Qantas will snare the record for the world's longest flight next month when Singapore Airlines abandons its direct service between Singapore and Newark.
The 15,350km flight between Singapore and Newark, which takes about 19 hours, will be axed on November 23, following SQ's axing of the marathon non-stop Singapore-Los Angeles service three days ago.
Singapore Airlines is retiring the fuel-guzzling Airbus A340-500 jets dedicated to these ultra-long range direct flights – aircraft which were uniquely configured as an all business class aircraft, with just 100 seats – as part of an extensive fleet overhaul centred on the fuel-efficient Airbus A350.
This will leave Qantas' daily QF7 service from Sydney to Dallas/Fort Worth as king of the non-stops, at least when measured by distance due to its 13,800km trek.
If you're using bum-numbing hours as your yardstick the trophy will go to US carrier Delta's 17 hour flight 201 from Atlanta to Johannesburg, which pips QF7 by almost two hours when you count minutes instead of miles.
But with some 925 minutes between Sydney and Dallas, the daily QF7 flight is no picnic.
Qantas relies on a long-range Boeing 747-400ER for the service, which feeds into the Texas hub of oneworld partner American Airlines to shuttle passengers to destinations in the eastern half of the US.
However, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has flagged the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner as a likely replacement for the jumbo on this route.
“The 787-9 is a long-range aircraft which can fly to the US, which can fly to Dallas (and) just about anywhere in Asia" Alan Joyce told Australian Business Traveller earlier this month, adding that it's also "ideal to open up a range of new routes for the Qantas network than we’ve seen before."
While the Boeing 787-9 will carry fewer passengers than the 747-400 – an estimated 250-290 on the Dreamliner (depending on configuration) against the jumbo's 364 – the more advanced 787 will deliver substantially lower operating costs, primarily driven by a reduced appetite for expensive jet fuel.
And if you're curious about the world's shortest Airbus A380 flights, we've nutted out the five quickest superjumbo flights starting from just over two hours!
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.