Singapore Airlines has announced its long-awaited return to the nonstop New York-Singapore market, a route which it discontinued in November 2013 after it sold back the Airbus A340-500 aircraft that was used to operate the flight. It will now be flown on an Airbus A350-900 ULR, which will offer 67 Business Class seats and 94 Premium Economy Class seats.
The route will initially be flown three times weekly starting October 27, 2018, nearly five years after it was discontinued in 2013. The flight times will follow a midnight departure from Singapore with an early morning arrival into Newark the same day, and then a mid-morning departure from Newark with a late afternoon arrival in Singapore the following day.
SIA had also operated nonstop flights to Los Angeles, which were also canceled in 2013, and the carrier has stated previously that it intends to resume the nonstop flight to LAX as well. It is unclear if they will use the premium cabin configuration on LAX, given that Singapore Airlines also flies nonstop to San Francisco using Airbus A350-900 that follows a standard configuration.
This will be the first A359ULR, which stands for “ultra-long haul,” that SIA plans to introduce into its network. The carrier has plans to take up to seven of these aircraft. SIA has been transparent about its plans to resume the ultra-long-haul flights to Newark and Los Angeles since 2015, noting that the resumption was contingent upon making modifications to several of its outstanding A350-900 aircraft orders. The Maximum Take Off Weight (MTOW) of the plane was adjusted to add an additional five tonnes from 275t to 280t, along with wing tank changes to allow up to 165,000 liters of fuel to be carried in the tanks.
Unfortunately, Singapore Airlines will not be deploying its new business class seat on the A359-ULR that will operate this route, at least for the time being. The seat made its debut in late 2017 on the Airbus A380, and while it will hopefully be rolled out across the fleet in time, the A359-ULR, like the existing armada of Airbus A350-900s at SIA, will feature the classic Business Class seat that SIA introduced a few years ago. The good news for New Yorkers who are fans of the new Business Class seat is that SIA will likely retain its existing direct flight from New York JFK to Singapore, which flies via Frankfurt, on an A380. Although Singapore Airlines currently does not fly the new business class product to New York JFK just yet, it should in the future (it is currently flown to Sydney, London, Hong Kong, and soon Shanghai and Zurich).
SIA has also “hinted” that there will be a third ULH flight that will be launched in the future, but the jury is still out on which market it will be.