World’s longest passenger flight will fly longer when it resumes in November

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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The longest passenger flight in the world is returning to the skies, and it will fly much longer this time.

Singapore Airlines has announced that it will resume flights to New York (US) from its home base at Changi Airport. The airline previously operated from Singapore to New Jersey, which is another city in the US. It is now scheduled to fly to New York’s John F Kennedy International (JFK) Airport, adding 33 kilometers and hence, 10 minutes of airtime to what was already the longest commercial flight in the world.

The flights, operated by an Airbus A350-900 long-range aircraft, will resume on Monday, 9 November. The route from Singapore to New York, which will fly three days a week, will take 18 hours and five minutes to reach.

The reverse is longer, with a flight time of 18 hours and 40 minutes, and will first depart from JFK airport on November 11.

The flights will have cabins in the Business, Premium Economy and Economy classes, but before travel constraints are lifted completely, it remains to be seen as to how many passengers will book a ticket on the longest service in the world.

Singapore is currently only open to citizens, transit passengers and individuals with special permission. No entry is permitted for short-term visitors from any country. And in New York, if travelers are allowed to fly to the country from a destination where the pandemic is at Level 2 or 3, they must stay in quarantine for 14 days.

But when it comes to cargo operations, the service is likely to benefit. That’s because it will be the only non-stop air cargo route to Singapore from the northern US. The airline says it expects “major cargo demand from a variety of sectors, including pharmaceuticals, eCommerce and technology firms, based in the New York metro area.”

As part of its decision to ground about 138 planes out of a total fleet of 147, due to the global pandemic, the airline originally cancelled its Singapore flight to New York in March.

By 2023, Australian airline Qantas planned to take the title for the longest flight in the world away from Singapore Airlines. Last year, Qantas flew test research flights from Australia to New York and London with travel times of just under 20 hours each as part of Project Sunrise. Since then, the airline has delayed the project indefinitely owing to the pandemic.