The world's longest flight—a mere 18-hour, 9,000-mile jaunt—is back. Starting on Nov. 9, Singapore Airlines will launch thrice-weekly nonstop service between New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and Singapore's Changi Airport. The flight, which was previously flown out of Newark from 2004 through late 2013, then 2018 through March 2020, will once again be the longest continuous flight in the world.
While the ongoing pandemic will continue to lower the demand for passenger travel, the airline is looking forward to meeting cargo needs in order to increase interest in the route. “Operating to JFK International Airport would allow Singapore Airlines to better accommodate a mix of passenger and cargo traffic on its services to New York in the current operating climate,” the airline said in a statement. The airline is hoping the need for shipping of technology, pharmaceuticals, and e-commerce tools will be in high enough demand to support the lack of passengers. The airline expects to operate only 15 percent of its normal capacity by the end of 2020. At present, almost none of the carrier’s operating routes fly daily.
“Non-stop ultra-long services are the bedrock of our services to the key U.S. market. We will continue to ramp up existing services and reinstate other points as the demand for both passenger and cargo services return," said Lee Lik Hsin, Singapore Airlines' executive vice-president for commercial services. Cargo shipping isn’t the only factor in reintroducing the route, however. The airline points to the “growing number of transfer passengers who can now transit via Singapore’s Changi Airport” in the decision.
The airline will operate Airbus's A350-900 long-range aircraft on the route. The aircraft is configured with 42 business class, 24 premium economy, and 187 economy seats. Using this aircraft will allow SIA to offer economy class fares on the route, whereas the ULR model only has premium economy and business class cabins available.
New York joins Los Angeles as a North America destination for the carrier—that route also operates on a thrice-weekly basis flying on the A350-900.