Singapore Airlines is bringing back the world's longest flight – an 18+ hour non-stop marathon from Singapore to New York – on November 9, 2020.
But this time there's a bit of a twist: instead of the route's traditional US anchor at the NY-adjacent Newark, the flight is moving to New York's flagship John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Singapore Airlines says the change to JFK will allow it "to better accommodate a mix of passenger and cargo traffic on its services to New York in the current operating climate."
That cargo will be drawn from the wide a range of industries based in the New York metro area, including pharmaceuticals, e-commerce and technology firms.
Indeed, Singapore Airlines is talking the flight up as "the only non-stop air cargo link from the U.S. Northeast to Singapore", which in turn serves as a regional distribution hub for many major US-based companies.
Given the current low numbers of passengers jetting between Singapore and the New York due to the spread of Covid-19 across the USA and subsequent travel restrictions, Singapore Airlines aims to maximise the route's cargo-carrying capacity and switch from the globe-striding Airbus A350-900ULR ('ultra long range') which launched the route in October 2013, to a standard A350-900.
From a passenger perspective, there's no practical difference between the these two versions of the A350 except for the fact that the standard model includes economy class seats, while the 900ULR variant is outfitted with only business class and premium economy.
The route will resume running at a thrice-weekly schedule:
- SQ24 will depart Singapore at 2.55am on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, reaching New York/JFK at 7.30am
- SQ23 will be wheels up from New York/JFK at 10.30pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, returning to Singapore at 6.10am two days later
As our review of the inaugural Singapore-New York flight detailed, there's no getting over the sheer length of this trek – a journey made more arduous by some aspects of the business class seat's design as well as the lack of any social area so you can escape the seat to stand around, stretch your legs, chat with fellow travellers and help the time go by a little faster.
“Operating these flights between Singapore and New York’s JFK International Airport represent an important step in the rebuilding of our global network," remarked Lee Lik Hsin, Executive Vice President Commercial for Singapore Airlines.
"Non-stop ultra-long services are the bedrock of our services to the key U.S. market. We will continue to ramp up existing services and reinstate other points as the demand for both passenger and cargo services return."