Singapore Airlines (SIA) has commenced nonstop services on the world’s fourth longest passenger route after its inaugural flight to San Francisco touched down in the Bay Area over the weekend.
The SQ32 flight, operated by Airbus A350-900 9V-SMF featuring a special logo signifying it was the 10,000th aircraft delivered by the European airframer, landed at San Francisco Airport a little after 0830 local time on Sunday, October 23, after a trip time of almost 14 hours.
The A350-900 operating the route is in SIA’s standard configuration for the aircraft type with 253 seats comprising 42 in business, 24 in premium economy and 187 in economy.
SIA, a Virgin Australia shareholder and alliance partner, has also ordered seven A350-900ULR (ultra long-range) variants that will be used to resume nonstop services from Singapore to Los Angeles, New York and potentially a third US destination.
San Francisco-Singapore is a rarity among ultra long-haul routes as it features two carriers – United started its own nonstop service on the city pair in June with Boeing 787-9s.
San Francisco Airport posted a video of the aircraft after it arrived on its @FlySFO Twitter account:
— flySFO (@flySFO) October 23, 2016
The world’s longest passenger route is between Delhi and San Francisco. But only when flying eastwards from Delhi.
Air India took the record on October 16, when AI 173 took off from Indira Ghandi International Airport at a few minutes before 0430 local time and landed at San Francisco International Airport some 14 and a half hours later, covering 8,285nm, according to flight tracking website FlightAware. The return flight is shorter as it heads eastwards from San Francisco and over the Atlantic Ocean back to Delhi, taking advantage of the prevailing tailwinds when flying east.
Subsequent flights have exceeded the 8,285nm covered on that inaugural service that operated with an eastwards routing.
Current longest nonstop passenger flights by distance (nautical miles)
1. Delhi-San Francisco (8,159nm*) operated by Air India with Boeing 777-200LR (*Pacific Ocean routing eastwards from Delhi only)
2. Dubai-Auckland (7,668nm) – operated by Emirates with Boeing 777-200LR (Airbus A380 from October 30)
3. Sydney-Dallas/Fort Worth (7,454nm) – operated by Qantas with Airbus A380
4. San Francisco-Singapore (7,339nm) – operated by United with Boeing 787-9 and Singapore Airlines with Airbus A350-900
5. Atlanta-Johannesburg (7,333nm) – operated by Delta with Boeing 777-200LR
6. Abu Dhabi-Los Angeles (7,291nm) – operated by Etihad with Boeing 777-200LR
7. Dubai-Los Angeles (7,246nm) – operated by Emirates with Airbus A380
8. Jeddah-Los Angeles (7,240nm) – operated by Saudia with Boeing 777-300ER
Planned future routes
1. Singapore-New York (Newark*) (8,285nm)– to be operated by Singapore Airlines with Airbus A350-900ULR. From 2018. (*Airport choice not confirmed)
2. Doha-Auckland (7,848nm) – to be operated by Qatar Airways with Boeing 777-200LR. From February 1 2017.
3. Singapore-Los Angeles (7,621nm) – to be operated by Singapore Airlines with Airbus A350-900ULR. From 2018
4. Dubai-Panama City (7,463nm) – to be operated by Emirates with Boeing 777-200LR. Start date not confirmed.
Speculated future routes
1. Sydney-New York (JFK) (8,646nm) – Qantas
2. Sydney-Chicago (ORD) (8,022nm) – Qantas
2. Doha-Auckland (7,848nm) – Qatar Airways
3. Perth-London Heathrow (7,829nm) – Qantas
4. Melbourne-Dallas/Fort Worth (7,814nm) – Qantas
5. Doha-Santiago (7,791nm) – Qatar Airways