Singapore Airlines to fly non-stop Airbus A350 to San Francisco

By David Flynn, June 15 2016
Singapore Airlines to fly non-stop Airbus A350 to San Francisco

Singapore Airlines will begin non-stop daily flights between Singapore and San Francisco from October 23.

The new direct route will see the airline's factory-fresh Airbus A350 jet pressed into service on a flight that'll take an average of 16 hours, but with about 90 minutes either side depending on the flight's direction and the weather conditions.

First impressions: Singapore Airlines' Airbus A350 business class

SQ32 will depart Singapore at 8.30am to reach San Francisco at 9.15am the same day, which is great timing for the business traveller.

The SQ31 return leg is wheels-up from Fog City at 10.45am for a 6.40pm arrival into Singapore the following day.

Singapore Airlines will also retain its current Singapore-Hong Kong-San Francisco route, while the current Singapore-Seoul-San Francisco flight will be re-routed to become a Singapore-Seoul-Los Angeles service from October 23.

The move comes ahead of Singapore Airlines' plan to restart non-stop flights to Los Angeles and New York from 2018 using a new ultra-long-range version of the Airbus A350, which will be fitted with all-new business class seats currently being designed for its second raft of Airbus A380s.

Airbus has confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that the ULR jets will have only around 170 seats, compared to some 300 in SQ's standard mid-range A350.

Read: new Singapore Airlines A380 first class suites, business class in 2017

Singapore Airlines previously ran non-stop ‘all business class’ flights to Los Angeles and NY-adjacent Newark on the older four-engined Airbus A340 fitted with 100 seats, but axed the service in 2013 due to the rising fuel costs.

Singapore Airlines currently flies to Los Angeles and San Francisco via Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo; New York via Frankfurt; and Houston with a stop in Moscow.

Also read: Can Singapore Airlines' Airbus A350 redefine long-range flying?

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

David

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.

11 Aug 2015

Total posts 23

Is SQ going to get use the ULR version of the A350 or just a standard one for the San Francisco service? If United can fly a non-stop service on the same route with a 787-9 in a normal configuration, can't SQ fly a standard version of the A350 in a normal configuration as well?

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

"Is SQ going to get use the ULR version of the A350...for the San Francisco...?"

Per Airbus+SQ plan, the 1st 359ULR won't be certified /delivered until 2018 @ the earliest.

It will be a regular A350 with current seat configuration.

SQ learns her lesson well this time as UNITED has flown since June 1'16 ulitilize B789 as UA 1 & UA 2.

A350 would be sufficient to cover range nonstop SIN either to SFO or even LAX.

No need to brag about this as UNITED has pionereed the route.

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 223

United haven't pioneered anything since the 90's.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Sep 2012

Total posts 213

Non-stop US to Singapore flights were pioneered by Singapore Airlines so I'm not sure what you are taking about. 

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

16 Jun 2016

Total posts 1

A 19 hour flight in steerage with 32" seat pitch?  Not I, thank you.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

Which "19 hour flight"?  Block time for SFO->SIN, as per topic on hand here, is less than 16h30m.

It makes sense. SFO has a lot of premium traffic and is a Star Alliance fortress hub, and the A350-900 has more range than the 787-9 (which is what United flies). SQ's A350s have a capacity of 253... only one more passenger than United's 787-9.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

"SFO has a lot of premium traffic.."

Agree.  This is the fastest route between Singapore's Hi-Tech industry and Silicon Valley.

"A350-900 has more range than the 787-9.."

I agree but not by much.  In similar cabin configs /weight per pax+bags assumptions(Airbus and Boeing use diff assumptions in practice), likely below 5%(Or about 500km) diff in max range per analysis by independent industry observers such as Leehamnews.com.

Wonder if it will require any reduction in passengers or freight to make the distance??  Whether United might also need to do something like that??

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

"Wonder if it will required any reduction in passengers...to make the distance?"

Answer can be found within SQ's official press release.  In a nutshell, SQ expects some payload restriction /seat blocking will be required occassionally on the westbound sector depending on how severe headwind will be on certain days(usually in winter).

