6 JANUARY 2014
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Generally accepted as the world’s longest non-stop air route, Singapore Airlines has withdrawn its Singapore – New York Newark service marking the end of the carrier’s ultra long haul operation, as well as its All-Business Class Premium service.
The Star Alliance member introduced Airbus A340-500 in 2004 year with a 181-seater two-class configuration (64 Raffles Class and 117 Executive Economy), and changed to mono-class All-Business Class operation (100 seats) from December 2009. Flight time could be up to 19 hours.
The problem with very long flights concerns two areas. From a technical point of view the Airbus A340 is now proving to be uneconomical (and is out of production), the Boeing 777 twin and, to a lesser extent, 747 more suitable. Assuming passengers can live with being in a well attended confined environment for a lengthy period, there are problems with crewing, both at the front end and with cabin services. Up to 40 staff are required. Another consideration is the galley and rest rooms tidiness.
Three routes, all at just over 16 hours, now share the distinction of being the longest in terms of duration: Dubai – Houston, Dubai – Los Angeles and Johannesburg – Atlanta. Technically possible London – Sydney non-stop at around 20 hours (10,500 miles) is still some way off. www.singaporeair.com
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