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Singapore Airlines takes delivery of a plane to fly world's longest direct route

Key Points
  • Airbus delivered the A350-900ULR to Singapore Airlines on Saturday.
  • The airline will use the aircraft to fly direct to Newark Liberty International Airport in the United States.
  • The first flight on October 11 will become the world's longest direct flight in service.
The first A350-900ULR (Ultra Long Range), which has an extended range of up to 9,700 nautical miles, was delivered to launch customer Singapore Airlines in September 2018.

Singapore Airlines has taken delivery of a new plane that will perform the world's longest commercial non-stop service by miles flown.

The Airbus A350-900ULR will travel on October 11 from Singapore to Newark Liberty International Airport, covering 9,000 nautical miles (9,537 miles) in about 19 hours.

It is the first of the seven in the same series on order by Singapore Airlines. Two will be used to travel to and from New Jersey while the remaining five will be used for a Singapore-Los Angeles services commencing on 2 November, 2018.

With the new ULR (ultra long range) flights, Singapore said that total U.S. flight frequency will increase from 40 to 53 per week by December.

Airline seats and passengers get the squeeze

Airbus claim the jet's design can make the journey more comfortable and reduce jet-lag thanks to higher ceilings, larger windows, quieter cabins and mood lighting. The maximum published range for the ULR is 9,700 nautical miles and more than 20 hours of non-stop flying.

In a statement Saturday, Airbus CEO Tom Enders said the delivery opened up "a new chapter in non-stop air travel."

Airlines have challenged the likes of Boeing and Airbus to create planes capable of ever longer direct routes. In March this year, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated by Qantas left Perth, Australia and flew non-stop to London Heathrow.

Qantas has also promised 20-hour direct flights from London to Sydney by 2022 and has said either the Airbus A350 or Boeing's 777X will be used.