The only nonstop U.S. flight to Singapore — and the world's longest commercial flight — ended Saturday night at Newark Liberty International Airport.
The 19-hour flight on the Airbus A340, which cost between $6,000 and $8,000, did not earn enough profits, The Star-Ledger reported
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“It boiled down to the route didn’t earn enough of a profit,” Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst at Hudson Crossing, an industry consulting firm, told the newspaper.
“Supporting the aircraft doesn’t outweigh the cost involved. You need parts for this plane and there are only a handful available.”
Another reason Singapore Airlines ended the long flight is that Airbus is buying the A340 jets as part of a deal for new planes that are not designed to fly so many hours, he said.
Fuel costs also played a role, with a barrel costing about $107 compared to $28.88 when the route began in May 2008.
Ken Jongsma, an engineer with Honeywell who took the flight for business, said he will miss the comfort and convenience of a direct flight to Changi International Airport.
“It’s long no matter how you cut it but it beats spending time in an airport trying to make connections,” Jongsma told the Star-Ledger. “Once I’m en route, I want to be there in the shortest time possible.”
Passengers like Jongsma traveled in luxury on the jumbo jet, which carried just 100 people. Roomy seats 3 feet wide reclined into flat bed when passengers wanted to take a break from watching selections from 243 films and 358 television shows on a 15-inch monitor. Also available were 800 music CDs, 22 radio channels, and 80 video games.
The flight could take off again at a later date.
“It’s a shame this route didn’t work out, but I would bet in a few years it might be reopened,” Harteveldt said. “It’s one of those long, thin (low-demand) routes that might be viable if it flew a few times a week” instead of daily.
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