Next month, we can celebrate the return of the world’s longest scheduled passenger service. On November 9th, Singapore Airlines is relaunching its route to New York. This time Singapore Airlines will fly into JFK, whilst historically it was flying into Newark. While passenger demand is bound to remain suppressed due to travel restrictions, the carrier expects a significant cargo market.
On March 25th this year, the world’s longest regular passenger service was suspended indefinitely. However, it would seem that the date for the resumption of Singapore Airlines’ record-holding route has been decided. Beginning November 9th, Singapore Airlines will offer a thrice-weekly non-stop service between Singapore’s Changi Airport and New York’s JFK.
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Three times a week on an A350-900
The flights have been given different numbers than before. Previously designated SQ21 and SQ22, they will now be operated as SQ23 and SQ24.
Flight SQ24 will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. It will depart from Changi Airport at 02:25, and arrive at JFK at 07:30. The estimated flight time is 18 hours and 5 minutes.
The return service of SQ23 will depart from JFK on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. It will push away from the gate at 22:30 and arrive in Singapore at 06:10, not only +1, but +2. Of course, with a flight time of 18 hours and 40 minutes, skipping an extra day is to be expected.
Cargo-demand will drive revenue
The flights will be operated by one of Singapore’s A350-900 long-range aircraft. They are configured with 42 seats in business class, 25 in premium economy, and 187 in the main cabin. It will be interesting to see what the load-factors will look like to begin with.
Mr Lee Lik Hsin, commercial executive vice president at Singapore Airlines, said that the non-stop service’s relaunch was an important step in rebuilding the carrier’s global network.
While travel restrictions are bound to keep passenger demand subdued for some time to come, the airline expects a “significant cargo demand” for pharmaceuticals, technology, and e-commerce business.
This is Singapore Airlines’ second route to the US since the crisis. The carrier also operates a non-stop service from Singapore to Los Angeles, clocking in at just over 15 hours of flight time. With the addition of the JFK route, the airline will be flying to 41 destinations.
The small city-state of Singapore has no domestic market, and its all wide-body national airline is heavily dependent on long-haul transfer traffic. Last year, Singapore Changi Airport was the seventh busiest in the world. Now, it has fallen to number 48.
While Singapore Airlines is looking to diversify its fleet with the addition of Boeing 737s (800s and MAXs), it is still some way off from adjusting to a prolonged suppressed demand.
Are you excited that the world’s longest passenger flight is coming back? Have you been on it? Tell us about your experience in the comments.