This will be a flight that no crew member wants to ever see on their roster… Singapore Airlines is one step closer to launching the world’s longest flight from Singapore to Newark, New York. The flight comes in at around 16,700km and will take approximately 18 hours and 45 minutes.
The airline plans to launch the route on 11th October 2018 with its new state of the art Airbus A350-900 Ultra Long Range aircraft. Singapore Airlines took delivery of its first A350ULR in the last few days and has a total of seven on order with French aerospace giant Airbus.
The aircraft will be configured with just two cabins – a Business Class cabin with 67 fully lie-flat seats and a Premium Economy cabin with 94 recliner style seats. Initially, the route will run just three times per week, although it’s set to increase to a daily service from 18th October.
The next six aircraft on order will then be used for Singapore Airlines’ existing services to Los Angeles and San Francisco. The new route to Newark will increase the airline’s presence in the United States to 27 weekly non-stop flights.
This isn’t the first time Singapore Airlines has operated this mammoth route – in 2004, the airline operated the service using a specially adapted Airbus A340-500 but was forced to suspend the route in 2013 owing to a surge in oil prices. The airline has said that fuel savings from the A350 will amount to double-digit percentages.
“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,” explains the airline’s chairman, Goh Choon Phong.
Airbus says the A350 offers jetlag reducing mood lighting, improved humidity levels and a lower cabin altitude. The plane also has larger windows, an extra wide cabin and larger ceilings which should go some way to making the experience that little bit better.
The launch of Singapore’s record-busting flight comes during a time when a number of other airlines have either launched or plan to launch new ultra-long routes. Several years ago, Qatar Airways launched a 9,032-mile flight from its home in Doha to Auckland, New Zealand which takes around 18 hours and 15 minutes.
To much fanfare, Australian flag carrier Qantas launched the first ever non-stop flight between Australia and Europe earlier this year with its 9,010-mile flight from Perth to London Heathrow. The flight is blocked at 17 hours and 20 minutes although strong tailwinds have helped shave vital minutes off the flight time.
The airline has also challenged rival aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus to develop an aircraft that would be capable of flying non-stop between Sydney and Europe.
But would you travel on any of these epic tear inducing flights? Well, despite the obvious downsides, airlines such as Qantas say their load factors have been performing well – clearly, there’s a market for getting from one side of the world as quickly as possible, even if that does mean sitting in a cramped airline seat for the best part of a day.