- Singapore Airlines will start a new route between Singapore and New York that will take the title of the world’s longest flight when it launches in November.
- Flights will utilise New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport instead of Newark Liberty International, adding an extra two nautical miles to the route.
- Singapore Airlines suspended flights to the New York area on March 28 as the pandemic reached its peak and global borders closed.
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Singapore Airlines just announced plans to fly non-stop between Singapore and New York in what will be the world’s longest scheduled flight when it launches next month.
The new route will connect Singapore’s Changi Airport and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, replacing the former world’s longest flight that served Newark Liberty International Airport in nearby New Jersey. Flying to New York instead of New Jersey adds two nautical miles to the route for a total of 8,287 nautical miles, though actual routings can vary much greater than that.
Singapore cited better opportunities to serve passengers and cargo by offering the only non-stop link between the US East Coast and Singapore when announcing the transition to New York’s primary international gateway. Cargo has been a vital revenue stream as passenger traffic continues its unimpressive return to normal.
Newark flights were relaunched in 2018 using modified Airbus A350-900 ULR, or ultra-long-range, aircraft. Only business class and premium economy seats were installed on the aircraft to maximise performance on the 8,285-nautical mile journey.
The same exact aircraft won’t be used for the New York route as standard Airbus A350-900 XWB aircraft will be subbed in, complete with 42 business class seats, 24 premium economy class seats, and 187 economy class seats. New flight numbers have also been assigned.
Journey times in both directions are scheduled at over 18 hours, with the New York to Singapore flight clocking in at 18 hours and 40 minutes. The outbound to New York departs Singapore at 2:25 a.m. and arrives at 7:30 a.m. for a duration of 18 hours and five minutes while the return departs New York at 10:30 p.m. and arrives back in Singapore at 6:10 a.m., two days later.
The Singapore-New York route was formerly served with an Airbus A380 aircraft, the airline’s former flagship, that made a stop in Frankfurt, Germany in both directions. Launching the original non-stop Singapore-Newark route in 2004 saved travellers a few hours if they could stomach being on a place for nearly an entire day.
The challenge to survive the flight is even greater now. As face coverings are required in both airports and on all Singapore Airlines flights, that could mean wearing a mask for nearly an entire day with breaks only to dine and imbibe on the mammoth flight.
US citizens can enter Singapore if they submit to a 14-day quarantine at their expense. The island nation saw an early outbreak of COVID-19 that warranted the closure of its borders but air bridges are now being opened with the most recent announcement of one with Hong Kong.
Singapore is preparing to enter the third phase of its reopening that seeks to expand travel opportunities to low-risk countries, which the US would not likely fall under. Visitors from high-risk countries would still be required to quarantine but the country is examining different approaches, including more frequent testing, as an alternative to the lengthy and costly homestays.
The new route will operate three-times-weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays from Singapore starting November 9, and on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from New York starting November 11.
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