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SIA CEO: A350ULR U.S. flights may face payload restrictions

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June 8th 2018

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Speaking on the sidelines of the IATA AGM in Sydney this week, Singapore Airlines (SIA) CEO, Goh Choon Phong, said the airline’s announced A350ULR flights from Singapore to the U.S. could face payload restrictions, particularly in the cargo hold. Read More »

“There could be some payload concerns, but on the cargo side particularly,” Goh said, adding the restrictions would most likely only apply to westbound flights to Singapore in winter when strong winds prevail across the Pacific. “When we get the aircraft, we do have modelling rules, but this depends on actual weather,” the SIA chief said.

Last week, SIA announced its first A350-900ULR route. The Singaporean flag carrier will launch the thrice-weekly ULR between its Changi Airport hub and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey on October 11. The service will go daily from October 18, following the delivery of a second ULR to the airline.

Singapore-Newark will be SIA’s longest route at approximately 9,000nm (16,700km). The return flight is booked at 18:45hrs.

SIA, a Star Alliance member, used to fly to Newark until 2013, but terminated the route coinciding with the retirement of its fuel-guzzling A340-500 fleet.

SIA is configuring the A350ULR in a high-premium configuration, seating 67 passengers in business class and 94 in premium economy class. There will be no standard economy class cabin on the ULRs.

SIA has seven ULRs on order. The airline is the only customer for the type to date. The carrier already operates 21 A350-900s, with another 39 on order, excluding the seven ULRs.

The first ULR is scheduled for delivery to SIA in September and the remaining six will follow in quick succession before the end of the year.

SIA said it would announce the details of a second ULR route, from Singapore to Los Angeles, shortly. It is expected that the airline will terminate or downgrade its current Singapore-Seoul-Los Angeles B777-300ER triangular route with the launch of nonstop flights to Los Angeles.

A third ULR is currently being studied, Goh said in Sydney. “I'm looking at where else to fly […] seven aircraft is probably more than what's needed for the New York and LA routes. There are ways we can structure our U.S. operations and we will announce them,” he said. Orient Aviation understands that Toronto and Chicago are under consideration; both are Star Alliance hubs.

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