Singapore Airlines will restart non-stop New York flights in October

Singapore Airlines will restart non-stop New York flights in October

Singapore Airlines will restart non-stop flights to New York on October 11 2018, following delivery of the first ultra-long range Airbus A350-900ULR in September.

What will be the world's longest flight, at almost 19 hours, will run between Singapore and the NY-adjacent Newark airport three times a week – departing Singapore on Monday, Thursday and Saturday – but quickly toggle to a daily schedule from 18 October after a second A350-900ULR aircraft arrives. Tickets will go for sale from May 31, 2018.

The non-stop flights will resume almost five years after the airline pulled the plug on its previous Singapore-Newark direct service in November 2013.

This time around, the gas-guzzling four-engine Airbus Airbus A340 will be replaced by the fuel-efficient twin-engine Airbus A350, while the GFC which sounded the death knell for the A340 route has long since been replaced by a more buoyant economy.

Here's how the schedule will shake out (and yes, those old SQ21/SQ22 flight numbers are also making a return):

LA (and another North American city?) to follow

Singapore Airlines will be flying all seven of its globe-striding Airbus A350 jets by the end of 2018.

This will allow the Star Alliance member to restart non-stop service to Los Angeles and possibly a third North American destination, which could be in the USA or even Canada.

"Potentially there will be one more destination (beyond Los Angeles) we can consider," Singapore Airlines CEO Mr Goh Choon Phong has previously told Australian Business Traveller, adding "we do have a plan but we will announce it when we can announce it."

Approached for an update today, a Singapore Airlines spokesperson said "we review our network constantly and are always looking for feasible and profitable routes and new destinations."

"The A350ULR is a key part of our fleet, and will be instrumental in helping us expand our network with non-stop flights to the US. More destinations will be revealed in the next few months."

Two classes, no economy

As Australian Business Traveller has previously reported, SQ's Airbus A350-900 will sport a two-class layout of 67 business class seats and 94 premium economy seats.

(In effect, this will be updated version of the Airbus A340 Singapore-New York service, which once sported 64 business class and 117 ‘executive economy’ seats, before the airline switched in 2008 to an all-business class configuration of 100 seats.)

Singapore Airlines has confirmed to Australian Business Traveller the pointy end of the A350-900ULR will see the same business class seat as on its regular Airbus A350-900 jets (shown below).

AusBT review: Singapore Airlines Airbus A350 business class

The airline plans to retain its current Singapore-Frankfurt-New York Airbus A380 service, which takes a more leisurely 23 hours.

However, the non-stop flights could be priced at a premium due to not only their appeal to the busy executive but also the A350's lower head-count compared to the double-decker A380.

From A to B with more Zzzz

While passengers on the non-stop flight to New York and back will save around four hours compared to going via Frankfurt, Singapore Airlines has previously said that the primary benefit is more about enjoying a sound sleep en route.

"When you actually measure the total time (between Singapore and New York) – let’s say you transit through Frankfurt – there’s not much of a difference (between non-stop and transit)," Singapore Airlines' executive Mr Tan Pee Teck told Australian Business Traveller at a previous Airbus A350 briefing.

"The only thing is that you can have a longer sleep – instead of 13 hours and then 7 hours (with a Frankfurt stopover), you’d fly non-stop."

Qantas also eyes the A350-900ULR

Singapore Airlines is the worldwide launch customer for the Airbus A350-900ULR, but the jet is being eyed off by Qantas for direct flights to New York, London and other destinations from 2022 as part of its 'Project Sunrise'.

However, unlike SQ's lean two-class layout,  Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has insisted that its ultra-long range fleet must be able to carry "a full load" of as many as 300 passengers across four classes – with the option to include railway-like 'sleeping berths' and even dedicated exercise areas located in the cargo area beneath the main deck.

"One of the concepts that we have is maybe if we're not carrying freight you do something lower where cargo is on the aircraft, do you have an area where people can walk? Do you have berths like on a train?” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has said.

“Could some of the freight areas we may not use be used as an exercise area? Could they be used for berths for people to sleep in? Is there a new class that’s needed on the aircraft?”

Joyce admits these were “out there” ideas but said "there's a lot of 'out there' thinking that's going on.”

Airbus is thinking along the same lines, with plans to let airlines convert part of the downstairs cargo hold into sleeping berths using custom-designed 'lower deck modules'.

The spaces are designed to be interchangeable with a standard cargo container, making it possible for airlines to easily swap out cargo containers for passenger facilities to suit the needs of different routes.

However, a spokesman for Airbus tells Australian Business Traveller "the modules will not be occupied during takeoff or landing."

Instead, passengers who have booked a sleeping berth will begin and end their journey in a regular seat and then make their way to the bunk beds during the flight.

Read more: Airbus plans to put sleeping bunks into the cargo hold

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.
 

25 comments

  • Sanjay Prakash

    sanj747

    30 May, 2018 02:45 pm

    Having flown the A340 SIN-LAX the non stop flight to the US from Singapore is a very good choice for business travellers. This new piece of metal is what SQ have obviously been looking for with great fuel efficiency. Amazing how many times SQ is the launch customer for new aircraft including the 787-10, A380, 747-400 and -300. Look forward to reading reviews of this flight later in the year.
    No member give thanks

  • hutch

    hutch

    30 May, 2018 05:44 pm

    I think there are benefits flying SIN - NYC. Late night departure, sleep during flight and arrive in NYC for work day.

