The ultimate flight: Singapore Airlines’ 19-hour ultra-marathon to New York
The flight will cover 16,700 kilometres
By Grant Bradley
Singapore Airlines has announced details of what will be the world’s longest commercial non-stop flight.
From October it will fly between Singapore and New York using the new Airbus A350-900ULR (ultra-long-range) aircraft. The 16,700km flight will eclipse the current longest flight by Qatar Airways from Auckland to Doha, which covers 14,535km.
The Singapore Airlines flight will be about 18 hours and 45 minutes, with the cabin configuration weighted to premium passengers. The aircraft will be configured in a two-class layout, with 67 business-class seats and 94 premium-economy class seats.
Airbus A350s typically have about 300 seats, meaning those in Singapore’s plane will have more space, for which the airline will be able to charge a premium.
Flights are to be launched on October 11 to Newark Liberty International Airport. The route will initially be served three times a week, departing Singapore on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.
Singapore Airlines is the world’s first customer for the new A350-900ULR, with seven on firm order with Airbus.
Singapore Airlines served the Singapore-Newark route until 2013, when services were suspended after the aircraft used at the time, Airbus A340-500s, were returned to Airbus.
High fuel costs contributed to the demise of the service.
Singapore Airlines’ chief executive Goh Choon Phong said his airline had pushed the boundaries to provide the best possible travel convenience.
“The flights will offer our customers the fastest way to travel between the two cities – in great comfort, together with Singapore Airlines’ legendary service - and will help boost connectivity to and through the Singapore hub.”
The A350-900ULR has just rolled out of Airbus’ Toulouse manufacturing plant and is undergoing flight tests.
Non-stop Singapore-Los Angeles flights are also planned with the A350-900ULR, details of which will be announced at a later date.
Singapore Airlines also currently has 21 A350-900s in its fleet, with 46 more on order including seven of the ULR variant. The first A350-900ULR is due for delivery in September, with all seven due for delivery by the end of the year.
The performance of the ULR will be watched carefully by other airlines such as Air New Zealand which is getting closer to making a decision on aircraft capable of flying extremely long distances from this country to the east coasts of North and South America.