A marathon 19 hours in the air

A Singapore Airlines plane in the air

A Singapore Airlines plane in the air

The world's longest non-stop commercial flight by Singapore Airlines' new Airbus A350-900 ULR (ultra-long range) aircraft has landed in NY after covering more than 15,000 km in 17 hours and 52 minutes.

The Singapore Airlines flight took just over 18 hours to fly the more than 9,000 mile journey from Singapore.

At 4.35pm today (11.35pm in Singapore), Flight SQ22 will leave the tarmac at Changi Airport.

Senior Singapore Airlines executive Campbell Wilson said the Airbus A350-900ULR consumes 25 percent less fuel than an older generation aircraft of the same size.

Qatar Airways Flight 921, using a Boeing 777, held the previous title as world's longest commercial route, flying passengers over 14,500 kilometers from the New Zealand capital to Doha.

The airline has already ordered seven new ultra-long range twin-engine Airbus SE (AIR.PA) A350-900ULRs fitted with just 161 business class and premium economy seats - and no economy class seats - for the US capacity increase.

News 12 New Jersey has been told that prior to take off from Singapore, business class tickets were sold out.

Perhaps your first thought on hearing about this flight is how disgusting it would be to be stuck in an economy seat for 18 or 19 hours.

Presumably the passengers on the inaugural will hope this is not necessary this evening, with the flight time being estimated as 18 hours and 35 minutes.

Passengers had plenty of time to relax, sleep, eat, watch movies and then repeat it all! At time of writing, airfares from Newark to Singapore in premium economy were $1,017 one-way, or $1,623 round-trip.

"This is a route between two massive financial hubs, and so they will fill this plane up with business people, or well-heeled travellers who want the convenience of a non stop flight".

The Australian national flag carrier also plans to fly non-stop from Australia to North America - slightly shorter than the London-Sydney non-stop flight. "If I can survive this flight, it's a great way to save some time".

"The concept of ultra-long-haul flight has matured in the five years since we last operated this flight with all business-class aircraft", said Boyd. "Offering two classes of service represents a democratization of this type of travel and allows a broader swath of travelers the benefit of getting to Singapore in comfort four to six hours faster than taking connecting flights". The A340-500 it was using at the time used a lot of fuel and eventually the route became too expensive to run.

They have higher ceilings, larger windows and lighting created to reduce jetlag - all good things for busy business travellers. During that time, officials at Airbus will be keeping a close eye on the ultra-long range plane.

It can fly for 20 hours non-stop, which most aviation experts will tell you is the future of very long-haul travel for business and pleasure. These changes allow the ULR to have an operating range of 11,100 miles, almost a 2,000-mile increase from the standard A350-900 and enough to fly the 9,534-mile route. So from an airline perspective, these routes are money-making.

"We really are entering a new era of travel".

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