Singapore Airlines to launch nonstop flights to New York JFK next month
Singapore Airlines already claimed the distinction of exploiting the the longest non-stop passenger flight around the world by flying from its hub in Singapore to Newark International Airport. Next month, it will surpass its own record of just three miles by instead launching non-stop service from Singapore to New York-JFK International Airport. The airline previously flew from JFK to Frankfurt as part of a longer route between New York City and Singapore, although this service was cut off during the COVID-19 pandemic, as were many of its other US flights, including those to Seattle and San Francisco. However, Singapore Airlines continues to fly a few times a week to Los Angeles.
The new flights will cover an impressive 9,537 miles and start operating on November 9 and take place three times a week. The opening hours are as follows.
Singapore Airlines flight SQ24 will depart Singapore Changi International Airport at 2:25 am on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, arriving the same day at 7:30 am with a flight time of 18 hours and five minutes.
Singapore Airlines flight SQ23 will depart New York JFK on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10:30 p.m. and arrive in Singapore at 6:10 a.m. two days later, with a total flight time of 18 hours and 40 minutes.
In a statement explaining the move, the airline said: “The operation of JFK International Airport would allow Singapore Airlines to better accommodate a mix of passenger and cargo traffic on its services to New York in the climate. SIA’s non-stop service to New York would also be supported by the growing number of transfer passengers who can now transit through Singapore Changi Airport.
The change is significant because Singapore’s largest US partner airline is United, which operates only from Newark International Airport, although it has said it will resume some services to New York JFK in 2021 – presumably. to improve connections with international partners like Singapore Airlines as well. than European carriers like Lufthansa and SWISS.
Another reason for the move is freight. “SIA… anticipates significant demand for freight from a range of industries based in the New York metro area, including pharmaceutical, e-commerce and technology companies,” the statement said. “The new service will provide the only non-stop air cargo link from the northeastern United States to Singapore, which serves as a regional distribution hub for many large US-based companies. “
Although most airlines continue to downsize their networks, Singapore Airlines sees this as a major first step in restoring international services. “Operating these flights between Singapore and New York’s JFK International Airport is an important step in rebuilding our global network,” said Lee Lik Hsin, executive vice president of business, Singapore Airlines. “Ultra-long nonstop services are the cornerstone of our services in the key US market. We will continue to expand existing services and restore other points as the demand for passenger and freight services returns. So maybe the airline’s other non-stop US routes will be back online soon… with perhaps more to come – later in his statement, Mr Lee said, “We are slowly restoring them. operations on our traditional gateways as borders reopen, while remaining new opportunities for longer-term growth.
Interestingly, the new route will be operated by one of the airline’s Airbus A350-900s rather than the A350-900ULR variant it previously used on its Newark service. While the ULR only has business class and premium economy cabins with a total of 161 seats, the regular A350-900 has a total of 253 seats – 42 seats in business class, 24 in economy class. premium and 187 in economy class. Presumably, this is because the airline is not forecasting a lot of passengers at the moment and will instead focus on freight contracts to make this route profitable. We may see a switch to the ULR version with only premium seats once the number of passengers starts to increase again.
Those curious about in-flight service – and who wouldn’t be on a flight longer than 18 hours – might find a few changes in store. Before the pandemic, the airline was launched wellness and cooking partnerships with the Canyon Ranch and COMO spa and hotel brands. Passengers could find healthy menus as well as
Today, however, the well-being of passengers is more about safety and health. To this end, the airline has implemented a wide and comprehensive range of cleaning protocols to ensure that its planes are free from germs. Airplanes are already equipped with HEPA filters that circulate the air on board every few minutes and filter out dust, viruses and bacteria. Each aircraft also undergoes a nose-to-tail cleaning prior to passenger boarding, with disinfection of hard surfaces, entertainment screens and toilets, which are also refreshed periodically during the flight. Crew members also now wear protective gear, including goggles, masks and latex gloves, and distribute personal care kits containing face masks, hand sanitizer and surface disinfectant wipes. Passengers are also required to keep their own masks throughout the flight, except for eating or drinking.
While it may take several years for flight operations and route networks to return to pre-COVID levels, it’s refreshing to hear of an airline launching a new service even in these troubled times. Singapore Airlines’ Lee Lik Hsin rings a positive note, however. “The fundamental importance of air transport remains unchanged despite the pandemic. Air travel can cover long distances and physically reunite families and friends, support both business and leisure travel, and have a direct impact on economic growth and job creation. This gives us confidence in the medium and long term prospects of the industry.
Although it may take some time to see passenger demand for this and other long-haul routes start again… not to mention reopening borders to non-transit passengers.