Singapore Airlines A350-900ULR creates premium economy glut

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Singapore Airlines (SIA) is slated to receive within the next few days its seventh and final A350-900ULR, completing a dramatic expansion phase which has enabled the airline to expand its presence in the US market significantly and rapidly. All seven aircraft, which are in a low density configuration with 94 premium economy and 67 business class seats, have been delivered in a period of less than three months.

SIA has used the new A350-900ULR fleet to launch 20 nonstop weekly flights to the US, generating 1,880 weekly one-way premium economy seats and 1,340 weekly one-way business class seats. The premium economy capacity is remarkable, given that premium economy is usually a niche product with 20 to 40 seats per aircraft.

Singapore Airlines has offered extremely low premium economy fares between Southeast Asia and the US since opening sales of the 20 flights several months ago.

The fares are significantly less than SIA's lowest premium economy fares in shorter long haul, and even medium haul, markets. In many cases SIA is offering cheaper premium economy fares than regular economy fares on the same routes for the same dates of travel - an unsustainable scenario that could lead to adjustments in SIA's A350-900ULR operation as early as next year.

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