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​SIA expects payload restrictions on some A350-900ULR flights

Singapore Airlines (SIA) could face some cargo payload restrictions on its A350-900ULR flights to the USA, especially during the northern winter.

“There could be some payload concerns, but on the cargo side particularly,” says SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong.

The restrictions would likely apply to westbound flights to Singapore during the winter months. “When we get the aircraft we do have modelling rules, but this depends on actual weather.”

Goh was speaking to reporters after a press briefing at the IATA annual general meeting in Sydney.

He adds that carrier has substantial data based on its previous nonstop services to New York and Los Angeles that used A340-500s.

The first A350-900ULR is now undergoing flight testing. SIA will again operate the world's longest commercial flights from 11 October, with the start of its near-19 hour nonstop Singapore-Newark service.

The -900ULRs will have 161 seats, 67 in business and 94 in premium economy. The Star Alliance carrier will initially fly thrice-weekly on the route, before growing to daily frequency on 18 October. The first aircraft will arrive in September, with the remaining six to be delivered before the end of SIA’s financial year, which ends on 31 March 2019.

SIA has yet to announce the date for the Singapore-Los Angeles launch.

Goh declined to state the third destination for the long-haul, premium-heavy aircraft.

“I'm looking at where else to fly…seven aircraft is probably more than what's needed for the New York and LA routes. There are ways we can structure our US operations and we will announce them.”

While he declined to discuss specifics about how the advent of more non-stop USA flights will affect the carrier’s Americas network, he hinted that it could have an impact on SIA’s Singapore-San Francisco service, which is operated with the carrier’s baseline A350-900s. These have 253 seats: 42 in business class, 24 in premium economy, and 187 in economy.

“The A350-900 seems to be doing well,” said Goh. “We will probably keep part of that operation on. Whether or not we will add more is something that will be under review.”

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