Singapore Airlines to reclaim crown for world’s longest flight

30 May 2018 by Tamsin Cocks
SIA A350-900ULR

Singapore Airlines (SIA) will relaunch the world’s longest commercial flight on October 11, 2018, with a non-stop service to New York’s Newark Liberty International Airport.

The mammoth journey will cover a distance of roughly 16,700km (9,000 nautical miles) and take up to 18 hours and 45 minutes, vastly surpassing Qatar Airways’ 17-and-a-half-hour service (14,535km) from Doha to Auckland – the current title holder.

The flights will be operated by the new Airbus A350-900ULR (ultra-long range), of which Singapore is the launch customer, with the first aircraft due to be delivered in September.

Mercifully, perhaps, SIA’s first A350-900ULR will not feature an economy class cabin, with the aircraft configured in a two-class layout comprising 67 business class seats and 94 premium economy class seats.

SIA A350-900ULR Premium Economy

With just 161 seats in total, SIA says the new A350-900ULR will offer customers “a more comfortable travelling experience”.

Aircraft features will include: higher ceilings, larger windows, an extra wide body and lighting designed to reduce jetlag. Its carbon composite airframe will also allow for improved air quality due to better cabin altitude and humidity levels.

The premium cabin configuration is reminiscent of when SIA first served the Singapore – New York route, with 64 Raffles Business Class seats and 117 Executive Economy Class seats. This service was dropped in 2013 after the gas-guzzling A340-500s operating at the time proved economically unviable.

SIA A350-900ULR business class

The route will initially operate three times a week, departing Singapore on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Daily operations will commence from 18 October after an additional A350-900ULR aircraft enters service.

Flight details are as follows:

Northern Summer (to 27 October 2018)
Flight Number Days of Operation Time of Departure Time of Arrival
SQ22 Daily 2335 0600 (+1)
SQ21 Daily 1045 1730 (+1)
Northern Winter (28 October 2018 to 30 March 2019)
SQ22 Daily 0040 0530
SQ21 Daily 0945 1715 (+1)

Tickets will be made available for sale progressively across the various booking channels, starting from tomorrow.

“Singapore Airlines has always taken pride in pushing the boundaries to provide the best possible travel convenience for our customers, and we are pleased to be leading the way with these new non-stop flights using the latest-technology, ultra-long range Airbus A350-900ULR,” said Singapore Airlines’ CEO, Goh Choon Phong.

“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.”

Singapore Airlines currently serves New York JFK daily via Frankfurt. Other US destinations include Houston (five times weekly via Manchester), Los Angeles (daily via Seoul and daily via Tokyo), and San Francisco (daily non-stop from Singapore as well as daily via Hong Kong).

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 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.

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