Singapore Airlines set for non-stop flights to New York, Los Angeles

By David Flynn, March 29 2018
Singapore Airlines set for non-stop flights to New York, Los Angeles

Singapore Airlines will resume direct flights to New York and Los Angeles from the end of this year, with another North American destination tipped to appear on the non-stop map in early 2019.

The airline is the global customer for an ultra-long range version of the Airbus A350-900, with an order for seven jets which will carry more fuel and fewer passengers than the standard A350s it already flies.

The A350-900ULR is expected to have just 162 seats across two classes – 68 in business class and 94 in premium economy – which is approximately 80 less than its standard-issue A350-900s.

In effect, this will be updated version of its old Airbus A340 Singapore-New York service which once sported 64 business class and 117 ‘executive economy’ seats, before the airline switched in 2008 to an all-business class configuration of 100 seats.

The move will also mean that Singapore Airlines will be flying three versions of the Airbus A350: its original 'standard' three-class edition, the two-class ultra long-range version, and a regional A350 variant fitted with all-new regional business class seat and economy, but without premium economy.

Speaking with Australian Business Traveller on the sidelines of the delivery flight of the first Boeing 787-10, Singapore Airlines CEO Mr Goh Choon Phong dismissed speculation that the airline would abandon plans for non-stop flights to Los Angeles following United Airlines' launch of the same route on a Boeing 787-9.

"We think LA is a good market and our customer continue to tell us that they would like us to have direct flight to Los Angeles, just like they have been telling us they would love to have New York direct as well, so we will continue to do that."

"It is part of competition, we are not afraid of it, so we will continue with the LA plan."

Singapore Airlines currently flies to New York via Frankfurt and to Los Angeles via Tokyo and Seoul.

Goh also tipped that a third non-stop North American destination was on the cards.

"Potentially there will be one more destination we can consider, we do have a plan but we will announce it when we can announce it."

Singapore Airlines has previously said that it sees the appeal of the direct flights to be a less about speed and more about skipping the stop-over so that passengers can enjoy an unbroken stretch of flying time.

Airbus is also pitching the A350-900ULR to Qantas and Air New Zealand for their own non-stop services to New York, going up against Boeing’s 777-8 series.

David Flynn travelled on the delivery flight of the Boeing 787-10 as a guest of Singapore Airlines


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Nov 2012

Total posts 13

Slightly incorrect. It should be a fourth nonstop destination as SFO is already served

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 388

David, these aircraft have much lower fuel consumption per passenger km than the A340-500s SQ had when it abandoned the nonstops to LAX

To what amount per litre do you perceive aviation turbine fuel would have to rise for SQ to again have to review these flights post-introduction?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2561

No idea, as I’m not an aviation analyst (or even an ‘aviation’ journalist for that matter).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jun 2015

Total posts 57

Ask FLX, he will present you with a report

22 Jan 2018

Total posts 101

I vote Chicago ! And perhaps a return to YVR!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Sep 2012

Total posts 233

Yes, hopefully Vancouver non-stop is on the cards now with more demand and more efficient aircraft.

15 Feb 2018

Total posts 43

Well done Singapore Airlines. Congratulations all round.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 695

I can see the A350-900ULR working brilliantly on SIN-(NYC) for SQ .. but ..

it seems that SQ is intent on ceding the entire Y market to UA on the LAX-SIN-LAX route. UA's B787-9 with some 260+ seats will have a way higher load factor and RASM could conceivably be higher as well.

Filling a daily SIN-(JFK) will be a bit of a task with an all premium (J plus Y+) configuration but the prospect of doubling down with a SIN-LAX with identical layout makes me wince. That is one huge expectation of 'premium' passengers.

The questions to be seen are whether

  • SQ will discontinue it's SIN-TYO-LAX service,
  • SQ & UA enter a revenue-share on SIN-LAX / LAX-SIN
  • SQ will look for other ULH routes for the A350-900ULR


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1423

Kimshep from personal experience UAs long range product is woeful. The 14hr LAX-MEL being an an absolute shocker (meagre food and rude service) even in an extra leg room seat. SQ has little to be afraid of, and won’t be ceding much market to UA.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 695

I'll respect your opinion of UA's service level, patrickk - however, the discussion is about SQ having no ability to service Y class on SIN-LAX A350-900ULR's.

Given that the lower the price, the higher the level of service tolerance - it would be fair to suggest that UA's generally aggressive pricing on the LAX-SIN-LAX B787-9 service would attract the majority of Y passengers (non-stop route) rather than SQ's indirect (via TYO) SIN-LAX service.

Ergo, my point that SQ is, in effect, ceding the majority of the SIN market for Y to UA. Great service or not, no passenger wants to add another 90-120mins to a 14 hr trip.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

01 Apr 2018

Total posts 11

The old SIA A340-500 had 181 seats all up. This new ULR variant has just under 20 seats less of that. I'm thinking Premium Economy will still be in a 2-4-2 configuration, however with a few more inches of pitch.

I mean they could go with a 2-3-2 configuration, though that potentially could be more than 19 seats to take out.

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 55

As far as SIN-LAX goes, UA is only going to sucker-punch its rusted-on US customers. US travellers who care about a quality product, a premium product, will be booking on SQ, and of course SQ will be the default choice for Singaporeans. Just compare the business class seating of the SQ A350 (latest design 1-2-1) vs the UA 787s (old-gen 2-2-2), let alone the difference in meals (especially with SQ's the Book The Cook option) and overall the service which on SQ is far more service-oriented and gracious than UA.

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