By Sarah Porter
BBC News, Singapore
12 October 2018 Business.j
The world’s longest commercial flight has left Singapore for New York, beginning a journey scheduled to cover more than 15,000km in almost 19 hours.
Airbus made fuel system changes to its existing A350-900 aircraft to allow for an extended flight range – giving it the name A350-900 ULR (ultra long range)
Singapore Airlines is relaunching the service five years after it was cut because it had become too expensive.
Flight SQ22 departed at 15:37GMT with 150 passengers and 17 crew.
The inaugural flight from Changi Airport to Newark’s international airport, which services New York, took off amid much fanfare.
However, Singapore Airlines told passengers before take off that their flight to Newark, while still the world’s longest flight by distance, could only take some 17 hours.
Qantas launched a 17-hour non-stop service from Perth to London earlier this year, while Qatar runs a 17.5-hour service between Auckland and Doha.
Singapore Airlines (SIA) said there was demand for customers for non-stop services which help cut travelling times compared with flights which have a stopover.
Ahead of the take-off, the airline told the BBC that business class seats for the flight were fully booked, and there were “a very limited number” of premium economy seats left.
The airline is not planning to offer any economy bookings on the route.
A business class ticket will entitle passengers to two meals, and the choice of when they are served, plus refreshments in between. They will also have a bed to sleep in.
Premium economy fares will get three meals at fixed times, with refreshments in between.