    There is not the same benefit flying back with the current timings.
    No member give thanks

  • lind26

    lind26

    30 May, 2018 07:38 pm

    Would Mel - Sin - NY appeal with SQ? Bypass LA or DFW?
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  • S

    S

    30 May, 2018 10:30 pm

    I imagine more PER-SIN-EWR would appeal more on this
    No member give thanks

  • hutch

    hutch

    30 May, 2018 11:28 pm

    I wouldnt think MEL-SIN-EWR would be too appealing over LAX/DFW. The journey via Singapore is a several hours longer.
    No member give thanks

  • brettepi

    brettepi

    30 May, 2018 03:20 pm

    19 hours in a metal tube hurling thru the air is not my idea of fun.
    Member who gave thanks

    henry_168

  • Peter Konnecke

    konno

    30 May, 2018 06:58 pm

    Lots of distractions required for 19 hours I think
    No member give thanks

  • bmc

    bmc

    30 May, 2018 08:26 pm

    Champagne.
    No member give thanks

  • lafleche

    lafleche

    30 May, 2018 10:53 pm

    and when champagne runs out/ or is mediocre, gin works too!
    No member give thanks

  • mickeyg

    mickeyg

    31 May, 2018 11:07 am

    Just as well it's a Carbon Fibre tube then! ;)
    No member give thanks

  • reeves35

    reeves35

    30 May, 2018 04:35 pm

    J seat being the same as normal A350 is not surprising. It is a good product and they already have enough J class variants across their fleet without adding another.

    It will be interesting to see what they do with their W class on the ULR planes. The legroom (38") of their current W class is at the bottom of what is considered acceptable so it is possible these planes may have an inch or 2 added to provide some more comfort on very long sectors.
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  • James Mckay

    Jamcs

    30 May, 2018 08:39 pm

    I think I'd prefer more pitch than maybe a 2-3-2 as opposed to 2-4-2.

    Have you been invited on the delivery flight David?
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  • puppy79

    puppy79

    31 May, 2018 08:37 am

    it would work well ex Perth or maybe Adelaide depending on the schedules one stop access to New York but for the rest of the country why would one bother.you have LAX/DFW/YVR to new york.via vancouver you can do customs there arriving in new york as a domestic passenger.
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  • BatteryBen

    BatteryBen

    31 May, 2018 02:26 pm

    Good point: a one stop to NYC out of ADL has appeal with a reasonable connection but 1500 arrival into SIN from ADL and 2330 departure is stretching it. Still, I’d love to fly SIN - EWR.
    No member give thanks

  • mo

    mo

    31 May, 2018 10:03 am

    Qantas would do well to closely study this A350ULR configuration for their 'project sunrise'. Sydney - London is only about 300km longer than this route.
    No member give thanks

  • Bill

    BillandSue

    31 May, 2018 11:14 am

    The business seat is wonderful but sadly if you cant get into rows 11 & 19 and have big feet and around 6 feet tall like me then the luxury takes a turn for the worse... I did Sin-Sfo and was in row 14... im a size 11 shoe and didn't get much sleep.

    The seat is fantastic with all nooks n crannies to store everything, my wife had a lovely sleep, sadly I didn't and was sat upright for most of the flight with my back in a twisted position with legs stretched out. Loved the aircraft tho…

    No member give thanks

  • russell

    russell

    31 May, 2018 11:44 am

    Flew EWR - SIN back in 2012 and have to say the 19 hours was not as bad as I was expecting. Quite the pleasant and unique experience and glad SQ is bringing it back.
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  • elchriss0

    elchriss0

    31 May, 2018 01:05 pm

    I thought they were thinking to use the new A380 J seat? Seems strange to not install their newest seat.
    No member give thanks

  • Craig

    crwilkins

    31 May, 2018 01:12 pm

    Still a lot of aircraft for only ~160 pax, can’t see the A350 working for QF at that rate. Like the timing though SIN to EWR but return to SIN could be a nightmare at 19 hours of essentially “daytime” flying
    No member give thanks

  • BatteryBen

    BatteryBen

    31 May, 2018 02:38 pm

    Like SYD DEL on AI which is (only) 14 hours but departs at 10am and 14 hours later is ~4.30pm in DEL. Truly awful even at the pointy end.
    No member give thanks

  • Pcoder

    Pcoder

    31 May, 2018 02:32 pm

    The 161 seats capacity is not a reflection on the aircraft's payload ability, but the clientele that the Singapore is aiming for (As there is no first, they are mainly aiming for people on business). You also have to remember a business class seat can weight over 80kgs, where as the latest economy seats only weigh about 10kgs.

    Qantas may also be able to avoid headwinds by going on a circular route via Alaska which would only add about 1000kms but avoid headwinds. That is just one factor qantas will be calculating as for its lhr route.
    No member give thanks

  • James Mckay

    Jamcs

    31 May, 2018 08:35 pm

    Price for a return ticket in Premium Economy; SGD$5,1665.10 :o
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  • James Mckay

    Jamcs

    31 May, 2018 09:05 pm

    Correction: It's actually reasonably priced. I kind of added 1 adult and 5 child to the search.
    No member give thanks

  • Tom

    Tom-125

    31 May, 2018 11:21 pm

    Has anyone managed to book SYD/EWR? I was trying to check out prices, I can get it to give me direct SIN/EWR flights, but SYD/EWR still routes via SIN and FRA.
    No member give thanks

  • bagpuss

    bagpuss

    20 Jun, 2018 04:53 pm

    I've booked for this and flying next year. Being in Perth the key advantage is getting back to Perth a day quicker which is partly offset via the morning departure. (IE Leave on a Friday and arrive on a Saturday ... Whereas Virgin / Qantas you leave via a connecting LAX Friday night service and arrive Sunday.)

    Haven't worked out how to put my special request of "Load more champagne" into the booking.

    The direct flight had a $300 premium in business class over a non-direct flight.
    No member give thanks

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15 Dec, 2018 04:12 pm

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