Singapore Airlines Flight 21

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Singapore Airlines Airbus A340-500

Singapore Airlines Flight 21, and return Flight SQ22, were the two longest regularly scheduled non-stop flights in the world, from 28 June 2004[1] until they were discontinued on 23 November 2013.[2]

On 30 May 2018, Singapore Airlines announced the relaunch of the service starting 11 October 2018 utilising the Airbus A350-900ULR aircraft, which would reclaim its title as the world's longest flight.[3]

The flights travelled between Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and Singapore Changi Airport (SIN), covering 15,344-kilometre (8,285 nmi) (SQ 21, EWR to SIN) and 16,600-kilometre (9,000 nmi) (SQ 22, SIN to EWR) in about 18 hours' flight time.[4]


In June 2004, Singapore Airlines introduced Flight SQ21, using the Airbus A340-500 on a record breaking 15,344-kilometre (8,285 nmi) great circle route from Newark to Singapore, passing within 130 kilometres (70 nmi) of the North Pole.[5] Taking a little over 18 hours, Flight SQ21 was scheduled to take off from Newark at 23:00 EDT (11:00 SGT) and land in Singapore at 4:05 SGT (16:05 EDT).[6]

This non-stop scheduled-commercial distance was immediately surpassed by return Flight SQ22, which flew the still current (to April 2016) record 16,600-kilometre (9,000 nmi) back to Newark, on a route over Asia and Alaska.[7] Despite the greater distance, Flight SQ22 averaged a slightly shorter 17 h 45 min due to assistance from prevailing high-altitude winds.[8]

Singapore Airlines has announced a relaunch of the world-record route beginning October 11, 2018. The plane type has been announced to be the Airbus A350-900ULR, of which Singapore Airlines is the launch customer.

Aircraft configuration[edit]

The plane used for the Singapore-Newark route was an Airbus A340-500. It had 14 cabin crew and six flight deck officers, each working four-hour shifts.[9]

The flight required 222,000 litres of fuel, ten times the weight of the passengers. Critics said that while there would be reduced noise pollution due to a stop not being required, the non-stop flight would save little fuel due to the need to use more energy at the beginning of the flight to power its heavy load.[9]

The airline said that this route would save four hours off a one-stop service. However, medical experts expressed concerns regarding the 18-hour flight, in which passengers would breathe recycled air with a greater chance of picking up viral infections such as flu and colds on board. Furthermore, the heart and lungs would come under increased strain from a lower than usual supply of oxygen, with an enhanced risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) among people who fail to exercise frequently on board. The airline had installed special lockers on the aircraft to store the corpses of any passengers that died en route, since the flight's routing over the Pacific Ocean and the North Pole meant that there were few, if any, possible unscheduled stops.[9][10]

Singapore Airlines originally offered 64 business class and 117 Executive Economy Class seats on this flight. SIA phased out the Executive Economy Class in favor of 100-seat all-Business Class flights in 2008.[11]


In October 2012, Singapore Airlines announced that it would discontinue non-stop service to both Newark and Los Angeles in 2013. Revenue was no longer high enough to sustain the service and the routes were dropped in November 2013.[12][13]

As part of a deal announced with Airbus, the airline would sell back its five Airbus A340-500 aircraft to the aircraft manufacturer while ordering 5 extra Airbus A380 and another 20 Airbus A350 XWB aircraft.[14]

The airline continued serving Los Angeles via Tokyo-Narita as it had during the period with the non-stop flights, and while it no longer flies to Newark, it continued to serve New York via the nearby John F. Kennedy International Airport, with a stop in Frankfurt.[15]


On 13 October 2015, Singapore Airlines announced that it had signed an agreement with Airbus to be the launch customer of a new version of the Airbus A350 XWB called the A350-900ULR (for "Ultra Long Range"), which according to the announcement would feature "all-new cabin products which are currently under development."[16] The relaunched flights is scheduled to commence on 11 October 2018, with daily flights starting from October 18, 2018.[17]

The airline intends to use the new planes to commence non-stop service from Singapore to Newark as a service resumption, as well as possibly commence service to Chicago, Toronto, or Vancouver. Singapore Airlines will resume non-stop service to Los Angeles, along with Star Alliance partner United Airlines operating on the same route. Singapore Airlines also operates non-stop to San Francisco.[18][1]

On 23 October 2016, Singapore Airlines started a non-stop flight to San Francisco using their standard Airbus A350-900. This flight is currently one of three non-stop flights from Singapore to North America, the others being United Airlines flights, from Singapore to both Los Angeles and San Francisco.[19]

On 30 May 2018, Singapore Airlines announced the relaunch of the service starting 11 October 2018 (Singapore departure), using the Airbus A350-900ULR, in a 161-seat configuration (67 Business and 94 Premium Economy seats). The flight to Newark will be a red-eye flight, with a morning departure from Newark.[20]


  1. ^ "Singapore Airlines beats its own long-haul record". 29 June 2004. Retrieved 17 December 2010. 
  2. ^ "SIA To Make Network Adjustments In Northern Summer Schedule" (Press release). Singapore Airlines. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "Singapore Airlines To Launch World's Longest Commercial Flights" (Press release). Singapore: Singapore Airlines. 30 May 2018. Retrieved 31 May 2018. 
  4. ^ "Singapore Air makes longest flight". CNN. 29 June 2004. Archived from the original on 1 July 2004. 
  5. ^ "Singapore Airlines 21". FlightAware. 2013-11-23. Retrieved 2016-04-01. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Agence France Presse (2004-06-28). "SIA sets new world record with direct flight to New York". Singapore Window. Retrieved 2016-04-01. 
  8. ^ "Singapore Airlines 22". FlightAware. 2013-11-23. Retrieved 2016-04-01. 
  9. ^ a b c Clark, Andrew (29 June 2004). "Record longest flight flies in the face of its critics". The Guardian. London. 
  10. ^ Clark, Andrew (11 May 2004). "Airline's new fleet includes a cupboard for corpses". The Guardian. London. 
  11. ^ "Singapore Airlines to Launch First All-Business Class Flights From USA to Asia" (Press release). Singapore Airlines. 
  12. ^ Doyle, Andrew (24 October 2012). "SIA to drop nonstop USA flights as Airbus buys back A340s". 
  13. ^ Mike Tierney (2013-11-25). "Last Call for the Long Haul From Singapore to Newark". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-04-01. 
  14. ^ Mayerowitz, Scott (24 October 2012). "Singapore Airlines to end world's longest flights". AP Worldstream. Retrieved 10 January 2016.  – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  15. ^ "SIA, Scoot to upgrade & expand fleet". Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  16. ^ "SIA To Re-Start Non-Stop Singapore-US Flights With New A350 Variant" (Press release). 2015-10-13. Archived from the original on 2015-10-20. Retrieved 2015-10-17. 
  17. ^ "Singapore Airlines To Launch World's Longest Commercial Flights". Singapore Airlines. Singapore Airlines. Retrieved 30 May 2018. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ Dwyer-Lindgren, Jeremy (2016-10-23). "Singapore Air is again flying nonstop to USA from Singapore". USA Today. Retrieved 2017-05-08. 
  20. ^ Flynn, David (30 May 2018). "Singapore Airlines will restart non-stop New York flights in October". Australian Business Traveler. Retrieved 30 May 2018.