The problem? Developing a plane efficient enough to make the Singapore-to-Newark route profitable.

By Spencer Peterson
June 26, 2015
imageBROKER / Alamy

On November 25th, 2013, Singapore Airlines put an end to Flight 21, what was the world’s longest direct commercial flight, closing its over 9,500-mile Singapore to Newark route after the last Airbus A340-500 landed at Changi Airport.

Though the four-engine planes could cover long distances, they weren’t very efficient, and making the flights business class only at roughly $10,000 per ticket wasn’t enough to offset fuel costs. Now, the carrier wants to bring back non-stop flights to America, but it needs a new kind of aircraft to do so profitably. 

“There isn’t really a commercially viable aircraft that could fly nonstop,” Singapore Air Chief Executive Officer Goh Choon Phong tells Bloomberg. Which is why his company is in talks with Boeing and Airbus to develop a plane that could make the route more economically viable. Goh says he wants to bring back direct flights to the U.S. “as soon as possible.”

Qantas’s Sydney-to-Dallas/Fort Worth flight is currently the longest non-stop commercial route by distance, at 8,574 miles.

These days, you can still cover 8,072 miles flying direct from New York is Hong Kong, but flying SIA to Singapore involves a transfer in Frankfurt.