For many years, Singapore Airlines operated non-stop service to Singapore from Los Angeles and New York. These were operated by the Airbus A340-500 with an all-business class configuration, but service was cancelled in 2013 due to the rising cost of fuel. Even then, Singapore had plans to eventually restart the routes with the new Airbus A350, a more fuel-efficient option.
Now that Singapore Airlines has announced a plan to purchase seven A350-900ULR aircraft, it is ready to renew operations from Newark and Los Angeles, according to an Airbus press release.
Representing a distance of some 8,700 nautical miles, the New York service will be the world’s longest commercial passenger route, with an expected flight time of up to 19 hours. Moreover, the unique flexibility offered by the A350 XWB allows operators to reconfigure their A350-900ULR to the standard long-haul A350-900 specification should they require it.
I’m thrilled that there will be non-stop options again. Singapore is one of my favorite cities and a great place to connect to other destinations in Southeast Asia. The Newark route will travel over the pole, traveling 9,534 miles (initial heading 2.7°), while the Los Angeles route will cover “just” 8,770 miles.
The airline also offers excellent service, including a comfortable 1-2-1 configuration in business class with incredibly wide seats. There’s no announcement yet on the cabin configuration for these flights other than that they’ll use “all new cabin products” according to a Singapore Airlines press release.
Will there be multiple cabin classes, unlike last time? It’s possible we could see Singapore’s new Premium Economy class. However, I expect the value of skipping a connection will keep fares high and limit the appeal to business travelers. If demand is high, finding award space could also be difficult. But as there are currently no non-stop flights to Singapore from the United States, I think having the option will be a net benefit — including the geek factor of flying 19 hours on one of the world’s best airlines.