Singapore Airlines to stop world's longest flight

October 25, 2012: 8:06 AM ET
$30,000 for ultra first-class in the air
HONG KONG (CNNMoney)

Singapore Airlines will stop flying the world's longest route next year as the company phases out the aircraft used to make the journey.

The ultra long-haul flight, which runs nonstop from Singapore to Newark, New Jersey, typically takes just under 19 hours to complete. In total, the trip covers roughly 10,000 miles -- and sometimes takes passengers over the North Pole.

The airline uses a roster of aging Airbus A340-500 aircraft to fly the route, but the company said Wednesday those planes were being sent back to Airbus as part of a deal to purchase five Airbus A380s and another 20 A350s. The deal is valued at $7.5 billion.

The A340-500 models will remain in service until the fourth quarter of 2013. Nonstop services from Singapore to Los Angeles will also be eliminated.

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Singapore Airlines (SINGF) has operated flights on the Newark route since 2004. A hot ticket for business and luxury travelers, passengers boarding the inaugural flight could hear strains of Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" pumped through the aircraft's sound system.

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Later, in an effort to concentrate on elite business travelers, the airline stopped offering coach seats on the flight and converted the aircraft to accommodate only business-class passengers.

"Although disappointing that we will be halting these services, we remain very committed to the US market," Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong said in a statement.

"Over the past two years we have increased capacity to both Los Angeles and New York by deploying A380 superjumbos on flights via Tokyo and Frankfurt," he said. "We will also continue to explore additional options to enhance our U.S. services."

Airlines have adjusted routes in recent years as slack demand and rising fuel costs have reduced margins. Some costs have been passed on to customers in the form of rising prices and fees for baggage and other services.

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