World's longest flight to land for the last time

Singapore Airlines will terminate its iconic, non-stop all-business-class service to New York as the aviation sector grapples with high fuel prices and subdued demand for premium travel.

By MSN Money Partner Nov 22, 2013 1:20PM

CNBCparked airplane © Sava Alexandru, Vetta, Getty ImagesBy Anusuya Harjani

 

This weekend, Singapore Airlines will terminate its iconic, non-stop all-business-class service to New York - also the world's longest flight - as the aviation sector grapples with high fuel prices and subdued demand for premium travel.

 

The cancellation of the direct route, which shuttles passengers between Changi and Newark within 18.5 hours and costs around $8,800, has come as a disappointment to business travelers who now face an additional six hours or so in travel time.

 

"It's disappointing that a direct flight to the U.S. is no longer available. I feel that it was decently full every time we were on it. The timing of the direct flight works best for business travelers," said Singapore-based Sheena Mahtani, who travels to New York for work multiple times a year.

 

"The SQ flight via Frankfurt would probably be the only other Singapore-New York option that would work," she added, referring to the flight with duration of over 24 hours.

Operating exclusive, non-stop flights to the U.S. has brought about intangible benefits for Singapore's flag carrier, including helping it to win and maintain key corporate accounts, according to Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA).

 

"There was also the glamour and prestige associated with operating the world's longest non-stop routes. But ultimately the incredible cost of operating an ultra-long-range service could not be ignored," CAPA said in a recent report on long-range travel.

 

According to industry experts, despite opting for an all-business configuration and charging a premium over its one-stop services in the same market, the yields were not high enough to offset the high operating costs.

 

In 2008, the airline re-configured its A340-500 aircraft used on the non-stop route to 100 business class seats from 117 premium economy and 64 business class seats. During that year, premium accounted for over 9.5 percent of total passengers, compared with 8 percent currently, according to data from International Air Transport Association (IATA).

 

"At the current high price of fuel, making a profit off such long flights became nearly an impossible mission even when filling the plane with premium passengers," CAPA said.

 

Timothy Ross, analyst at Credit Suisse says while the non-stop flight was a "differentiator" for the airline, the natural inclination for passengers will be to switch to the airline's one-stop service.

 

"There's a high level of loyalty to Singapore airlines. I don't think the impact is going to be anything other than marginal," Ross said. "People attracted by a lower price point are already flying competitors, such as Emirates," he added.

 

Meantime, Singapore Airlines, which also ended its non-stop service to Los Angeles at the end of October, says that it remains "very committed" to the U.S. market.

 

"Over the past 2-3 years we have increased capacity to both Los Angeles and New York by deploying A380 superjumbos on flights via Tokyo and Frankfurt," a spokesperson for the airline for CNBC via email.

 

More from CNBC

3Comments
Nov 25, 2013 7:01PM
avatar
That's still way to long to be sitt'n in one spot but great for those who have to.
Nov 23, 2013 3:47PM
avatar
that sucks, what a head bummage!!!! I think u are doing it, because it was on my bucket list!!!
Nov 25, 2013 6:23PM
avatar
18 1/2 hours to travel halfway around the earth. 
What would Magellan have thought of that? 
But rather had someone told him of such a thing. There is a high degree of probability that person would have been burnt at the stake for being an agent of the Devil.
Report
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
Categories
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

DATA PROVIDERS

Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

RECENT QUOTES

WATCHLIST

Symbol
Last
Change
Shares
Quotes delayed at least 15 min

MARKET UPDATE

NAMELASTCHANGE% CHANGE
There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.
NAMELASTCHANGE% CHANGE
There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.
Market index data delayed by 15 minutes

[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market began the new trading week on the defensive note with small-cap stocks pacing the retreat. The Russell 2000 (-1.4%) and Nasdaq Composite (-1.1%) displayed relative weakness, while the S&P 500 lost 0.8% with all ten sectors ending in the red.

Global equities began showing some cracks overnight after China's Finance Minister Lou Jiwei poured cold water on hopes for new stimulus measures. Specifically, Mr. Lou said the government has no plans to change ... More


Currencies

NAMELASTCHANGE% CHANGE
There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.