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Lift off: Singapore Airlines to boost U.S. presence with world's longest flight


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Lift off: Singapore Airlines to boost U.S. presence with world's longest flight

By Jamie Freed

 

2018-10-10T231315Z_1_LYNXNPEE991YS_RTROPTP_4_SINGAPORE-AIR.JPG

Singapore Airlines planes are pictured on the tarmac at Changi Airport March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su

 

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore Airlines Ltd <SIAL.SI> is poised for a major boost to its U.S. footprint from Thursday evening as it resumes, after five years, the world's longest commercial flight - a near-19 hour non-stop from Singapore to New York.

 

The route, combined with the airline's plans to restart non-stop services to Los Angeles and add more non-stop flights to San Francisco next month, will give the premium Asian carrier its biggest-ever U.S. presence.

 

The airline has already ordered seven new ultra-long range twin-engine Airbus SE <AIR.PA> A350-900ULRs fitted with just 161 business class and premium economy seats - and no economy class seats - for the U.S. capacity increase.

 

Singapore Airlines had abandoned the marathon Newark and Los Angeles routes in 2013 when high fuel prices made the use of four-engine Airbus A340-500 jets uneconomic.

 

It has since flown to New York's JFK Airport via Frankfurt and to Los Angeles via Tokyo and Seoul.

 

The airline's revenue contribution from the Americas region is currently at 14 percent, down from 20 percent in 2013 due to the loss of the non-stop flights, Corrine Png, CEO of transport research firm Crucial Perspective, said.

 

"Operating trans-Pacific connecting flights opened Singapore Airlines to a lot more competition from other carriers and resulted in the loss of high-yielding business traffic," she said. "We expect Singapore Airlines to regain market share, especially in the premium travel market."

 

She said capacity would need to be managed carefully given high fuel prices, but there should be sufficient demand as long as the United States and global economies remained robust.

 

Non-stop ultra-long haul flights can typically command an airfare premium of around 20 percent versus those involving one or more stops, according to travel industry data, given their popularity with time-sensitive business travellers.

 

However, Singapore Airlines has been offering low initial fares on its U.S. non-stop routes, including as little as S$1,438 ($1,040) return for premium economy on Singapore-Newark, CAPA Centre for Aviation Chief Analyst Brendan Sobie said.

 

"While it's early days, there will be questions whether the latest attempt at U.S. nonstops will be profitable for Singapore Airlines given the very intense competition in the Singapore-U.S. market, rising fuel prices and the large number of premium seats Singapore Airlines has to fill on the seven newly delivered A350-900ULRs," he said.

 

Brent crude prices <LCOc1> are currently trading near $85 per barrel, significantly below a 2013 peak of about $119 but still up about 27 percent so far this year. The benchmark is on track for its third straight year of gains. [O/R]

 

United Airlines offers non-stop flights from Singapore to San Francisco, while other carriers like Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd <0293.HK> and Taiwan's EVA Airways Corp <2618.TW> compete with one-stop Singapore-U.S. offerings.

 

The Singapore-Newark route will top Qatar Airways' Doha-Auckland route as the world's longest, but Australia's Qantas Airways is considering the introduction of an even longer 20-hour Sydney-London flight from 2022.

 

(Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-10-11
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My brother flies between Melbourne and LAX about twice a  month . At least 15hours nonstop flight which he says is easy because the cabin is configured  for long haul passengers with ample leg space and inflight entertainment. (he's 6, 4")

Singapore airlines will no doubt make it super comfortable but jet fuel price hikes is the big killer.

SQ will pull it again if kerosene goes up.

19 hours....thats a looooong time on a plane.

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I was booked on a Thai Air LAX-BKK non-stop flight when it was cancelled for mechanical. They only had the one route once a day to N.America so that meant a 24h delay. With that 18h flight plus the day delay and my other 2 legs getting to LA, my trip totalled nearly 3 days. As bad as that was it wasn't as bad as my trip over with United.

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I did BKK-LAX on Thai a number of times - it was a miserable experience.  I think it was 14 there, 16 hours back.

 

I much preferred the layover in Osaka, stretch your legs - let them get the smell out of the plane & clean the toilets. At one point the layover was just 30 mins - I'd have preferred a bit longer but hey...

 

I don't get the appeal at all. 

 

 

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I have flown Vancouver to Hong Kong a few tmes and it is too long. Hong Kong to Vancouver , with the winds is okay as it is at least 1 or 2 hours shorter. I would fly Calgary direct to BKK and return although, as it would mean no enroute landings and security only once at each end of the flight.

Geezer

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I used to do Dubai to Houston on EK 6 or 7 times a year. 16-1/2 Hours out 14-1/2 Hours back. Hell on earth. I do it once a year now and that's once too many. This is travelling in economy class mainly. Did get the odd free upgrade now and then but not nearly enough. 

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Arrived after an actual flight time of 17:25 hours.

Using a longer path (16.562 km vs. 15.353 km on great circle) to use good tailwind. 16.562 km: about 10291 miles.

 

Quest on board:

 

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Vlogger Sam Chui was on the return flight (New York to Singapore).

In contrast to the Singapore - New York flight this one went very close over the north pole, 87 degrees north.

(around 15 minutes into the video)

 

 

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