Singapore Airlines (SIA) will launch direct flights to Los Angeles with its new Airbus A350-900ULR ultra-long-range aircraft "quite soon", stated its chief executive officer Goh Choon Phong.
He also explained that travelers should expect more non-stop destinations in the United States during the International Air Transport Association (Iata) annual meeting in Sydney, Australia.
Goh Choon Phong (CEO of SIA) at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) AGM, 2018
This brings forward competition to United Airlines' current Los Angeles to Singapore flight at just under 18 hours using Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.
SIA will operate the flights to Newark Liberty International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport with the A350-900ULR ultra-long-range aircraft. Seven of the aircraft are coming by the end of March 2019.
The A350-900ULR will offer customers,
"A more comfortable traveling experience with features such as higher ceilings, larger windows, an extra wide body and lighting designed to reduce jet-lag. Its carbon composite airframe also allows for improved air quality due to a more optimized cabin altitude and humidity levels" (Singapore Airlines).
The ultra-range version is built to fly up to 11,160 miles (approx. 18,000km ), which is an increase of more than 1,800 miles over the standard A350. This is more than sufficient for 19 hours New York-Singapore nonstop.
Beginning of 2004, Singapore Airlines flew to Los Angeles and Newark. Due to the global financial crisis of 2008 and high fuel prices, it forced Singapore Airlines to end those routes.
When asked if the airline will continue to fly to LA via Tokyo and Seoul, Mr Goh said, "The structure of our US network will obviously have to be re looked, and what the implications are will be announced."
In October 2018, the world's longest commercial flight from New York to Singapore will be relaunched with the A350-900. The aircraft will be configured in a two-class layout, with 67 Business Class seats and 94 Premium Economy Class seats.
With a direct service already to San Francisco, Mr Goh said,"That seems to be doing well. We'll probably keep part of the operations on. Whether we will add more is something that will be under review." Since October 2016, that route does not require the ULR (ultra long range) version of the A350.
Photo courtesy of Singapore Airlines