No more non-stops between Los Angeles and Singapore, part of a cutback by Singapore Airlines on ultra long-range routes. Also gone is the Newark to Singapore run, which at nearly 19 hours (yikes!) had been the world's longest non-stop flight. Singapore Airlines out of LAX had been the second-longest. Lots of airlines fly Singapore to L.A. but only SIA offered non-stop service, courtesy of a four-engine Airbus A340-500 that can fly the 8,782-mile route. (The Singapore-L.A. leg is almost an hour shorter, at 16 hours, 30 minutes, due to tail winds.) With flights five days a week, planes were about 77 percent full, which is only a bit lower than the overall average. Plus, Singapore offered only business class seats, which meant that fares would routinely run more than $7,000 round trip. But the high price of jet fuel simply doesn't pencil out for these special flights. The airline still flies to Singapore, but with a stop in Tokyo. In case you're wondering, LAX's new longest flight is service from Dubai, at a mere 16 hours 20 minutes. Some airline writers are calling this the end of an era, but with lighter-weight composites to be used on newer aircraft, it's inevitable that the ultra long-range era will return one day. From Bloomberg:
As part of a fleet upgrade into the new carbon-bodied fiber Airbus A350, Singapore decided to sell its five A340s dedicated to the two routes and shut down the epic nonstops. "It was an offer we couldn't refuse from the manufacturer," Singapore spokesman James Bradbury-Boyd says. The company has no Boeing 777-200LRs in its fleet, the only other aircraft capable of the distances required for the nonstops to Los Angeles or Newark. Bradbury-Boyd says Singapore often has a waiting list for the flights, but demand couldn't offset economic shifts in jet fuel and other factors that have changed greatly since the flights began in early 2004. Almost all the passengers are finance executives and other wealthy individuals.