It’s been a little over two months since Emirates announced that it will embark on the world’s longest non-stop flight when it starts its service to Panama City next year.
The flight in question takes a mammoth 17 hours and 35 minutes, and is set to begin on February 1 when its Boeing 777-200LR departs Dubai for Tocumen International Airport.
But its title as the world’s longest flight looks set to be short-lived as Singapore Airlines has ordered the new ultra-long range Airbus A350-900ULR.
The new aircraft will allow the airline to fly direct to New York – a distance of 8,700 miles with a flight time of up to 19 hours – and the US West Coast.
Therefore travellers who have sat through the entire Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies will then be able to start watching again – or switch on something else before landing.
“Our customers have been asking us to re-start non-stop Singapore-US flights and we are pleased that Airbus was able to offer the right aircraft to do so in a commercially viable manner,” said Singapore Airlines chief executive Goh Choon Phong.
Singapore Airlines is scheduled to take delivery of seven ultra-long range A350-900s in 2018.
It previously operated non-stop services from its home base to New York and Los Angeles between 2004 and 2013 using the A340-500. Analysts told Bloomberg that the 100-seat business class flights were not profitable.
Airbus said in a statement that the new A350 “features the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fibre fuselage and wings, plus fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. Together, these latest technologies translate into unrivalled levels of operational efficiency, with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs.”
It added that the ultra-long range version includes a higher capacity fuel system within the existing fuel tanks, increasing fuel carrying capacity from 141,000 litres to 165,000 litres.
It can then be reconfigured back to the standard long-haul A350-900 specification should it be required, Airbus said.
The world’s longest flight is currently Qantas Airways’ Sydney to Dallas service using the Airbus A380, which takes more than 15 hours on the return trip.
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