Check out the special $317 million Airbus jet that Singapore Airlines uses on the longest flight in the world
- Singapore Airlines relaunched the longest flight in the world last week connecting its home base at Changi Airport with Newark Liberty International Airport just outside of New York City.
- The flight covers 10,000 miles and can last more than 18 hours.
- Singapore Airlines uses a brand new variant of the Airbus A350-900 for the flight called the ULR or ultra long range.
- The standard Airbus A350-900 lists for $317.4 million.
Last week, Singapore Airlines relaunched the longest flight in the world - a 10,000-mile non-stop service between its home base at Changi Airport in Singapore and Newark Liberty International Airport just outside of New York City.
The 18-hour-long flight also marked the official debut of the Airbus A350-900 Ultra Long Range or ULR.Singapore Airlines previously operated the route from 2004 to 2013 using the Airbus A340-500. While it has exceptional range and capability, the A340-500 was a relic of the 1990s, and the thirst of its four engines proved too uneconomical to sustain. Even a shift to an all-business-class layout couldn't generate enough income to save the route.
"The A340-500 is a four-engined aircraft designed in the 90s and purchased when fuel was $19 a barrel but when fuel increased $119 a barrel the technological limitations of that time was exposed," Singapore Airlines senior vice president of sales and marketing, Campbell Wilson told Business Insider in an interview. "So we said to Airbus if you build an aircraft that is modern generation and can operate the route economically, we'll take it."
The result is the Airbus A350-900 ULR.
"The trigger to re-introducing this flight was the availability of this aircraft," Wilson added. "It is the only one that is, in our view, capable of doing this mission economically."
Even though the A350-900, which lists for $317.4 million, entered service in 2015 with Qatar Airways, the first ULR wasn't delivered to Singapore Airlines until the end of September.
The biggest difference between the standard A350-900 and the ULR is its range. Airbus managed to cram an additional 6,300 gallons of fuel into the plane's tanks. The result is an increase in range from 9,300 miles to as much as 11,100 miles.In addition to New York/Newark, Singapore is also using its fleet of ULRs to launch non-stop flights between Singapore and Los Angeles as well as San Franciso.
Here's a closer look at the new Airbus A350-900 ULR: