(Los Angeles) A Singapore Airlines four-engine A340-500 has successfully operated the longest non-stop commercial air service in the world, with its first flight between Singapore and Los Angeles. The A340-500 departed at 16.00 Singapore local time and completed the 14,093 km / 7,609 nm sector to Los Angeles in 14 hours 42 minutes. This new daily service operates non-stop in both directions on a sector that is over 1000km / 540 nm longer than the previous record distance for a non-stop round trip commercial service between Hong Kong and Newark. Singapore Airlines is planning to inaugurate an even longer route between Singapore and New York in mid 2004.

Designated “A345LeaderShip” by Singapore Airlines, the aircraft seats 64 in an enhanced Raffles Business Class and 117 in all new Executive Economy Class. The cabins for both classes feature special areas and amenities for passengers to socialise and relax on ultra long haul services up to 18 and a half hours in duration.

With four Rolls-Royce Trent 500 engines for the best economy and reliability on ultra long haul flights, the A340-500 enjoys unmatched operational flexibility on non-stop flights over remote areas – such as oceans, mountain ranges and polar regions.

“We celebrate the making of commercial aviation history with this flight. Not only does the flight open up unprecedented travel options for our customers, it also breaks new ground in in-flight comfort. We shall continue our relentless pursuit of raising the standard of our offerings to our customers,” said Mr Huang Cheng Eng, Executive Vice President Marketing and the Regions, Singapore Airlines.

“A pioneering spirit has been at the heart of Airbus since it was established and in the same way Singapore Airlines has long been renowned as a pioneer in commercial air transport. Today’s record breaking flight between Singapore and Los Angeles with the pioneering A340-500 serves to strengthen that proud credential.” says Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer Noel Forgeard.

The Airbus A330/A340 family is the market leader in its class, with 89 orders in 2003 bringing the total to over 800 from more than 60 customers worldwide. It is the aircraft family that passengers prefer to travel on for long haul flights, consistently emerging at the top in independent passenger surveys.

Singapore Airlines placed its original A340-500 order for five firm and five option aircraft in1999. The airline is also a launch customer for the A380 Super Jumbo with 10 firm orders and 15 options. Singapore Airlines will be the first airline to put the A380 into service in spring 2006.

A leading aircraft manufacturer with the most modern and comprehensive product line on the market, Airbus is a global company with design and manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, the UK, and Spain as well as subsidiaries in the U.S., China and Japan. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is a joint EADS Company with BAE Systems.