The blue-band Southeast Asian airline will operate Seattle with an Airbus jet – but it has made significant Boeing orders for jet aircraft to fly to many of its extensive international routes.
Singapore Airlines will add nonstop service between Singapore and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport next year, part of a significant expansion of its US routes made possible by a new long range of Airbus jet.
But do not worry, Boeing.
The airline also has big plans for Boeings 777X, 787-10 and 737 MAX jets, "said Mak Swee Wah, Executive Vice President.
After years of strong competition from giant Gulf carrier Emirates led to losses last year, the blue-band Southeast Asian carrier continues to resume growth. In July, Singapore's reputation for luxury interior and superior cabin service, the annual Skytrax award based on passenger surveys called the 201[ads1]8s world's best airline, doubled.
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Mak said that the airline chose Seattle as the fourth US non stop stop, after San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles, for its rapid growth and presence of large companies.
"We see a lot of potential, not only from business, but also from leisure and visiting friends and relatives markets," he said in an interview.
At Sea-Tac, Singapore will collaborate with Alaska Airlines, a partner in Los Angeles and San Francisco, to provide US domestic connections.
Mak said the Airbus A350-900 has opened the nearest 9,300 mils direct route to Sea-Tac, with flight time only 16 hours from Seattle to Singapore and almost 15 hours on the backside of Asia.
"We now have a plane that allows us to make these nonstop services to the United States economically," Mak said.
Last month Singapore launched what is the world's longest commercial airline, between Singapore and New York, a plane just shy of 19 hours. On Friday, the airline launches nonstop service between Singapore and Los Angeles.
For these two routes, the airline is flying the ultra long version of jet as it is the launch customer. The A350-900ULR has fewer seats – with 161 passengers – and additional fuel tanks.
For Seattle stopping station, scheduled to start September 3, 2019, it will fly the regular jet jet variant, the same as flying between Singapore and San Francisco, with 253 passengers in three classes. The airline also increases its Singapore-San Francisco service to 10 trips a week, from seven.
Mak called the A350-900 a "game exchanger."
Singapore tried to fly nonstop to New York and Los Angeles using the four-engine, fuel-fired Airbus A340, but interrupted these services in 2013 when the routes lost money.
A350-900 "has the reach," said Mak. "More importantly, it has the economy."
Expansive plans include Airbus and Boeing
But Mak made it clear that Boeing is far from closed by Singapore's long-range plans.
The airline has a fixed order for 20 of Boeing's 777-9X jetplanes, which are larger in terms of passenger capacity than the A350-900. Mak said that 777-9X would be seen as the aircraft that will replace Singapore's fleet at 777-300ER.
777-9X "will be an important flight to fly to long-distance destinations when larger capacity is required," he said. "Our fleet plan requires both aircraft, A350-900 and 777-9X."
With its fleet fleet, Singapore is a major customer for both manufacturers. So its choice among the planes available or proposed by Airbus and Boeing for different missions is influential in aviation world.
From Airbus, Singapore operates 19 superjumbo A380s and 19 A330s, plus 25 of A350-900s with 42 more on company order.
When Singapore got rid of its first five A380 superjumbos after the first 10-year lease ended in 2017, the industry interpreted as the beginning of the end of the slow Airbus giant.
Mak said the five early models were less effective. And he said that although Singapore does not need more than the 19 superjumboes it has gone, the aircraft plans to keep the planes in use.
Singapore has announced an investment of $ 850 million to restore the earliest 14 of the remaining superjumbos with the same upgraded cabin suites as the last five.
"These planes will serve for many years to come," said Mak.
From Boeing, Singapore operates 45 current 777s with the 777-9X numbers coming, plus six 787 -10s with another 43 on orders.
The 787-10s "perform well," he said.
In addition, Singapore's short-haul region SilkAir, which is boarded back to the parent airline, operates Five Single-Time 737 MAXs, with 32 more on order.
And its low cost subsidiary Scoot flies 18 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, with two on fixed order.
Mak said that these varying size aircraft will serve different markets, with A380 superjumbo serving megacity routes, 777-9X for smaller tight but big markets, and A350-900 a size again.
And Singapore's awaited orders earmark 787-10 as the preferred plane for intermediate markets in Asia and Australia, and 737 MAX for shorter routes.
"Each has its own mission," said Mak.
The judgments reflected in these choices support Boeing's broad product range, with the A350 as the only major winner for Airbus. That's what you'll see in Singapore-livery next year at Sea-Tac.