Singapore Airlines has stolen the title of the world’s largest operator of the Airbus A350. Previously, the title belonged to Qatar Airways, which operates 53 A350s. However, three new arrivals joined the fleet this week, meaning Singapore Airlines now has 55, making it the world’s biggest operator.
On April 2nd, three brand-new A350s left Toulouse, France, and flew overnight, heading straight for Singapore, where they joined the Singapore Airlines fleet. The three new aircraft registered 9V-SHT,9V-SHU, and 9V-SHV have the honor of joining the world’s largest fleet of A350s.
Singapore Airlines now has a total of 55 A350s in its fleet, and almost all of them are in active service. According to Planespotters.net, the airline only has 86 aircraft in operation as demand remains low. Of the 86 currently flying regularly, 51 are A350s, meaning that 60% of its active fleet are now A350s. Of its total fleet of 136 aircraft, 41% are A350s. The airline still has more on order.
The number of A350s delivered to Singapore airlines means they have averaged delivery of one per month since it first received the aircraft back in 2016. This means that for every seven A350s in the sky, one of them will be a Singapore Airlines aircraft.
Why does Singapore Airlines like the A350 so much?
The airline has invested heavily in the type, making it the backbone of its fleet. It is using the A350 to replace its aging fleet of Boeing 777s and Airbus A330s. When taking delivery of its first A350-900, CEO Mr Goh Choon Phong commented,
“The A350 is a key element in our overall capacity growth and fleet renewal strategy. Its improved operating efficiency offers us the opportunity to open up even more new routes.”
The airline uses its A350s on a whole range of flights from medium-haul, regional operations to much longer-haul international flights. The aircraft comes in three variations, including the ULRs, which fly to the US with a total of 161 passengers. Then there’s the long-haul variant with room for 253 passengers and the medium-haul variant with seats for 303 passengers. With so many options. It’s no surprise the airline operates the A350 on so many routes.
According to the airline, it’s the plane that can do it all. With a lower fuel burn compared to other aircraft, it has lower operating costs. The various range and capacity levels on offer make it a flexible aircraft for a variety of missions. There’s also the matter of a decent size hold for underfloor cargo.
The A350 fleet of the future
Although Singapore Airlines is undoubtedly making the most of the A350, chances are it won’t stay the type’s largest operator. The previous holder of the title, Qatar Airways, still has 23 larger A350-1000s on order, while Singapore airline has just 12 more A350-900s on order. However, Singapore airlines will still be the largest operator of the A350-900 variant.
The airline has committed itself to the A350 for the foreseeable future. We had the chance to fly on one of the airline’s A350s and found the experience to be a delight. If you end up flying with Singapore Airlines at any time over the next few years, chances are you’ll be flying on an A350, and it certainly won’t be the worst flight you’ve ever had.
Have you flown on a Singapore Airlines A350? What did you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.