SINGAPORE - National carrier Singapore Airlines (SIA) will be increasing flights to East Asia and South-east Asia destinations in 2023 in response to strong projected demand.
As a result, flights to some destinations will reach or exceed pre-pandemic levels by March 2024, the SIA Group said on Tuesday.
These destinations include Bangkok, Osaka, Seoul, Taipei and Ho Chi Minh City.
Flights to Busan will also resume with four weekly flights by June 2023. The last time SIA flew to South Korea’s second-largest city was in March 2020, when it also operated four flights a week.
Besides resuming flights to Busan, SIA will also add another flight service to Seoul, for a total of four daily flights by June 2023.
The carrier will also be increasing its flights to Australia starting May 2023. The A380 aircraft will return to Melbourne after almost four years for daily flights while Sydney will see another daily A380 flight in addition to its current one.
Ms JoAnn Tan, the senior vice-president of marketing planning for SIA, said: “As we restore our network to these regions closer to pre-pandemic levels, our customers have even more flight options as they make their holiday plans.”
Flights to Osaka will increase from four a week between March 26 and April 30 in 2023 to daily by May 2023. This brings the total number of flights between Singapore and Osaka from eight to 14 a week.
Those travelling to Taipei can expect up to twice-daily flights by June 2023.
Travellers to Hong Kong currently have one daily flight. SIA will increase this to four daily flights by October 2023.
In South-east Asia, Phuket and Bangkok will see an additional daily flight each. There will be four daily flights to Phuket from March 26 and five daily flights to Bangkok in October 2023.
SIA has also reduced the number of flights on certain routes to the United States, but said that it remains “strongly committed to the North American market”.
“Even with the network adjustments, the airline will operate a higher seat capacity to the United States of America compared with its pre-pandemic levels,” the statement said.
From late March 2023, one of the three flights to Los Angeles will operate thrice weekly instead of daily while flights that serve the Singapore-Manchester-Houston route will operate three times a week instead of four.
However, a new twice-weekly flight between Singapore and Manchester will be added from April 2023.
Independent analyst Brendan Sobie of Sobie Aviation said that the change for the summer schedule is “rather incremental” and these adjustments are mainly in response to demand.
“What everyone is waiting for at this point is for China to reopen as most of SIA’s capacity excluding China is already restored,” he said.
On the reduction of flights to Los Angeles, Mr Sobie said: “The individual LA flight that is going from seven to three per week was traditionally at three, with the seven being operated only this winter.”
SIA saw strong demand for Los Angeles to and from South-east Asia as North Asian hubs that offered flights to LA, such as Taipei and Hong Kong, were closed or operating at significantly reduced capacity, he added.
“It is not surprising to see this adjustment as the North Asia hubs are now coming back.”