Airbus A350-900 is the 10,000th Airbus: New plane delivered to Singapore Airlines
Airbus celebrated the delivery of its 10,000 aircraft on Friday, with Singapore Airlines receiving a new A350-900 at a special ceremony.
The aircraft is the sixth A350 delivered to Singapore Airlines, which has ordered a total of 67 of the cutting-edge new planes.
Emblazoned with a special "10,000th Airbus" logo, the plane will be used to launch the airline's new Singapore to San Francisco direct route later this month.
The long-haul route's flying time will vary between 14 hours and 35 minutes, and an epic 17 hours and 45 minutes, depending on direction and winds.
* Humble Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 set for long-haul journeys
* Airbus A350 XWB vs Boeing 787 Dreamliner: Which new long-haul carrier is best?
* Celebrating 30 years: Win return flights with Singapore Airlines
* Flight test: Singapore to Wellington
That will be the airline's longest route until it receives a new variant of the A350-900, the A350-900ULR (Ultra Long Range), which will allow it to resume direct flights from Singapore to New York.
Once that occurs, Singapore Airlines will regain the title for the world's longest flight route. Emirates currently flies the world's longest route – Dubai to Auckland direct.
The ULR version of the A350 will be able to fly for up to 19 hours non-stop.
Singapore Airlines placed its first order with Airbus in 1979 and became the launch customer for the world's largest passenger aircraft, the A380 super jumbo, in 2005. The first route for that plane was from Singapore to Sydney.
Despite initial success, demand for the A380 has waned in recent years as airlines move on to new aircraft made of lightweight materials that deliver savings on fuel, such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the A350.
The A350 uses a combination of materials, including plastic reinforced by carbon fibre, along with titanium and aluminium alloys. More than 70 per cent of the aircraft is made of lightweight materials.
The first ever Airbus plane, the A300B2, was delivered to Air France in 1974. In the 1980s the company launched the hugely successful A320, its first single-aisle plane.
Airbus is reportedly on track to deliver 650 aircraft this year but has a backlog of 6700 on order – a number it says it will take 10 years to deliver at current production rates.