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World's longest flight is grounded

The world's longest commercial flight - from Singapore to Newark, New Jersey, in the US - is being cancelled.

Singapore Airlines says it will end its non-stop flights between Singapore, Newark and Los Angeles, flown on gas-guzzling Airbus A340-500s.

The airline found the only way to make the route profitable was by configuring the plane with 98 business class seats which sell for about 8,000 dollars (£5,000) round-trip. Other airlines operate the same plane with about 250 seats in first, business and economy classes.

The new titles for longest distance and duration flights will go respectively to a Qantas route between Sydney and Dallas and a Delta flight between Johannesburg and Atlanta. The flight from Newark, just outside New York, to Singapore is about 9,500 miles takes about 18 hours. The trip from Los Angeles is about 1,500 miles shorter but takes 18 and a half hours.

Headwinds over the Pacific Ocean slow the Los Angeles flight while the Newark flight goes over the North Pole and can fly faster.

The Newark flight is the longest distance flight in the world and the Los Angeles one holds the record for duration. The flights started in 2004.

The Qantas flight between Sydney and Dallas is 8,500 miles will take the title of longest flight in terms of distance and the Delta flight between Johannesburg and Atlanta, which takes 17 hours, will be the longest duration.

Singapore Airlines is selling its five A340-500s back to Airbus as part of a deal announced yesterday. Singapore is ordering five more Airbus A380s and another 20 A350s. Deliveries are due to begin in 2017.

Singapore currently operates 19 A380-800 superjumbos. It already had firm orders in place for 20 A350s, for delivery starting in 2015.

The A340s currently used on the world's longest flights will be retired by the end of 2013. Singapore will continue to serve New York on its existing A380 route which connects in Frankfurt. Los Angeles has existing A380 service via Tokyo, which will also continue.

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