Singapore Airlines took the honours of operating the first Airbus A350-900 9V-SME into Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport on Wednesday August 10th around 16:40 in the evening on runway 34, slightly ahead of the scheduled 17:30 that was originally planned. The aircraft was delivered on July 28th this year and is Airbus’s competition to the Boeing 787 and new 777X range of aircraft.
Arriving as SQ 207 from Singapore there was a few around to greet the new type. The type is the fifth destination for Singapore and their A350s as they are introduced into service with the airline. The other destinations are Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Johannesburg, South Africa, San Francisco in the US and Düsseldorf in Germany. The first Melbourne flight is some 3 weeks earlier than was originally envisaged, with the scheduled flight to be maintained with the A350 until October 23rd where it will switch to a Boeing 777-200.
Singapore is customising their A350s to suit particular routes, with the 11th delivery onwards featuring a medium haul set up with less premium economy seating fitted. This will then be followed by some A350ULR (Ultra Long Range) versions to service routes nonstop from Singapore to Los Angeles and New York as examples.
Singapore have pipped Thai Airways to the claim of first to Melbourne with the A350 as Thai delayed the first service from August to September. Cathay Pacific will follow operating their A350s into Melbourne in 2017.
The return flight SQ208 to Singapore will depart Melbourne around 6:30pm.
With 67 of the type on order for Singapore the Airbus A350 is sure to been seen more regularly as they type ramps up in service numbers. The aircraft is configured with the same business class cabin seating as fitted to the newer Boeing 777s in the fleet. Economy seating is in a 3+3+3 configuration.
Once again Aviation Spotters Online would like to thank the great crew from Melbourne Airport Corporation who provides us the access to the aircraft.
Welcome to Melbourne, Airbus and Singapore Airlines A350-900.
Singapore Airlines even has its own A350 website which allows you to experience the aircraft: http://www.singaporeair.com/microsite/a350/#/aircraft