SIA to consider A350-1000 for future aircraft needs

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Singapore Airlines has no plans to convert any of its orders for the Airbus A350-900 to the larger -1000 variant.

Instead, the larger aircraft is likely to be assessed in the next phase of the airline's fleet plans, says SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong after a briefing for analysts.

"We need all of the A350-900s," he adds. "We have no intention to switch any of them as we need them in their configuration."

The Star Alliance member will consider the A350-1000 and the successor to the Boeing 777-300ER, also known as the 777-X, for the next phase of its growth. "We will look at both in the future," adds Goh.

SIA has ordered 40 A350s in two batches. Deliveries of the first batch of 20 are scheduled to begin in 2015 and the next 20 from 2017. SIA has also ordered eight 777-300ERs and another 14 Airbus A330s that will arrive from 2013.

The airline had also ordered 20 Boeing 787-8s, but these have been transferred to its long-haul low-cost unit Scoot, which will receive them from 2014. These aircraft are a better fit for Scoot, which now operates ex-SIA 777-200s, says Goh.

"The 787s, in terms of the capacity and configuration that Scoot has in mind, appear to be more suitable for them," says Goh. "The A350 has greater capacity and it is more suitable for the premium market."

The airline could also consider options for new aircraft for its SIA Cargo subsidiary if the "economics" add up. SIA Cargo has a fleet of 13 Boeing 747-400 freighters and said last week that it will park one of those because of weak market sentiment.

"We are fairly open to any offer on the replacement of the 747 fleet," says SIA Cargo chairman Ng Chin Hwee. However, he reiterates that the airline has not issued a request for proposals for new aircraft.