Singapore Airlines used to fly the world’s longest flight, Newark – Singapore, along with what at the time was the second longest flight Los Angeles – Singapore. They held the title from June 2004 through November 2013, operating these services with
flying gas cans Airbus A340-500s.
It’s hard to make ultra long haul flying work. A flight scheduled at over 18 hours is going to require a dedicated aircraft in each direction, and fares are going to have to cover that plane’s full costs. With fuel prices up that’s even more difficult since they burned over 58,000 gallons of fuel in each direction. The flight used 14 cabin crew and six pilots to make the journey.
Singapore initially offered 64 business class and 117 extra legroom coach seats but moved to an all business class configuration with 100 seats in 2008. There were weight restrictions on the number of passengers they could carry, and drawing premium fares was necessary for the economics of the flight. They cancelled the service in 2013 and returned the planes as part of a deal where they agreed to take 5 additional A380s and 20 A350 XWBs.
Finally Singapore is going to return to New York with new Airbus A350ULR aircraft, the ULR stands for Ultra Long Range. The new flight starts October 12, three times a week for the first week (departing Newark Tuesday, Friday and Sunday).
It goes daily October 19 when the airline’s second A350-900ULR is expected to enter service. That’s because the flight takes two planes to operate every day — nearly a full day in each direction. Tickets go on sale today.
Here’s the schedule:
This will again be the longest flight in the world. Next year they’re going to add Los Angeles – Singapore non-stop with the same aircraft, which will be the fourth longest flight in the world and which United already operates.
Singapore competes with United as well on San Francisco – Singapore non-stop, a flight they’re able to run with existing A350s (no ULR needed) since it’s about 300 miles shorter than Los Angeles.
Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-900 in Houston
Singapore has 7 A350-900ULRs coming, each with 67 business and 94 premium economy seats – no coach. They’ll be able to serve another destination with the aircraft, and given the special long distance feature of the aircraft we’d expect it to service North America since they already are able to fly to farther destinations in Europe non-stop. The most likely destinations seem to be Chicago, Toronto, or Vancouver.