Singapore Airlines has resumed “ultra-long-haul” flight operations, with the launch of its first direct route to the USA since 2013.
The new Singapore-San Francisco service departed for the first time on Sunday (23 October 2016), and will now operate daily. Covering a distance of 13,593km, it becomes the longest non-stop route in SIA’s network and the joint fourth longest commercial flight operated by any airline in the world today.
SIA’s direct flights to New York and Los Angeles were previously the two longest in commercial aviation history. Rising fuel prices however, meant that these ultra-long-haul routes became too costly to operate and they were dropped in 2013. Since then, SIA has only flown to the US via Europe or Northeast Asia.
Now however, the airline’s new fleet of fuel-efficient Airbus A350 aircraft has enabled SIA to resume direct trans-Pacific flights. San Francisco will be served non-stop using the standard version of the A350-900 aircraft, and the airline is also planning to take delivery of a new “Ultra-Long-Range” (ULR) version of the A350, which will enable it to resume direct flights to New York and LA in 2018.
The A350 deployed on the San Francisco route also happens to be the 10,000th aircraft ever delivered by Airbus, and features a special livery to reflect the milestone.
On the new outbound flight, the A350 will depart Singapore’s Changi Airport at 0920 and arrive in San Francisco at 0755 the same day, following a flight time of approximately 14.5 hours. The return flights will leave the Californian hub at 0925 and arrive back in Singapore at 1840 the following day, with a flight time of more than 17 hours.
Both legs will cross the International Date Line, and if that sounds like a recipe for jetlag, passengers will be happy to hear that the A350 features several cabin elements that are designed to reduce the effects of jetlag, such as larger windows and improved lighting.
SIA now operates twice daily flights to San Francisco, with the other routed via Hong Kong. It also serves LA via Seoul and Tokyo, New York via Frankfurt, and effective next week, Houston via Manchester. United Airlines also operates the Singapore-San Francisco route.