Singapore Airlines To Restart Nonstop US Flights In 2018

Filed Under: Singapore

For years, Singapore Airlines had the title of operating the world’s two longest nonstop flights — New York to Singapore and Los Angeles to Singapore. At over 9,500 miles and roughly 19 hours, the Newark to Singapore flight sure was a longhaul.


Fortunately the planes were in an all business class configuration, featuring just 100 seats. So it was a comfortable ride for those aboard, at least.


Unfortunately both routes were discontinued in 2013, as Singapore Airlines made the decision to return their A340-500s to Airbus, which were the only planes in their fleet capable of operating the route nonstop. Even though Singapore Airlines seemed to have pretty high loads, there just wasn’t a way they could make the route profitable given what gas guzzlers the A340-500s are.

There’s no doubt a lot of people miss the nonstop flights, given that they were Singapore Airlines’ only nonstop flights between their hub and the US, while all of their other US routes operate via other gateways (including Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Moscow, Seoul, and Tokyo).

Now the title for the world’s longest flight belongs to Qantas for their nonstop Dallas to Sydney flight, and in February that title will shift to Emirates, for their nonstop Dubai to Panama City flight.

The exciting news is that it looks like Singapore Airlines will be bringing back the world’s longest flight in 2018, when they take delivery of their first ultra-long range Airbus A350.

Qatar Airways A350

Via Bloomberg:

“Our customers have been asking us to re-start nonstop Singapore-U.S. flights,” Singapore Air Chief Executive Officer Goh Choon Phong said in the statement. “We are pleased that Airbus was able to offer the right aircraft to do so in a commercially viable manner.”

The A350-900ULR jet will allow Singapore Air to re-start the world’s longest nonstop flights, between the city-state and both Los Angeles and New York, the carrier said in an e-mailed statement Tuesday. Nonstop flights between Singapore and additional points in the U.S. are under consideration, the carrier said.

Singapore Airlines will be taking delivery of a total of seven of these ultra-long range A350-900s, so presumably they could even start one or two other ultra longhaul routes with the planes:

Singapore Air will take delivery of seven modified ultra-long range planes capable of flying up to 19 hours, Airbus said in a separate statement.

Optimized for nonstop flights to the U.S., the two-engine planes will ‎include a modified fuel system to increase fuel-carrying capacity, an increase in maximum take-off weight and other aerodynamic improvements, Airbus said.

This is a big step for Singapore Airlines, as they’ve really been at a disadvantage not being able to offer any nonstop service from their home airport to the US. In other words, in terms of convenience there’s not really an advantage of flying Singapore Airlines over a competitor like Cathay Pacific, given that both airlines can get you from the US to Singapore in one stop.

Bottom line

I’m very excited about this new route, and am curious to see how Singapore Airlines configures these A350-900s. When Singapore Airlines first introduced the A340-500s they had a business class and premium economy, while eventually they just made them all business class.

I’d guess the A350s will be all business class, but time will tell.

Regardless, with the substantially lower operating costs, hopefully Singapore can make this route work. Singapore claims they have been unprofitable on a vast majority of their longhaul routes for the past six years, so hopefully this new route can be an exception.

This is definitely a flight I want to try to take the inaugural of!

What do you make of Singapore bringing back their nonstop flights to the US in a few years?

  1. I love your comment about gas-guzzler A340. Compared to what? A 747SP?

    A340 were not as successful as they could have been, but they were not gas guzzlers. High fuel prices just made ULH missions unsuccessful. Competing aircraft such as the more capable 772LR are not performing many ULH missions and have not been much more successful on the market. (i.e. despite its large fleet of 777, SQ did not bother buying some 772LR for that mission)

    Le’ts try to analyze and think for a moment instead of regurgitating hearsay.

  2. Hallelujah!!! You just made my day as I have seriously missed the LAX-SIN non-stop flight. The current routing gets you into SIN at 3:30am which is really inconvient so this is the best news yet.

