Singapore Airlines will be regaining the record for the world’s longest airline sector after restoring its 19 hour direct flight to New York City.
Airbus’s airliner unit is working on a new variant of its A350-900 wide-body that would reduce the plane’s weight and allow Singapore Airlines to reach New York economically by 2018, said Kiran Rao, the plane maker’s executive vice president for strategy and marketing.
Singapore Air halted near 19-hour direct flights from its home hub to New York in 2013, adding about five hours to the journey with layovers. Chief Executive Officer Goh Choon Phong said in June there was no commercially viable jet available and that he was pushing both Airbus and Boeing for proposals.
When Singapore Air last flew direct to the New York area, it was with 100 business-only seats on a four-engine Airbus A340-500. Unfortunately, this arrangement ultimately proved non-viable. According to Rao, the new A350 has a downsized cabin and significant decrease in leg room, but it should be able to make the trip with 25 per cent less fuel than older models.
Boeing’s older 777-200LR – the longest-range jetliner available today – can span about 17,000 km, according to the US company, and will be used by Emirates to fly the 13,821 km between Dubai and Panama from February. That flight will become the longest single sector currently flown, beating Qantas Airways’ Sydney-Dallas Fort Worth route by about 20 km.