Singapore Airlines (SIA) said it would restart non-stop flights to Los Angeles and New York in the United States using a new ultra-long-range variant of Airbus A350 aircraft.
Non-stop flights between Singapore and additional points in the US are also under consideration, SIA said in a statement on Tuesday.
SIA said it has 63 A350-900s on firm order, and a new agreement with Airbus will see seven of them upgraded to orders for the ultra-long-range version, the A350-900ULR.
Deliveries of the ultra-long-range aircraft are scheduled to take place in 2018, enabling the restart of the world’s longest non-stop flights between Singapore and both Los Angeles and New York, it added.
“Our customers have been asking us to re-start non-stop Singapore-US flights and we are pleased that Airbus was able to offer the right aircraft to do so in a commercially viable manner,” said SIA CEO Goh Choon Phong.
The A350-900ULRs will be fitted with all-new cabin products that are currently under development, according to SIA.
However, it is likely that the non-stop flights will have both premium economy seats and business class seats.
When asked by Yahoo Singapore on Monday, Tan Pee Teck, Singapore Airlines senior vice president for product and services, said SIA would include premium economy seats for the Singapore to New York flight.
SIA previously operated non-stop services from its home base to Los Angeles and New York from 2004 to 2013 using the A340-500 aircraft, which were equipped with only business-class seats. It stopped the respective 17-hour and nearly 19-hour non-stop flights after finding they were not viable.
In a separate statement, Fabrice Bregier, Airbus president and CEO, said, “We are excited to be working with Singapore Airlines to re-launch its premium non-stop service to the US.”
He noted that the A350 offered “unrivalled operating economics for the very longest routes”.
According to Airbus, the A350-900ULR, which has been optimised for non-stop flights to the US, will include a modified fuel system to increase the fuel carrying capacity, an increase in maximum take-off weight, plus aerodynamic improvements.