As many of us know, the longest non-stop commercial flight in the world operated between Singapore and New York with flight number SQ21. This flight was operated by Airbus A340-500 and the flight duration was about 19 hours. Why did Singapore Airlines decide to cancel this route?

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    for cost reasons, of course. – user428517 Sep 22 '15 at 21:42
  • Because it was the longest flight in the world. If running long flights was a no brainer (technically and economically) many people would run flights as long or longer than this one. – Relaxed Sep 22 '15 at 21:45
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    Some discussion on this here: bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-17/… A big potential issue is fuel: You need to burn a lot of fuel at take off to get the fuel for the next 19 hours up in the air. – Hilmar Sep 22 '15 at 21:50
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    @Hilmar: And as a followup to your comment, see Why don't airliners use in-air refueling systems?. – Greg Hewgill Sep 22 '15 at 22:01
  • Really? I thought it would be longer by now. In 2012, I took a 19h26m flight from Toronto to Hong Kong. It was the longest flight at the time but I thought there would be some 20-21 hours ones by now. – Itai Sep 22 '15 at 22:22

It was fairly widely reported that fuel costs made the flights uneconomical. The maintenance of the A340-500s SIA retained specifically for the flight also contributed, as they only had five A340-500s.

Sample quotes:

It is widely known in the industry that SIA’s A340-500 non-stop flights to the U.S. are unprofitable, because of the four-engined aircraft’s higher fuel burn. Some SIA executives were also questioning why the carrier was going to the trouble of maintaining such a small fleet of A340s.


Snyder and most other experts suspect the airline got tired of dealing with poor profit margins on the fuel-guzzling four-engine Airbus A340. "They do use a ton of fuel, and that's always painful," says Snyder.


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