Singapore Airlines (SIA) has confirmed a May 9 start date for Airbus A350-900 long-haul operations, with Amsterdam the inaugural destination.
The Star Alliance member and Virgin Australia alliance partner and shareholder will be the second airline in Asia behind Vietnam Airlines to operate the A350 and just the fifth airline overall when it picks up its first A350-900 this week.
The aircraft, 9V-SMA, was due to arrive in Singapore on Thursday morning, travel writer Cynthia Drescher tweeted from Toulouse, where SIA is preparing to pick up the keys.
Btw, for ?? planespotters: delivery of the @SingaporeAir A350 due to land at SIN at exactly 10:00 03 MAR. ✈️
— Cynthia Drescher (@JetSetCD) March 1, 2016
TAM, Qatar Airways and Finnair are also current A350 operators.
In addition to long-haul flights, SIA planned to deploy the Airbus widebody on regional flights to Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta for crew training in the initial months.
The first revenue service – SQ118, the 1840 departure from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur – was scheduled for March 8. SIA will also fly twice daily to Jakarta with the A350 from May 10, while a second long-haul route commences on June 21 when three times weekly flights to Dusseldorf kick off.
The airline has ordered 67 A350-900s, including seven A350-900ULR versions that will allow the airline to resume nonstop flights from Singapore to the United States from 2018. SIA was expected to take delivery of 11 A350s in calendar 2016, with a further seven to join the fleet by the middle of 2017.
A seat map published on the SIA website showed SIA’s long-haul configured A350-900s would feature 253 seats comprising 42 in business, 24 in premium economy and 187 in economy.