Singapore Airlines: New 18-hour, 45-minute NYC flight to be world's longest

Mony
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It’s official: The title for the “world’s longest flight” is coming back to the United States.

That comes this fall, when Singapore Airlines restarts non-stop flights between Singapore and Newark, a route it last flew in 2013. The move had been expected, with Singapore Airlines saying in 2015 it would resume the service once it takes delivery of new long-range aircraft. Tickets for the flight to Newark, one of the three major airports serving the New York City metro, are expected to go on sale by Thursday.  

Once the flights begin on Oct. 12, Singapore’s Singapore-Newark route will displace Qatar Airways’ Doha, Qatar-Auckland, New Zealand, route as the longest in the world as measured by distance.

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Singapore says its Newark route “will cover a distance of approximately 9,000 nautical miles.” In statute miles, the route will cover 9,537 miles, according to the Great Circle Mapper website. Qatar’s Doha-Auckland route comes in at 9,032.

Singapore Airlines’ non-stop option will shave four hours or more off existing connecting options between Singapore and the New York City area, the airline says. Still, those taking its new flight will face a literal long haul. Scheduled flight time is 18 hours, 45 minutes on the Singapore-bound leg and 18 hours, 25 minutes on the return.

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Singapore Airlines previously flew between Newark and Singapore, but discontinued the route in 2013 when it said it could no longer profitably serve the route with its four-engine Airbus A340 aircraft. The company has since phased those out of its fleet.

Now, Singapore will count on a brand new Airbus variant to make the route work. The carrier will fly the route with a new “ULR” (ultra-long range) version of Airbus’ A350 widebody jet. The variant was designed specifically with Singapore Airlines in mind, and the airline will be the launch customer for the A350-900ULR.

“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, the ultra-long-range Airbus A350-900ULR,” Singapore Airlines’ CEO Goh Choon Phong said in a statement.

“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.”

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Singapore’s new A350ULRs will be configured with just 161 seats in a two-class layout. Of those, 67 will be Singapore’s highly regarded business class seats and 94 will be international-style premium economy seats. There will not be any standard coach seats on the aircraft.

Initially, Singapore Airlines will fly the route three times a week, with departures from Newark each Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. A week after its Oct. 12 launch, Singapore expects to move to daily service on the route “after an additional A350-900ULR aircraft enters service.”

Singapore Airlines currently has 21 A350-900s in its fleet, with 46 more on order. Of those, seven will be the new ULR variant. The first A350-900ULR is due for delivery in September, with all seven expected to be in Singapore’s fleet by the end of the year, according to the carrier. 

Newark will become the fifth U.S. airport served by Singapore Airlines. The carrier currently flies from Los Angeles (non stop to Seoul and Tokyo), New York JFK (non stop to Frankfurt), Houston Bush Intercontinental (non stop to Manchester, England) and San Francisco (non stop to Singapore and Hong Kong).  

Singapore also plans to deploy its A350-900ULRs from Los Angeles for non-stop Singapore flights, but says those details will be announced at a later date.

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