Singapore Airlines will resume direct flights to New York and Los Angeles from the end of this year, with another North American destination tipped to appear on the non-stop map in early 2019.
The airline is the global customer for an ultra-long range version of the Airbus A350-900, with an order for seven jets which will carry more fuel and fewer passengers than the standard A350s it already flies.
The A350-900ULR is expected to have just 162 seats across two classes – 68 in business class and 94 in premium economy – which is approximately 80 less than its standard-issue A350-900s.
In effect, this will be updated version of its old Airbus A340 Singapore-New York service which once sported 64 business class and 117 ‘executive economy’ seats, before the airline switched in 2008 to an all-business class configuration of 100 seats.
The move will also mean that Singapore Airlines will be flying three versions of the Airbus A350: its original 'standard' three-class edition, the two-class ultra long-range version, and a regional A350 variant fitted with all-new regional business class seat and economy, but without premium economy.
Speaking with Australian Business Traveller on the sidelines of the delivery flight of the first Boeing 787-10, Singapore Airlines CEO Mr Goh Choon Phong dismissed speculation that the airline would abandon plans for non-stop flights to Los Angeles following United Airlines' launch of the same route on a Boeing 787-9.
"We think LA is a good market and our customer continue to tell us that they would like us to have direct flight to Los Angeles, just like they have been telling us they would love to have New York direct as well, so we will continue to do that."
"It is part of competition, we are not afraid of it, so we will continue with the LA plan."
Singapore Airlines currently flies to New York via Frankfurt and to Los Angeles via Tokyo and Seoul.
Goh also tipped that a third non-stop North American destination was on the cards.
"Potentially there will be one more destination we can consider, we do have a plan but we will announce it when we can announce it."
Singapore Airlines has previously said that it sees the appeal of the direct flights to be a less about speed and more about skipping the stop-over so that passengers can enjoy an unbroken stretch of flying time.
David Flynn travelled on the delivery flight of the Boeing 787-10 as a guest of Singapore Airlines