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A350-900ULR will have inactive forward freight hold

Airbus's ultra-long range A350-900ULR will feature a de-activated forward cargo compartment, the airframer confirms in the variant's formal technical documentation.

It lists the aircraft – which has a 280t maximum take-off weight – as one of 17 weight variants, designated WV013, of the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-powered twinjet.

Airbus gives the typical configuration of the -900ULR as 173 seats in two classes, comprising 80 in business class – stretching the business-class cabin back to the third set of exits – plus 93 in eight-abreast economy.

This amounts to a 45% reduction from the standard 315-seat two-class layout for the basic -900.

But it also confirms that the forward cargo hold on the -900ULR is "de-activated", adding: "No [forward] cargo operation is possible."

The forward hold would normally have a capacity of 86.7m³ (3,062ft³).

Airbus A350 marketing director François Obé says: "From the first ULR delivery to Singapore Airlines, all A350-900s will be eligible to be purchased in the ULR [specification] or with a maximum take-off weight of 280t.

"The A350-900ULR can be ‘reversed’ into a standard -900 if the airline decides. From an airframe perspective it is ‘paperwork’ and you need to re-activate the forward cargo hold…and install the cargo-loading system."

Singapore Airlines is due to put the variant into operation on a nonstop service to Newark later this year.

While the airline is still finalising plans for the service, the airline's chief executive had recently mentioned possible cargo payload restrictions, particularly during winter months.

Airbus lists the -900ULR as having a maximum zero-fuel weight of 192t and a maximum landing weight of 205t. Its winglet tips stand 50cm taller than the -900's, at 9.95m from the ground.

Its usable fuel capacity amounts to 165,000 litres, nearly 20% more than the -900, and this contributes to extending the full-servicing turnaround time for the -900ULR to 83min, compared with 61min for the -900.

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