Sin­ga­pore Air­lines to boost US pres­ence with world’s long­est flight

Business World - - World Business -

SIN­GA­PORE — Sin­ga­pore Air­lines Ltd. is poised for a ma­jor boost to its US foot­print from Thurs­day evening as it re­sumes, af­ter five years, the world’s long­est com­mer­cial flight — a near19 hour non­stop from Sin­ga­pore to New York.

The route, com­bined with the air­line’s plans to restart non­stop ser­vices to Los An­ge­les and add more non­stop flights to San Fran­cisco next month, will give the pre­mium Asian car­rier its big­gest-ever US pres­ence.

The air­line has al­ready or­dered seven new ul­tra-long range twinengine Air­bus A350-900ULRs fit­ted with just 161 busi­ness class and pre­mium econ­omy seats — and no econ­omy class seats — for the US ca­pac­ity in­crease.

Sin­ga­pore Air­lines had aban­doned the marathon Ne­wark and Los An­ge­les routes in 2013 when high fuel prices made the use of four-en­gine Air­bus A340-500 jets un­eco­nomic.

It has since flown to New York’s JFK Air­port via Frank­furt and to Los An­ge­les via Tokyo and Seoul. The air­line’s rev­enue con­tri­bu­tion from the Amer­i­cas re­gion is cur­rently at 14%, down from 20% in 2013 due to the loss of the non­stop flights, Cor­rine Png, CEO of trans­port re­search firm Cru­cial Per­spec­tive, said.

“Op­er­at­ing trans-Pa­cific con­nect­ing flights opened Sin­ga­pore Air­lines to a lot more com­pe­ti­tion from other car­ri­ers and re­sulted in the loss of high-yield­ing busi­ness traf­fic,” she said. “We ex­pect Sin­ga­pore Air­lines to re­gain mar­ket share, es­pe­cially in the pre­mium travel mar­ket.”

She said ca­pac­ity would need to be man­aged care­fully given high fuel prices, but there should be suf­fi­cient de­mand as long as the US and global economies re­mained ro­bust.

Non­stop ul­tra-long haul flights can typ­i­cally com­mand an air­fare pre­mium of around 20% ver­sus those in­volv­ing one or more stops, ac­cord­ing to travel in­dus­try data, given their pop­u­lar­ity with time­sen­si­tive busi­ness trav­el­ers.

How­ever, Sin­ga­pore Air­lines has been of­fer­ing low ini­tial fares on its US non­stop routes, in­clud­ing as lit­tle as S$1,438 ($1,040) re­turn for pre­mium econ­omy on Sin­ga­pore-Ne­wark, CAPA Cen­tre for Avi­a­tion Chief An­a­lyst Bren­dan So­bie said.

“While it’s early days, there will be ques­tions whether the lat­est at­tempt at US non­stops will be prof­itable for Sin­ga­pore Air­lines given the very in­tense com­pe­ti­tion in the Sin­ga­pore-US mar­ket, ris­ing fuel prices and the large num­ber of pre­mium seats Sin­ga­pore Air­lines has to fill on the seven newly de­liv­ered A350900ULRs,” he said.

Brent crude prices LCOc1 are cur­rently trad­ing near $85 per bar­rel, sig­nif­i­cantly be­low a 2013 peak of about $119 but still up about 27% so far this year. The bench­mark is on track for its third straight year of gains.

United Air­lines of­fers non­stop flights from Sin­ga­pore to San Fran­cisco, while other car­ri­ers like Hong Kong’s Cathay Pa­cific Air­ways Ltd. and Tai­wan’s EVA Air­ways Corp. com­pete with one-stop Sin­ga­pore-US of­fer­ings.

The Sin­ga­pore-Ne­wark route will top Qatar Air­ways’ Do­haAuck­land route as the world’s long­est, but Aus­tralia’s Qan­tas Air­ways is con­sid­er­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of an even longer 20hour Syd­ney-Lon­don flight from 2022. —

A SIN­GA­PORE AIR­LINES Air­bus A330-300 air­plane ap­proaches to land at Changi International Air­port in Sin­ga­pore, June 10.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.