Toulouse - The first Airbus A350-900ULR (Ultra Long Range) was towed out of the final assembly line in Toulouse. With the ability to carry out non-stop 20-hour flights, the aircraft will enter service at Singapore Airlines later this year.

On February 28, Airbus announced that it had completed the final assembly of the first A350-900 ULR. According to the manufacturer, the A350 variant will fly further than any other commercial aircraft with a range of 9.700 NM (17.964 km).

Enough to launch a non-stop route between Singapore and New York for Singapore Airlines. The 8.700 NM (16.112 km) route is expected to be the longest in the world when it is opened.

The first A350 ULR will now be transferred to an outdoor station where it will undergo extensive ground testing prior to the installation of Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.

The aircraft will then begin a short flight test program to certify the changes from the standard A350-900, which allows for extended range. These include a modified fuel system increasing the load capacity by 24,000 liters (52,800 lbs) (+ 17%), without installing additional tanks.

The A350-900ULR's larger winglets and other enhancements, improve the aerodynamic performance of the aircraft, according to the manufacturer.

With a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 280 tonnes, the A350-900ULR is capable of flying for 20 hours. It should offer airline operators an unprecedented opportunity in terms of economy for such distances.

Singapore Airlines has ordered a total of 67 A350-900, including 7 A350-900ULR. The Asian carrier has received 21 A350-900 so far.