WORLD'S LONGEST FLIGHT
For many years now, deep-pocketed Middle Eastern airlines, offering mile-high extravagance, had dominated aviation industry awards. But 2018 marked a resurgence in Asian carriers - and Singapore Airlines has a lot to shout about as it topped many of the major world rankings.
The city-state national carrier swept the board at this year's Skytrax World Airline Awards, winning the coveted Airline of the Year award, snatching the spot from Qatar Airways, that fell into second place.
On October 11, Singapore Airlines made history by launching the world’s longest non-stop flight between Singapore and Newark
Singapore Airlines was also named the world’s best airline by TripAdvisor in April, among one of the many accolades the carrier had received this year.
The airline’s resurgence is in large part due to its investment in revamping its offering, leading the way in innovations, particularly in its premium segments.
On October 11, Singapore Airlines set another record when it re-launched the world’s longest non-stop flight between Singapore and Newark, New York. The inaugural flight took 17 hours 25 minutes.
Singapore Airlines had launched the long-haul route back in 2004. But after more than nine years of operation, it ended the route, as airlines around the world grappled with high cost of jet fuel.
On November 2, the airline launched its non-stop flights between Singapore and Los Angeles - another long haul route it had once operated and axed.
The A350-900ULR – derived from the A350-900 – has an extended range of up to 17,900km - Photo by Singapore Airlines.
Recently, AWANI Review was given behind the scenes in Singapore Airlines, in conjunction with the ultra long-haul routes re-launch. We speak to some of the key personnel responsible in bringing fresh innovations for ultra long flights.
Fuel consumption on the A350-900ULR is about sixty percent less than the A340 long range jet
The airline uses the new Airbus A350-900ULR (ultra-long-range) jets on both Newark and Los Angeles routes, with seven order of the aircraft expected to be delivered by end 2018.
The jet have just 161 seats total: 67 in business class and 94 in premium economy. Airbus claims the twin-engine aircraft can fly up to 20 hours non-stop, with a maximum range of 17,900 kilometres.
Singapore Airlines’ pilot for 41 years, Captain SY Leong, Vice President and Chief Pilot A330/A350 flew the inaugural flight between Singapore and Newark. He was also part of the team that first initiated the ultra long-haul routes back in 2004, using the A340-500 before Singapore Airlines retired both jet and route in 2013.
Here, Captain Leong and another veteran pilot Captain Prabhjeev Miglani, Deputy Chief Pilot A330 share the experience of flying the new A350-900ULR, which carries far more fuel compared to its predecessor the A340-500, yet maintaining efficiencies.
Fuel consumption on the A350-900ULR is sixty percent less than the A340 long range jet, according to the captains.
The A350-900ULR Is Far More Efficient
The ultra long-haul route re-launch was not just focused on jet efficiencies. Airbus claims the A350-900 design makes long journeys more comfortable thanks to quieter cabins, higher ceiling and mood lighting.
While the pressure inside the A350 cabin maxes out at 6000 feet, about 2000 feet lower than a standard flight, cutting down on passengers’ fatigue, headaches and dry eyes (due to higher humidity).
(This is a feature the A350 variants’ closest competitor Boeing 787 Dreamliner claims to offer as well)
Singapore Airline’s Ng Yung Han, Vice President Product Innovation talks more about what it takes to ensure passenger comfort in an ultra long-range flight, including the aircraft’s LED mood lighting used to encourage sleep and fight jet-lag.
Singapore Airlines also collaborated with US-based Canyon Ranch to reinvent long haul travel with a focus on wellness.
The integrated wellness and lifestyle brand developed science-based strategies for improved sleep, exercise as well as nutrition-focused menus, applied specifically to passengers on world’s longest flights.
Anthony McNeil, Food & Beverage Director for Singapore Airlines, delves into its range of wellness cuisines that are focused on nutrition and hydration, taking into consideration longer flight duration with less body movement.
The Wellness Factor in Ultra Long-Haul Flights
Meanwhile, Betty Wong, Divisional Vice President for Inflight Services & Design talks about the top three priorities among passengers when travelling long-haul flights.
Three Key Important Elements for Long Haul Passengers