06 Apr 2016

Total posts 1

Many other changes announced by Singapore airlines:

1. Cutting of the BCN-GRU tag on as service to Sao Paolo is discontinued. SIN-BCN will continue to be 3x weekly.

2. ICN-SFO tag on SIN-ICN-SFO is being cut as well. It's being rerouted to LAX so Singapore airlines now flies double daily to LAX via ICN and NRT from October onwards.

3. SIN-LAX-NRT is being 'downgauged' from A380 to 77W from October as well!

Jubbing,

Bring the current time for relevant issue. Pionered for brings back nonstop to connect changi and US port.

SFO-SIN never been flown nonstop before.

I know that SQ used to fly but cut off nonstop in 2013.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 451

You're cherry picking facts, very specifically.

Singapore will do very well on the route and despite Uniteds dominance on the direct route, presently, they will find it hard to compete - particularly as United wont refurbish those dreadfully old 787-9s for a long while........

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

"You're cherry picking facts, very specifically."

So do others, as I have observed, by focusing on intercon services from 1 city/hub to a whole region east of the Pacific but totally forgot about the other direction fm another city/hub to a whole region west of the Pacific....

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

"...despite Uniteds dominance..they will find it hard to compete - particularly as United wont refurbish...for a long while..."

If U believe mkt competitiveness depends mainly on seat design superiority/newness, that's a myth among commentators(i.e. not the vast majority of actual ticket buyers) but of course, feel free to dream on.  In 2016(Actually, since long before that), it depends on corp contracts, network connectivity and FFP attraction.  In OD mkt(i.e. travel only between SIN and SFO), UA @ SFO is every bit as strong as SQ @ SIN particularly in terms of corp travel contracts...may be even stronger than SQ thx to the huge global Silicon Valley gang.  In the connection mkt, UA @ SFO hub has no similar-sized peers along the entire W.Coast for N.American coverage.  In contrast for Asian coverage, SQ @ SIN hub faces a wide array or similar-sized/quality peers(e.g. JL, NH, KE, OZ, BR, CX, etc.) in E.Asia all competing for the same Trans-Pcf connecting traffic in the same geog.  In terms of FFP attraction, take a wild guess which 1 offer more generous redemption & earning opportunities by flying SQ or UA....and I'm willing to bet there're far more MileagePlus members in the U.S. than KrisFlyer members in Singapore.

"those dreadfully old 787-9s"

I can understand the J seat design being old on UA 787.  But the oldest 789 frame(And the manufacture date of the seats on board) in UA fleet is less than 2yrs old and U call that "dreadfully old" for an asset designed to operate @ least 25yrs?  Come on....

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 451

FLX... you take my, and others, points way too seriously.

Unless you're US military personnel, federal employee or recipient of US Federal funding, I do not see why you would choose UA rather than SQ on that route.

Does UA honestly think it can compete with SQ on this route even if SQ has a stopover in ICN or HKG?

What a joke.

The good think now is that we know we'll get a decent fare from UA as that is the only way it can fill it's cabin in that market - Polaris or not.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

"Unless you're US...., I do not see why you would choose UA rather than SQ on that route."

Because U failed to see other key factors(e.g. fare may be different especially in J where SQ is almost always more expensive than competitor(s) on any intercon routes) in the actual purchase decision beyond the narrow confine of seat design superiority/newness or even the inflight pax service superiority aspects.

"Does UA honestly think it can compete with SQ on this route even if SQ has a stopover in ICN or HKG?"

Are U even aware that UA has been doing precisely that for over  3decades and ALSO with stopovers in HKG or NRT?  If UA really couldn't compete against SQ, either UA has abandoned SIN long ago(It didn't and in fact expanded recently with SFO-SIN) or it has been burning cash for 30+yrs(But do U honestly believe stock mkt price-sensitive UA has more cash to burn than gov't-owned SQ?)

"What a joke."

It's a joke by those who are unaware or refuse to believe the fact that UA has been competing with SQ for a long time in the SIN-SFO mkt and has never quitted.

"...we'll get a decent fare from UA as that is the only way it can fill it's cabin.."

