Singapore Airlines Airbus A350 arrives at Melbourne Airport for first time

Singapore Airlines' next-generation Airbus A350 has touched down in Australia for the first time.

Flight SQ207 touched down at Melbourne Airport on Wednesday evening after flying in from the Asian city-state.

The new A350-900 is Airbus' rival to the Boeing Dreamliner. Like its rival, the A350 is also a lightweight aircraft, but with some key differences.

Unlike the Dreamliner, which has a body is composed primarily of carbon fibre, 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, helping airlines save on fuel.

Singapore Airlines' A350 features three classes - 42 business class seats, 24 premium economy and 187 economy. The seat layout is 1-2-1 in business class, 2-4-2 in premium and 3-3-3 in economy. The airline currently has five A350s in its fleet and 62 on order.

Singapore is the second carrier to bring the A350 to Australia, after Qatar Airways began daily flights from Qatar to Adelaide in May.

Passengers looking to experience the A350 on the Melbourne-Singapore route will need to be quick - the new aircraft is only flying to Melbourne on a temporary basis. The A350 will fly between Melbourne and Singapore daily until October 22, before being redeployed on non-stop flights between Singapore and San Francisco from October 23.

The A350-900 has a range of 8100 nautical miles (15,000km), but seven of Singapore Airlines' future A350s will be the ULR (ultra long range) variant, which Airbus says will be able to complete epic 19-hour long-haul journeys. The aircraft manufacturer says its A350 uses 25 per cent less fuel than Boeing's longest-range plane, the 777.

Singapore has previously flagged that when it receives the ULR aircraft it will restart the world's longest commercial route, non-stop flights from Singapore to New York City. Emirates currently flies the world's longest route, from Dubai to Auckland non-stop.

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