Singapore Airlines is almost all set to reclaim their slot as the operator for the world’s longest flight, with some assistance from Airbus.
For those who remember, SQ used to operate non-stop flights between Singapore and Newark between 2004 to 2013, which was the world’s longest flight, on an A340-500 aircraft in an all premium configuration. As the A340 is a gas guzzler, and over the years oil prices hit 100$ an upwards, SQ decided to withdraw the flight due to the lack of a better option.
However, that will change this year. Airbus is currently developing the new A350-900 Ultra Long-Range jet, which has already undergone its first test flight in Toulouse late last week. SQ is going to be the first airline to receive the plane, with 7 of them on order.
With this plane, they intend to re-launch the Singapore – New York flights within 2018, which at 9,521 miles will take 19 hours to fly, making it the longest flight in the world by a long shot. The new A350-900 ULR can fly up to 11,160 miles, which is about 1,800 more than a standard A350. Subsequently, the airline also plans to fly nonstop to Los Angeles, a 15-hour flight, beginning in 2019.
Moreover, Singapore Airlines does not plan to put an economy class on this plane again, just like they did not have on the A340s. Singapore Airlines plans to operate the flight with a two-class configuration: business and premium economy. Singapore Airlines’s A350-900ULRs will feature just 162 seats, including 68 business class seats and 94 premium economy seats.
The Singapore flight will be about one hour longer than the current longest flight, Qatar Airways from Auckland to Doha, which flies 9,032-miles over 18 hours. A close second is the recently launched Qantas flight from Perth to London, launched in March 2018, that takes a bit more than 17 hours.
I flew the earlier routes back in the day, and I am sure as hell signing up for the new flights. The A340s left me drained at the end of the journey, so I am hoping that the A350s will not, given their superior passenger experience and cabin pressure they have developed over the years.
Anyone else fancy 19 hours in a metal tube?