Wed, May 30, 2018 – 12:01 PM

SINGAPORE Airlines (SIA) will launch the world’s longest commercial flight on Oct 11, as it recommences non-stop services between Singapore and New York using the ultra long range (ULR) version of the Airbus A350-900.

The service to Newark Liberty International Airport will be operated three times a week, departing Singapore on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Daily operations will begin from Oct 18 after an additional A350-900ULR aircraft enters service.

SIA, which is the launch customer for the A350-900ULR, has seven of the planes on order. It will take delivery of its first one in September and receive all by the end of the year.

The aircraft will be configured in a two-class layout, with 67 Business Class seats and 94 Premium Economy Class seats. Tickets will be made available for sale progressively across booking channels, starting from Thursday.

Flights will cover a distance of about 16,700 kilometres, and travelling time will be up to 18 hours 45 minutes.

SIA previously pulled the plug on its non-stop services to Newark in 2013, amid weak corporate demand and high fuel prices. At the time, it used the four-engine A340-500 aircraft to serve the route.

SIA chief Goh Choon Phong said: “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.” SIA will continue to operate its existing one-stop service to New York via Frankfurt.

SIA has 21 A350-900s in its fleet with 46 more on order, including the ULR variants.

It will also restart non-stop services to Los Angeles with the A350-900 ULR.

Four airlines currently connect Singapore to six US cities – Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and New York City. With the new non-stop services, there will be 72 weekly passenger services between Changi Airport and the United States.

Lim Ching Kiat, Changi Airport Group’s (CAG) managing director, (air hub development), said: “With the advent of ultra long range aircraft, non-stop long-haul routes are now more efficient and viable. The new SIA New York service is South-east Asia’s only non-stop connection to the North American east coast, and I’m confident it will be well-received by Changi Airport’s passengers, especially time-pressed business travellers.”

He added: “Over the past two years, non-stop services from Changi Airport to Los Angeles and San Francisco were launched, as well as a new service to Honolulu (via Osaka). With strong traffic growth between the North America and South-east Asia regions, there are growth opportunities to be tapped.”

Point-to-point traffic between the US and South-east Asia has registered steady growth over the years, CAG noted. More than 6.8 million passengers travelled between the two regions in 2017, a 10 per cent year-on-year increase. Last year, 692,800 passengers (or 30 per cent more) flew on direct flights between Singapore and the United States.

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