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aviation

Nov 8, 2012

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A faded image of a Vickers VC-10, part of an earlier RTW service

But for the 33 kilometres gap between New York’s JFK airport and Newark, which is often used for NYC flights, Singapore Airlines will continue to offer an around-the-world-flight by a single airline after Air New Zealand quits its flights between Auckland and London via Hong Kong but retains its services via Los Angeles.

When Air New Zealand hands over the Hong Kong-London leg to Cathay Pacific early in March, Singapore Airlines will still be flying the world’s longest non-stop flight to Newark (for NYC) from Singapore on an all business class A345, and an A380 service via Frankfurt to JFK.

However Singapore Airlines has announced it will end the Newark service in the third quarter of next year, and coincidentally make the Sydney-Dallas Fort Worth service flown by Qantas the world’s longest scheduled jet airliner service using a 747-400ER, although for the pedantically inclined, the Qantas flight to American Airlines major hub at DFW is only non-stop one way, going there.

The gap beteween Newark and JFK on the SQ almost-around-the-world route

Coming back you land at least once, and sometimes twice, and for most travellers flying back from their US starting point, including DFW, it may well be faster to do so via LAX, and especially if your destination is Melbourne.

Qantas at various times in the 707 era had up to three around-the-world routes, all to and from London, one via Asia and the Middle East, one via the Southern Cross route to San Francisco and New York (when JFK was Idlewild) and another, later itinerary flown by the Fiesta route, via Papeete, Acapulco, Mexico City, Nassau and the Bahamas.

From memory, it was also possible to fly around-the-world to London from Sydney or Melbourne on B.O.A.C Vickers VC-10s, in the mid to late 60s if not into the early 70s, with the very graceful looking ‘hot rod’ British jet stopping at Nadi and Honolulu on its way to San Francisco and on to London, as well as its services via Hong Kong or Singapore and points further west.

Which is the excuse for using the image of the VC 10 at the top of the page.

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands has reported and analysed the mechanical mobility of humanity since late 1960 - the end of the age of great scheduled ocean liners and coastal steamers and the start of the jet age. He’s worked in newspapers, radio and TV in a wide range of roles as a journalist at home and abroad for 56 years, the last 18 freelance.

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9 comments

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9 thoughts on “Round the world flight still possible (almost) on SQ

  1. Roger

    Fascinating! But why does Singapore Airlines fly to two different airports in New York?

  2. wordfactory

    The only iteration of the Fiesta Route I remember is Sydney-Papeete-Acapulco-Bermuda-London. I also seem to recall reading that the Acapulco tower had trouble with with the QF 707 arriving from PPT because it was the only flight from the Pacific ocean side and all radio comms were tuned to the north and east.

  3. Allan Moyes

    Ben, indeed it was possible to fly the VC10 from London to Sydney, via New York, San Francisco, Honolulu and Nadi. I did it in 1968. It was on the Super VC10. “That’s BOAC hushpower”, was their advertising slogan.

    I flew round the world twice with BOAC, the first time being in 1968 with the route (as I recall) SYD/PER/SIN/KUL/DEL/BAH/ZRH/LHR (on a 707), returning LHR/JFK/SFR/HNL/NAN/SYD (on the VC10).

    The second time was in 1973 and I can’t for the life of me recall the outbound route although I think PER/SIN and BOM come into it. The return leg was LHR/JFK/LAX/HNL/NAN and SYD. That was with a 747 and I think by that time BOAC and BEA were in the process of merging to become BA.

    I know everyone seems to be in such a hurry to get to their destination these days but I am nostalgic about those years in the 60’s and 70’s when one could have multiple stops, and airlines like QF and BA even flew various routes between SYD and LHR depending on the day of travel.

    Re Singapore Airlines: As a pedant, for me a “real” round the world flight should take in both hemispheres, north and south, and Singapore Airlines, going by the map, wouldn’t do this. I suppose a “diversion” for some reason into Indonesia, Singapore being only 1 degree or so above the equator, might make it so.

  4. johnb78

    BOAC also used to do a RTW route LHR-JFK-SFO-HNL-HND-HKG-RGN-KHI-CAI-LHR, or into the side of Mount Fuji if you were unlucky.

    It’ll be sad when the SIN-EWK service ends. At that point, the closest to single-carrier RTW will be Qantas, I think – the JFK-LHR gap is smaller than any of the other gaps I can think of.

    (RTW on a single brand name will still be possible – LHR-HKG-SYD-LAX-JFK-LHR on various Virgins. Richard should totally promote that one…)

  5. Ricardo

    Johnb78, It’ll still be SQ, as the distance from LAX-IAH is a lot less than JFK-LHR; or even SFO/LAX-JFK

  6. johnb78

    Good point, I’d forgotten SQ did IAH-DME-SIN.

  7. anonflightattendant

    Roger, I’ve wondered about that myself.

    Is it because Newark is closer to Manhattan for business travellers and the A345 is an all business config??

  8. AngMoh

    SIN-EWR-SIN is a round the world flight. The only time I flew it, it went from SIN to EWR over Japan, Alaska and northern Canada. On the return flight, we flew straight over London and I saw the London Millennium Dome.

  9. Aidan Stanger

    How long is it likely to be before EK starts doing complete laps?

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