Airbus has tipped Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways as likely buyers of its A350-900 ultra-long range jet, which can fly for up to 19 hours at a stretch.
The long-legged A350-900ULR would unlock a raft of new non-stop routes for the three Gulf powerhouse airlines, although those flights would carry around far fewer passengers as a conventional jet to help reduce weight and boost range.
Singapore Airlines has already ordered seven of the 900ULR jetliners, the first of which will be used to restart non-stop flights from Singapore to Los Angeles and New York in 2018.
But whereas SQ's standard A350-900 aircraft will carry just over 250 passengers, the 900ULR version will be fitted with around 170 seats – and the mix is expected to lean towards the premium cabins of first and business class rather than predominately economy class.
Emirates, Etihad and Qatar could well join the Singaporean flag-carrier, reports Gulf News.
"There will be a lot of appetite for that aircraft," Airbus Chief Operating Officer John Leahy remarked to the media during this week's Dubai Airshow, adding that "right now, we’re talking to several customers."
New jets like the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787-9 are allowing airlines to redraw their network map to launch new time-saving routes without a halfway stop-over to refuel.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has already called out “long-range routes that we don’t fly today” as a prime example of flights made possible with the airline's forthcoming fleet of Boeing 787s.
Joyce sees plenty of appeal in mapping the Boeing 787 onto “routes that we want to fly over a hub and go directly into other destinations without having to fly through LA", as well as direct flights from Australia's west coast into Europe and possibly London.
Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT