Singapore - New York with Airbus A350ULR Singapore Airlines and the advantage of high-altitude high currents

On 11 October 2018, Singapore Airlines resumed direct flights on the Singapore - New York route. They are operated by Airbus A350ULR aircraft. Estimated flight time was set between 18: 25 hours and 18: 45 hours depending on the direction of flight, making it the longest flight in the world. But is that really the case?

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On October 11, Singapore Airlines resumed direct flights on the Singapore - New York route. This was made possible by the new Airbus A350ULR (A350-900ULR) aircraft, which come with premium 161 seats. We remind you that the Singaporean carrier gave up the 2013 direct route from Singapore to New York after retiring the latest Airbus A340-500 aircraft (configured all-business).

The estimated flight time was set between 18: 25 hours and 18: 45 hours depending on the direction of flight, thus being the longest non-stop flight and also the longest route.

Singapore - New York with Airbus A350ULR Singapore Airlines

But the first flights enjoyed a short flight time of over an hour and this was due to the high currents of high altitude.

Following an analysis by flightradar24, it appears that Singapore Airlines operated the first Singapore - New York flights and returned on several trajectories, thus taking advantage of the strong currents in the northern hemisphere. Thus, flight times were reduced to just over 17: 30 hours on average.

A350-XWB-UltraLongRange-infographic

But let's see what this is all about. SQ22 flights, direction Singapore - New York, operate on the NOPAC (North Pacific) route. At this time of year, the NOPAC route allows SQ22 to take advantage of strong winds off the coast of Japan, but also strong currents in Alaska and Canada.

Officially the SQ22 flight is scheduled at 18: 25 hours, but due to strong currents the flight time has been reduced to 16: 54 hours (October 18 2019).

The advantage of strong currents from high altitude

As regards New York - Singapore flights (SQ21), they have had two trajectories so far. The first return flight was operated over the North Pole, and its duration was only 17 hours and 34 minutes, with 1: 15 hours faster than the estimated time.

The second SQ21 flight was operated over the Atlantic Ocean, taking advantage of such jet streams. But the time was not significantly reduced, but it was certainly longer with 945 kilometers. But this is how Singapore Airlines managed to bypass the Earth from only 2 flights :).

And now, if we look at the archive of flightradar24, we will notice that the SQ21 flight is operated over the Atlantic Ocean, Europe and Asia, and the average flight time is about 17 hours and 30 minutes.

I wrote about the duration of the flights. But let's see the distance of these flights in a nutshell. Obviously, the shortest route between Singapore and New York is over the North Pole, with only 15345 kilometers, but it is not always the fastest route.

SQ22-SQ21-First-4-Flights

On the NOPAC route, the SQ22 flight crosses an average of 16590 kilometers. And the distance over the Atlantic Ocean is about 16320 kilometers. Obviously, each flight is unique and influenced by many external factors.

Here is the proof that the shortest distance between 2 points on Earth does not come with the packet and with the shortest time. Another demonstration of the fact that airplanes don't always fly in a straight line.

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