SIA to launch non-stop S'pore-LA flights

Singapore Airlines (SIA) will launch non-stop flights to Los Angeles on Nov 2, and increase capacity on its flights to San Francisco as part of plans to increase services to the United States.

This will give travellers more flight options and boost Changi Airport's status as a key hub, experts said.

The new flight to Los Angeles and non-stop services to New York - which the airline had earlier said will start in October - are expected to serve not just Singapore travellers but also those from the region, they added.

SIA will fly non-stop to the two US cities with the new Airbus 350-900ULR (ultra long-range) aircraft.

The airline has bought seven of the planes and expects to collect its first in September.

In an announcement yesterday, SIA said that flight SQ38 from Singapore to Los Angeles will fly three times a week - on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Daily operations will start from Nov 9 when more A350-900ULRs arrive.

From Dec 7, three more services per week will be added, increasing the total number of non-stop flights between Singapore and Los Angeles to 10 a week.

With the introduction of the non-stop flight, SIA will no longer fly to Los Angeles via Seoul from Nov 30.

There will, however, still be flights via Tokyo.

The airline said it will also increase frequency on the existing Singapore-San Francisco route with three more weekly flights, with effect from Nov 28. This will take the total number of flights to 10 a week.

"Our US services have always been popular with our customers and we are pleased to be able to provide even more travel options with the launch of non-stop flights between Singapore and Los Angeles, and an increase in frequency on the existing non-stop Singapore-San Francisco route," SIA chief executive officer Goh Choon Phong said in a statement yesterday.

SIA's announcement comes about a week after United Airlines said that it was pulling the plug on its non-stop Singapore-LA service by the end of October - less than a year after it was launched.

The airline said it would instead be adding a second daily non-stop flight for its Singapore-San Francisco route from Oct 28, subject to approval from the authorities.

SIA will be the first airline in the world to operate the A350-900ULR.

The ultra long-range aircraft will be configured in a two-class layout, with 67 business class seats and 94 seats in the premium economy cabin.

SIA currently has 21 A350-900s in its fleet, with 46 more on order including the seven ULR variants.

The airline currently operates 40 flights per week to the US cities of Houston, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

With the new flights, total US frequency will increase to 53 per week by December.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 12, 2018, with the headline 'SIA to launch non-stop S'pore-LA flights'. Print Edition | Subscribe