Not content with resting on its laurels, Singapore Airlines has recently introduced the all-new Airbus A350 to its fleet, and this is intended as an eventual replacement for the existing Boeing B777s that currently fly regional and intercontinental routes. The A350 is therefore yet another interesting chapter in the Singapore Airlines story.
Singapore Airlines placed an order for 30 Airbus A350-900 aircraft way back in 2006, with a further 30 orders placed in 2013. The airline will begin operating regular services using the A350 on the Singapore-Amsterdam route beginning 9 May, 2016, although test flights have already commenced on flights from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur (watch a flight review on YouTube here from FlyCruiseSingapore). On these test flights, the famous Singapore Girls have been getting to grips with the aircraft and its operational affairs. You can be sure that when the time comes to fly on the Singapore Airlines A350, all crew members will have perfected their service! So far, only Qatar Airways, Vietnam Airlines, LATAM, and Finnair have received their orders of the A350, but soon, Thai Airways, Lufthansa, China Airlines, and Etihad will also be getting their A350s. As usual, though, Singapore Airlines is one of the airlines leading the way!
Aesthetically, the A350 in the Singapore Airlines livery is brilliant. I think it looks like a “cartoon aircraft”, with a very feminine-looking nose and cockpit windows. It is almost as though the aircraft is staring at you directly in the face whenever you look at it! Compared to my other favourite aircraft, the Airbus A380 superjumbo, the A350 is extremely nimble and lightweight, and this allows it to fly on ultra longhaul routes. For Singapore Airlines, it is the opportunity to create brand new routes from Singapore Changi Airport, specifically to Dusseldorf, Manchester (without the stopover in Munich), and Lagos. In 2018, Singapore Airlines will also receive a variant of the A350 which has longer range, and this will enable non-stop flights from Singapore to New York (a whopping 18 hours in the sky!)
It is always a pleasure to fly with Singapore Airlines, but the fact remains that a lot of their B777s (and A330s) were getting a little tired, and the introduction of this brand new aircraft certainly gives a shot in the arm to the brand, as well as keeping the average age of the fleet down to a respectable 7 years (I think only Emirates have a younger fleet).
So as the Singapore Airlines A350 takes off to a higher plateau, the aviation world will watch with baited breath to see what kind of results the airline can muster. It really is a new beginning – and I can’t wait to fly to Amsterdam myself later this year!