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Singapore Airlines lands world’s longest commercial flight

Ahmed Aiham
13 October 2018, MVT 11:30
Singapore Airlines, Airbus A350-900ULR. PHOTO/P. PIGEYRE
Ahmed Aiham
13 October 2018, MVT 11:30

Singapore Airlines has landed a 19 hour-long scheduled commercial flight departing from Singapore to New York, having travelled a distance of over 16,000 Kilometres around the world.

The Singapore Airlines Flight SQ22 arrived at 5:29 am (0929 GMT), having left Singapore's Changi airport at 11:23 pm, the Newark Liberty International Airport website said. That made for a flight of 17 hours and 52 minutes.

Singapore Airlines stated that the non-stop flight was established due to high demand from their passengers, adding that the passengers will benefit from the lack of transits and time spent during the transit phase of their flights.

The plane was carrying 150 passengers and 17 crew members as it travelled 10,250 miles (16,500 kilometres).

Singapore Airlines Flight SQ22 featured the long-range Airbus A350-900ULR (Ultra Long Range), configured to carry 161 passengers -- 67 in business class and 94 in premium economy.

Passengers were provided two meals and refreshments during the flight.

Singapore Airlines only offers premium economy and business seats on the flight -- no regular economy seats. PHOTO: SINGAPORE AIRLINES / MIHAARU

In a statement given to AFP, a 37-year-old Canadian passenger Kristopher Alladin said, "I feel perfectly well rested", adding to his testimony that he was "lucky because I'm able to sleep on the plane."

"Although you're in premium eco, you feel like you're in first class," said Alladin, adding that he had taken the same flight in 2008. "The flight was very smooth, very quiet."

Another passenger, Danny Ong who is an engineer and flight enthusiast from Singapore, upon landing in Newark offered that the trip was "great, smooth, enjoyable and ended way too fast!".

Previously, Singapore Airlines operated the same flight using an Airbus A340-500 in 2004. This flight took 18 hours to get to Newark but was later discontinued in 2013 after the flight stopped being profitable due to high fuel prices.

The new A350-900ULR is optimized for lower fuel consumption and thus the route has become profitable for the airline. The A350 is these days considered the go-to plane for long-haul flights, nudging out the A380, which was previously the flagship for such long-distance journeys, and which carries up to 850 passengers, more than twice the number of the A350.

Amongst other long-distance and long-duration flights are the Australian ‘Qantus’ flight from Perth to London with a 17-hour flight time and the ‘Qatar’ Airlines flight from Doha to New Zealand, costing 17.5 hours of airtime for its passengers.

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