Singapore Airlines Resumes Nonstop Singapore-New York Flights

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has reinstated its nonstop service between Singapore and New York's Newark Airport after a nearly five-year hiatus.

Singapore Airlines A350
Image Source: Airbus

SQ21 is scheduled to fly out of Singapore at 11.35 pm and arrives in Newark at 6.00 am the following day.  The return leg, SQ22, departs Newark at 10.45 am and arrives back in Singapore at 5.30 pm the following day.  During its initial week, the outbound flight would only operate on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays but starting the 18th, it is expected to operate daily.  

In addition to the captain, the flight would have two first officers and 13 cabin crew.  Pilots are given a minimum of eight hours of rest.  The inaugural flight was under the command of Captain S L Leong.  

A specially-configured Airbus A350-900ULR is used for this iteration.  It has 67 business class seats and 94 premium economy class seats, a grand total of 161 which is half the normal capacity of a typical A350-900.  SIA is Airbus' first A350-900ULR customer.  Its ceiling is higher than usual and lighting is designed to help reduce jet lag and stress especially for passengers who would spend nearly three-quarters of a day on the plane.  SIA is expecting six more A350-900ULR before the year ends.

Passengers are provided with a 'wellness' menu with organic dishes and up to seven weeks worth of film and television options to choose from.  

SIA is not the only Southeast Asian carrier to introduce nonstop flights to New York this month.  Later in October, Philippine Airlines will launch a nonstop service from Manila.  The Centre for Aviation is expressing caution about whether such services would be profitable, saying that low initial yields observed would make it challenging to sustain such services as fuel prices continue to rise.  Shukor Yusof of aviation consultancy firm Endau Analytics says that the recent wave of nonstop flights is turning out to be a 'race between a few airlines eyeing the longest routes inter-continentally' and that such carriers are hoping to 'capitalise and exploit a very niche market'.  However, Shukor added that it is still unknown if carriers like SIA will be able to overcome rising fuel prices when operating ultra long-haul flights.

Although passengers from Manila currently have options to take them to New York more quickly, those who are interested to try the more than 18+ hour-long flight may book SQ919 to take them from Manila to Singapore where they can enjoy the world-class facilities offered by Changi Airport whilst waiting.

SIA had a previous iteration of this nonstop flight which was operated with an Airbus A340-500 from 2004 to 2013.  Just like the current iteration, the previous iteration featured business and premium economy class (previously known as Executive Economy class) cabins before being upgraded to an all-business class configuration.  The flight was suspended amidst rising fuel prices and the amount of fuel the A340-500 burned.  With the reinstatement of the nonstop Singapore-New York flight, SIA operates the longest commercial flight in the world once again.  This distinction was until a few days ago held by Qatar Airways' Auckland-Doha flight.

SIA is also not yet done with introducing nonstop flights between Singapore and the mainland United States.  On November 2, SIA will reinstate its nonstop flight between Singapore and Los Angeles.  It will ply the route daily.  The carrier will also mount three additional flights between the two cities on December 2.  The A350-900ULR will also be used on the route.  SIA also currently flies nonstop between Singapore and San Francisco with a standard A350-900 and it will mount three more flights between those two cities which use the A350-900ULR.  


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