in July.
Eleven planes are due for delivery in 2016 and more planes equals more cities so keep checking back to www.singaporeairlines.com for the latest destinations.
The first batch delivered to SIA are configured for 253 passengers – 187 Economy, 24 Premium Economy and 42 Business Class and as well as a sensational new plane, passengers can download the world’s first in-flight entertainment companion app which allows flyers to use their phones, tablets and laptops to review the IFE content and create a pre-selected favourites list.
You can watch SIA’s video of the delivery of the A350 here.
Singapore Airlines ordered the A350 way back in 2006. Ten years later they have a world-class jetliner, a world-class infrastructure, the world’s most advanced in-flight entertainment system and they are one of the world’s most respected carriers.
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