  3. Was it specifically announced that they are doing EWR-SIN, or is that just the assumption since the previous service was from Newark? It would be really really cool to see a JFK-SIN nonstop where SQ could seriously have an impact of fares on EK, EY, QR, JAL, ANA, CX etc. to SE Asia.

  4. This is very exciting news, being a New Yorker who travels to SE Asia a lot this will make the journey so much easier. I know this is probably an unpopular thing to say, but I do hope they improve the comfort of their business class seat in it’s bed position. I’ve flown them many times and love the space when seated, but at 6’1 I can’t sleep stretched out there isn’t enough space, more to the point I find the seats very uncomfortable in the bed mode, thin and bumpy, reminds me of being a kid and sleeping on old fold out cots. And when you are on a plane for 19 hours you need some padding to make the journey possible. Kudos to them on the new planes and routes, now could I have a few extra mattress pads? 😉

  5. I can’t imagine being on this flight in an economy seat!

    But I’ll gladly take a Singapore Airlines business class seat for 19 hours!

  6. For the people who took the original version, how did you work it? As in, get on, settle in, eat, sleep for a bit, eat, sleep, eat more?

    Am I the only one thinking I don’t mind a quick connection to get myself moving around, maybe a shower, and get back on for a few hours? I dunno – I’ve done JFK-HKG on CX a few times, in J and F, and that was pushing the limit of feeling caged and bored for me. Even with Ambien and a full iPad of stuff to watch and read.

  7. Neil-

    I tried to get as little sleep as possible the night before. Then you board, have a few beverages, then go to sleep. I sleep a full 6 or 7 hours on this route. Wake up with 10 hours or so to go, have the meal service, watch a movie, walk around the cabin, sleep for a few hours more, wake up, another meal, do some work, land.

  8. Qantas announced yesterday it was looking at Perth to London non-stop. I thought that will be the longest?

  9. According to this article, SQ will be getting their A350s next year in 2016. First route will be to AMS, apparently. Either way, I think it’s a great idea to have the non-stop flights back to the USA!

    I recall it was easier to get an award ticket JFK-FRA-SIN on their A380 when the EWR-SIN non-stop flight was there. After SQ ended the EWR-SIN nonstop flights, it was definitely harder to get a J award seat on the JFK-FRA-SIN route (simply because the folks who would normally fly the nonstop flight started flying this route again.)
    Isn’t UA ending its JFK operations sometime this month? If so, I wonder if it’s better for SQ to switch its JFK operations to EWR since EWR seems to be the star alliance hub of New York City.

  10. They gotta put wifi on those new birds (amaze me how some airlines didn’t think about it when they get new birds)

  11. Fabulous no more LAX to JFK Changi so much better. Can’t wait to see their schedule!! Liked this route as jet lag to Oz was almost on existant.

  12. Interestingly, the A350-900ULR will feature “increased fuel system capacity within existing fuel tanks” so there won’t be any additional fuel tanks, contrary to earlier reports from Airbus, just an optimization of the fuel tank space, increasing from 141,000 to 165,000 liters. I’m guessing due to the higher MTOW, it would feature a tri-axle main landing gear, and perhaps even the more powerful Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines, both of which are distinct features of the upcoming A350-1000. And according to Australia Business Traveller, the A350-900ULR will have 170 seats, more than the 100 Business Class seats on their previous A340-500. So most likely it will be in a 4-class layout (First, Business, Premium Economy and Economy) just like their reconfigured 777-300ERs.

  13. Hi Lucky,

    I like your blog with full of information. Kudos to ya lucky. Btw, A340 aircraft do have lots of problem, whenever they touched down to Singapore, after their long flight, there always technical problem, and more, the long flight that SIA had (A340-500) was not on demand, as most of the flight are not fully booked and not making money. Thats the reason why they sell away that airplane, and took more of A330.

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