Singapore Airlines to Restart Direct Flights to New York City
Singapore Airlines has just announced that dates which they will resume it's much anticipated direct service between Singapore and New York City - 11 Oct 2018.
As the launch customer for Airbus's A350-900 ULR (Ultra Long Range), Singapore Airlines will finally have the ability to (re)connect Singapore directly to cities in the United States. Back in Nov 2013, the airline had to scrap similar services to Los Angeles and New York after deciding that the A340s deployed on the route were not efficient enough. With the new jets, SQ will be able to service the route with a lean twin engine aircraft instead of a four engine gas guzzler. This is very important especially since - at 9,000 nautical miles - the route will be the world's longest. By comparison, a round trip between Singapore and London is a 'mere' 13,520 miles.
With the A350-900 ULR however, Singapore Airlines predicts that the direct service will be profitable whilst being able to maintain the legendary service standards the carrier is known for. Not only does the aircraft have a longer range than other jets in the fleet, it is also much more fuel efficient than its older counterparts. Moodlighting and a wider cabin will also undoubtedly elevate the passenger experience. The jet is also a winner for passenger comfort due to some under the hood improvements - its cabins can be pressurised at a lower altitude (6000 feet) and can be kept at higher humidity levels.
Singapore Airlines' new direct service to New York City will only comprise 67 Business and 94 Premium Economy seats, a move that won't surprise many. The carrier is, therefore, sticking to its guns as the service is primarily marketed at business travellers, mirroring the old service it used to operate with an A340. The reason for this? Comfort is paramount for a flight that will likely be close to 19 hours long.
Though the carrier has not released any pricing information, it's likely to charge a premium for the direct service given that it has mentioned adopting new in-flight meals and services specific to the service in a move to heighten passenger comfort. Nevertheless, the airline is confident that there will be sufficient demand despite the higher fares it will charge.
The choice to fly into Newark instead of JFK will also appease business travellers since there is a direct rail link between Newark Liberty and Midtown Manhattan. Singapore Airlines' Star Alliance partner, United is also based in Newark though that's less of a selling point since they both have a less than amicable relationship.
Leisure passengers can still expect the airline to maintain its existing A380 service between Singapore and New York City via Frankfurt. Currently, with the exception of San Francisco, the airline can only connect passengers with destinations in the United States via a secondary city be it in Europe or Asia Pacific.
Considering that Singapore Airlines has been losing significant market share to carriers like Qatar Airways and Cathay Pacific due to its lack of a direct service to the United States, this represents a new era of growth for the carrier. Add to this the recent devaluations of the Qatar Airways Privilege Club and AsiaMiles programs and Singapore Airlines looks like it is in a good position to recapture lost passengers (and revenue).
Singapore Airlines is expecting to begin the service on 11 Oct, flying to Newark on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. However, the service will be quickly augmented to a daily one as soon as the next A350-900 ULR joins the fleet on 18 Oct. Flights will operate under SQ22 (SIN - EWR) and SQ 21 (EWR - SIN) just like they did 5 years ago. Tickets are expected to go on sale tomorrow - 31 May.
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