Flight SQ22 left Singapore Changi Airport at 4:35 pm today and will land 18 hours and 25 minutes later at Newark Liberty International in New Jersey, where it will have completed the world’s longest flight.
The Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-900 has no economy seats and has been configured to carry only 161 business and premium economy passengers. The new 9,537-mile route will run three times a week until October 18 when Singapore Airlines will implement another Airbus A350-900 ULR for daily service. The new service will surpass Qatar Airways, which had the world’s longest flight pass from February 2017 with its 9,032-mile service between Doha, Qatar, and Auckland, New Zealand.
Vipin Bagga, 39, flew into Singapore from New Delhi to take the direct flight to Newark. "I have loaded my phone with lots of material to last me 19 hours," he said. Passengers aboard Flight SQ22 will enjoy a special wellness menu, seven weeks' worth of film and television entertainment options, and numerous other premium amenities.
This is not Singapore Airlines first non-stop service between Singapore and Newark. Flight SQ22 was originally launched in 2004 but was suspended in 2013 when the Airbus A340-500 fleet was retired. The previous SQ22 service was also configured for business and premium economy passengers, however, in 2008, the airline eliminated premium economy and offered only business class service.
Singapore Airlines may hold the title for world longest flight only temporarily since Qantas has announced plans to debut a non-stop service between London to Sydney in 2022, which will be possible thanks to innovations in aircraft fuel efficiency.
The airline is offering new services to Newark, San Francisco and Los Angeles and will operate 27 non-stop services each week from Singapore to the US, before the end of 2018.
"These new flights will also provide convenient connections beyond Changi Airport, helping to boost connectivity to and through the Singapore hub," said Singapore Airlines senior vice-president for sales and marketing Campbell Wilson.
The expansion will be positive for Changi Airport as well, said Ivan Tan, spokesperson for Changi Airport Group. He remarked that four airlines currently connect Singapore to six cities in the US - Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and New York City. With the airline’s new non-stop services, there will be 72 weekly passenger flights between Changi Airport and the US.
"The demand for air travel between North America and South-east Asia is strong and expected to stay robust in the coming years. We are confident that the Singapore-Newark service will be well-received by Changi Airport's passengers and believe that there are further growth opportunities in the Singapore-US market," Tan said.