United to launch non-stop flights from San Francisco to Singapore in June 2016

United Airlines said it will operate the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the route.
United Airlines said it will operate the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the route.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - United Airlines will launch daily non-stop flights between San Francisco and Singapore from June 1.

The American carrier, which announced the decision on Friday (Jan 29) morning, said it will operate the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the route.

United's planned launch will be two years ahead of Singapore Airlines' plan - it will start flying non-stop to Los Angeles and New York in 2018.

SIA has also said it is looking at other points in the United States.

Singapore's national carrier, which was the first to introduce non-stop, ultra-long-haul flights from Singapore to the US in 2004, axed the service in 2013 because of poor yields.

United's San Francisco-Singapore service will be the longest scheduled B-787 flight operated by any airline and the longest scheduled flight operated by any US carrier, at 8,446 miles.

"We are very excited about introducing non-stop flights between San Francisco and Singapore," said Mr Marcel Fuchs, United's vice-president of Atlantic and Pacific sales.

He said: "This long-awaited service has been made possible by the newest version of our customer-pleasing Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and will offer unique benefits to customers travelling between our West Coast hub at San Francisco and Singapore.

"Customers arriving to San Francisco will have dozens of options to connect to other cities across the Americas."

With the launch of the San Francisco-Singapore service, United will terminate its service between Singapore and Tokyo from June 2.

The Boeing 787-9 aircraft operating the new San Francisco-Singapore service will feature a total of 252 seats - 48 in business class and 204 in economy, including 88 premium economy seats.

Changi Airport Group's senior vice-president for market development Lim Ching Kiat, said: "Singapore and the US enjoy strong trade flows and business ties, with many US multi-national companies basing their Asian or regional headquarters in Singapore.

"We are delighted with United Airline's new non-stop service to San Francisco. It will bring greater convenience especially to business travellers, who can use United's hub in San Francisco to connect to 25 major US cities, such as Seattle, Las Vegas and Denver."

Mr Lim added: "The new service would also potentially bring more US tourists to Singapore."

Changi Airport will continue to work with airlines and other partners to bring about more non-stop flights between Singapore and the US.

This will strengthen Changi Airport's position as the preferred gateway between South-east Asia and North America, Mr Lim said.

The demand for Singapore-US flights is growing strongly.

Between 2010 and last year, total passenger traffic between the two markets grew by an average of 4 per cent a year. In the 12 months to end-August, year-on-year growth jumped to 8.6 per cent, to nearly 700,000 passenger movements.