WhyItMatters

Much promise in SIA's plans for non-stop flights to US

SINGAPORE - Singapore Airlines (SIA) will resume non-stop flights to the United States in 2018, five years after it pulled the plug on such services to Los Angeles and New York due to high fuel prices and unattractive yields.

The resurrected flights will be operated with a new ultra-long-range variant of the Airbus 350-900 jet, for which SIA will be the launch customer.

The airline, which has ordered seven such planes, is also looking to add new non-stop US destinations, possibly San Francisco, apart from Los Angeles and New York.

 

SIA currently serves the three US destinations as well as Houston with one-stop flights.

The Singapore carrier's plans for non-stop services, announced last week, are significant for several reasons.

When the 19-hour Singapore-New York flights resume, SIA will once again operate the world's longest commercial flight - a nice feather to have in its cap.

The title, which is now held by Qantas for its 17-hour Dallas-Sydney service, will go to Emirates when the Middle Eastern carrier launches a 171/2-hour flight between Dubai and Panama in February.

Resuming services will also help SIA to grab a bigger share of the growing Asia-US market, which is keenly contested by strong rivals such as Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Chinese carriers.

The knock-on effect on Changi Airport will also be positive, with the move expected to attract other South-east Asian travellers to Singapore to get onto the flights.

Rival carriers and big players in the Asia-US market such as Cathay Pacific and Emirates, which both offer non-stop flights to the US, will no doubt be watching SIA's moves closely.

Competition will be keen and, with that, the ensuing pressure on fares will ultimately benefit consumers.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2015, with the headline 'Much promise in SIA's plans'. Print Edition | Subscribe