Singapore Airlines to launch world's longest commercial flight in October


"The nonstop flight length is at least about two to three hours shorter than the one stopper, maybe even four hours", in terms of door-to-door travel time for most customers", Singapore Airlines Executive Vice President Mak Swee Wah told The New York Times.

Singapore Airlines is the launch customer for the plane, with seven on order from Airbus.

Singapore Airlines will use the long-range Airbus A350-900ULR (ultra-long-range) for the flights, which will be able to carry 161 passengers, but won't be available to economy travellers.

Singapore Airlines Ltd (SIAL.SI) said it would launch the world's longest commercial flight in October, a near-19 hour non-stop journey from Singapore to the NY area.

Airlines including Singapore Airlines, Australia's Qantas Airways Ltd (QAN.AX) and US -based United Continental Holdings Inc (UAL.N) are adding ultra-long haul flights that can capture an airfare premium of around 20 percent versus flights involving one or more stops.

Its addition to the global skymap will eclipse the route between Doha and New Zealand's biggest city Auckland, flown by Qatar Airways. ULR stands for "ultralong range". Singapore will deploy its new fleet of next-generation, carbon-composite Airbus A350-900ULR airliners for the flight.

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The new nonstop service is expected to commence on October 11 and will operate daily between Singapore's Changi International Airport and Newark Liberty International in New Jersey.

They will be configured with 94 premium economy seats and 67 business class seats.

It also serves New York's JFK airport, and Houston in Texas - although both these connections now involve a pause, in Frankfurt and Manchester respectively. There are no first-class suites or economy class seats on board.

The airline previously operated the route using all-business-class Airbus A340-500 airliners before suspending the service in 2013.

Singapore believes the new generation of ultra-fuel-efficient twin-engine wide-bodies like the A350-900ULR will make the route profitable.

The airline also has plans to launch a non-stop Singapore-Los Angeles service using the A350-900ULR.