While Singapore Airlines celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, its fleet of 110 aircraft – with an average age of seven years and seven months as of October 2017 – is one of the youngest in the world. By keeping its workhorses young and modern, the Airline not only ensures safety and comfort for its passengers, but also complies with strict environmental standards.
This diligence in deploying the latest aircraft models is a virtue embraced by Singapore Airlines almost right off the bat; within months of its incorporation in 1972, it became the first airline in South-east Asia to order jumbo jets – none other than the Boeing 747-200 (below), aka the Queen of the Skies.
In 1983, the Airline took delivery of its first Boeing 747-300, nicknamed Big Top, and in 1989, it received its first Boeing 747-400, dubbed Megatop 747 by the Airline. Interesting nugget: Singapore Airlines was the first airline to operate a commercial flight across the Pacific Ocean with the latter aircraft. Eventually, in 1994, the Airline deployed the world’s biggest Boeing 747-400 fleet when it took delivery of its 23rd aircraft.
Other Boeing aircraft have also served their time well in Singapore Airlines, which made the world’s largest order (in dollar terms) of commercial aircraft in 1995. Subsequently, in 1998, the Airline was among the first airlines to fly the Boeing 777-300.
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Singapore Airlines made history yet again in 2004, when it launched the world’s longest non-stop flight – nearly 19 hours – from Singapore to New York, on the Airbus A340-500. Then, in 2007, it became the first airline to fly the Airbus A380-800, the world’s biggest commercial aircraft, from Singapore to Sydney. Nicknamed the Superjumbo, the aircraft operates with Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines.
This trend of being among the pioneering airlines to fly the latest modern aircraft looks set to continue, with the Airline slated to be the launch customer for the Boeing 787-10 (above), the largest, longest variant of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Using planes with the latest design and technology has also allowed the Airline to resume direct flights to America, starting with the non-stop Singapore-San Francisco route on the Airbus A350-900XWB in October 2016; this Airbus A350- 900XWB flies more quietly and is more fuel efficient than the rest of the aircraft in its existing fleet. Deliveries of the Airbus A350-900ULR aircraft are scheduled to take place in 2018, enabling the relaunch of the world’s longest non-stop flights, between Singapore and both Los Angeles and New York.
– TEXT BY THERESE TAY
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.