15 OCTOBER 2018
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All eyes were on Singapore Airlines last week as the airline resurrected the world’s longest non-stop commercial flight, with an Airbus A350-900 ULR (Ultra Long Range) service between Singapore and New York Newark.
The flights are scheduled for about 18hr 50min outbound and 18hr 30min inbound, with the route replacing Doha – Auckland, currently operated by Qatar Airways, as the world’s longest.
SIA’s inaugural flight, SQ22, departed Singapore on-time just before midnight on Thursday (16:35 London time) for the 9,500-mile journey, arriving on time just before 06:00 (11:00 London) at Newark on Friday. The return SQ21 arrived back in Singapore early on Saturday.
SIA previously operated the route from 2004 – 2013 with a four-engine Airbus A340-500 but stopped when rising oil prices made it uneconomic. The two-engine A350-900 ULR, designed for SIA and delivered only on 22 September, makes it feasible again.
Like the A340s, the aircraft has a two-class layout but with only 161 seats – 67 in Business Class and 94 Premium Economy. Economy Class on the original services was phased out as SIA considered the flight too long for cabin standards.
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