First Airbus A350-900ULR for Singapore Airlines rolls out of the paint hangar
The first Airbus A350-900ULR (Ultra Long Range) for Singapore Airlines has rolled out of Airbus’ paint hangar in its full livery.
With seven of the long-haul aircraft on order, Singapore Airlines will be the first and only customer for now to operate the type.
The aircraft that rolled out, MSN 220, is set to be registered as 9V-SGA once handed over to the airline in late August/early September. Note that the delivery date could change due to multiple reasons including testing, airline delays and weather.
Airbus squeezed in the additional range by modifying the fuel system and applying all the new aerodynamic updates that are starting to roll out into the standard A350. The modified fuel system allows for an additional 24,000 liters of fuel without the need for extra tanks.
With a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 280t, the aircraft will be able to fly 9,700nm (18,000km) non-stop, allowing Singapore Airlines to reintroduce the routes that the A340-500 once operated.
Starting in October, Singapore to Newark flights will resume, taking Singapore Airlines to the top in terms of longest flight time. Singapore to Los Angeles will also join the long-haul flying list in November.
Currently Airbus is running a short flight test campaign on the type using another Singapore Airlines A350-900ULR, registered as F-WZNY (9V-SGE), which is focused on testing the fuel system, software, performance and overall range. The flight tests have so far been positive, with only one hiccup being reported and that being the damage of the sharklet while taxiing, as seen in the photo below.
With delivery approaching and tests almost towards the end, Airbus is on a hunt for more customers for the type. Qantas is a prime target with their Project Sunrise, as they’re approaching the decision as to whether they’ll go for the Boeing 777-8 or the A350-900ULR.
In addition, Qantas and Airbus have also held discussions about a possible A350-1000ULR, allowing for greater payloads and higher takeoff weights. Qatar Airways is also interested in this type.
Airbus has said in recent times that the A350 family is not complete and that more models are being looked into. For now, Airbus confirms that engineers are on the go squeezing every drop of performance out of the frame.