Singapore Airlines to deploy A380 on Singapore-LA route

Ground crew are seen near the engine of a Singapore Airlines' Airbus A380 superjumbo at Singapore's Changi airport November 11, 2010. REUTERS/Tim Chong (SINGAPORE - Tags: TRANSPORT BUSINESS)

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore Airlines SIAL.SI, the world's second-largest carrier by market value, said on Monday it will deploy the Airbus A380 superjumbo on the Singapore-Los Angeles route beginning next year despite a controversy over the plane's engines.

Recent problems involving the Rolls-Royce RR.L engines on the biggest passenger carrier in the world have forced Australian carrier Qantas QAN.AX to ground some of its A380 aircraft, preventing it serving the Sydney-Los Angeles route for the time being.

Both SIA, which currently operates 11 A380s and has another 9 on order, and Qantas are using Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines on their A380 aircraft. SIA currently does not use the A380 on the Singapore-Los Angeles route.

"This is a significant and smart move by the carrier SIA.L, which will likely capitalize on the busy trans-Pacific route with its 471-seater A380," said Shukor Yusof, analyst at Standard & Poor's.

SIA said its A380 has been designed to seat 471 passengers in a three-class configuration, compared to 375 on its Boeing 747-400.

“This means that while there will be capacity growth, it will be incremental and sustainable for the airline,” SIA said in a statement, adding that the route would start after the carrier receives its 12th A380 next year.

Last month, a Qantas A380 flight between Singapore and Sydney suffered a mid-air engine failure, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing in the city-state.

The Australian carrier is claiming damages from Rolls-Royce over the engines on its A380s and loss of business as investigators concluded a design fault was the likely cause of the November 4 incident.

Reporting by Harry Suhartono; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman