Record Singapore-US passenger numbers

Total traffic up by 10% year-on-year; airlines adding flights, including non-stop services

Passenger traffic between Singapore and the United States is at a record high, with airlines adding flights, including non-stop services, between the two countries.

In the 12 months to end-August, total traffic grew by almost 10 per cent year-on-year to hit 800,000 passenger movements, said Changi Airport Group. The jump is higher than the airport's overall growth of 5.3 per cent during the same period, and takes into account both non-stop flights as well as travel to the US via transit points including Hong Kong and South Korea.

The non-stop market was revived in June last year when United Airlines launched its service to San Francisco. A few months later, Singapore Airlines (SIA) followed suit, after pulling out of the ultra-long-haul market in 2013 due to weak demand and high costs.

On Oct 29, United started flying non-stop to Los Angeles. SIA will start a similar service to Los Angeles and New York when its new Airbus A350-900 arrives next year.

The new services are expected to also attract travellers from within the region to Changi Airport, which already offers the most non-stop flights from South-east Asia to mainland US cities.

The demand is strong from both corporate and leisure travellers, United's vice-president of Atlantic and Pacific sales Marcel Fuchs told The Straits Times.

The Singapore-San Francisco route, for example, "has exceeded our expectations" he said, and while the flight to Los Angeles has only just started, the potential is strong.

Singapore is an important part of United's presence in the Asia-Pacific, which covers 32 routes served by 223 flights a week, Mr Fuchs said.

Travellers will benefit from increased competition between airlines serving the sector, industry analysts said. For example, SIA is now offering return promotional fares of between $1,300 and $1,500 - about $1,000 less than what it usually charges - for flights to the US.

The market expansion is timely, said Dynasty Travel's director of marketing communications Alicia Seah. "The US is a key foreign investor in Singapore and vice versa. Many US companies also use Singapore as a regional hub for their activities in the region.

"We have seen increased demand from leisure customers too, so travellers will definitely welcome more flights and options."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 07, 2017, with the headline 'Record S'pore-US passenger numbers'. Subscribe