And what exactly is wrong for such UA mkt strategy to fill the cabin?....particularly when the global econ is not that well and the vast majority of corps & consumers are down-sizing their  travel budgets with SQ fare level becoming out of reach for many.  No need to take my words for it.  Just see SQ's own major investment action for future growth:  Scoot would not hv existed if SQ truly believe only charging & staying premium @ the top end of the mkt is sustainable in its future.

Wow! From all the responses by FLX, we've clearly hit a nerve.

Listen, I agree with all your points. You've pretty much confirmed that UA will compete on price on that sector, which is not a bad thing; I never once alluded that it was.

On the contrary UA operating out of Singapore has made it a lot cheaper for people to travel to the US, if they are willing to put up with the less than refined service.

All that I'm saying is that UA is being a little naive to try to steal the march on SQ with the non-stop service on a Polarised cabin. But good luck to them.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

"UA is being a little naive to try to steal the march on SQ with the non-stop..."

Naive to try or not, UA did it and is ahead(a.k.a. steal the march) of SQ in the SFO-SIN nonstop mkt by more than 4 mths.

It's possible UA may pull out of that mkt completely(i.e. mkt failure) as soon as SQ begin service in Oct and the sole reason, as many here religiously believe in, will be SQ being far superior to UA in terms of inflight product+service.  However, that hypothetical outcome still won't change the historical fact of UA being chronologically ahead of SQ in SFO-SIN nonstop mkt.  It just happened regardless of good or bad luck.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 451

FLX, if UA pull off the route, it is not due to market failure, it will be due to marketing failure.

Still, let's see what happens.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

"...It is not due to market failure, it will be due to marketing failure."

When I wrote "market failure", I meant "UA fail in that market" which I suspect is similar to your intented meaning re "marketing failure".  May be I did not worded it specific enough but then again, many folks here already said that I'm being too serious /detailed in my comments....

"....let's see what happens."

Agree.  But @ this point, I'm willing to bet that UA will stick around in SFO-SIN nonstop mkt for @ least 1-2yrs after SQ's entry into the same mkt.  In fact, some kinda of codesharing(or even a classic Trans-Pcf JV if regulators permit it) between UA and SQ may emerge later on despite their partnering relationship being a bit frosty @ the moment.

Strategically like SIN in S.E.Asia but unlike SEA and LAX, SFO is a well designed *A hub(i.e. pax friendly) for a vast number of connections across N.America @ an optimal geog location.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 451

I couldnt help but stew on this for a while.

I just carried out a dummy search for a one way flight on November 2.

United offers one way business (lowest for $3,676)

Singapore offers one way business (lowest for $2,728, flex for $3,369)

Both direct.

There is no way United can compete with prices like these.

Ha! I know who I would fly with. $2,728! Damn that's cheap!

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

Most likley your search did not go beyond travel between SFO-SIN.  As I said earlier, UA gets lots of Trans-Pcf traffic connecting @ SFO to/fm across the entire N.America...it dosen't need to rely heavily on sales from OD traffic.  e.g. if a biz traveller needs to fly  from Denver(Economically, among the fastest growing U.S. cities these days) or Austin(A major IT /Tech hub in the U.S. these days) to SIN, it's 1-stop, 1 carrier to fly UA all the way but not SQ nor any other carrier.  SQ may hv codeshares on some UA domestic flights(i.e. SQ buys UA domestic capacity with no visibility to the actual UA op cost of that capacity) but that's totally diff fm a JV in which actual op costs on every segment+fares are 100% disclosed+aligned between partners.

Anyway, do you seriously believe UA price their fares just to make sure no customers will buy tickets from them and their 789 goes out with lots of empty J seats to SIN?

I also tried about 6 dummy roundtrip J fare(Frankly, I don't believe 1way fare is representative of most J mkt pax demand) searches on diff days of the wk across fm Oct-Dec16 with travel originating from BOTH DIRECTIONS.  Results?  50% hv UA fare higher than SQ and 50% hv SQ fare higher than UA.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

BTW a few mins ago, I also did the dummy LOWEST AVAILABLE 1way J fare(all tax+surcharge included) search exactly for departure on 2Nov same as U did.  Results as below:

SIN->SFO

SQ=US$4,481 vs UA=US$4,914 i.e. below 9% diff

SFO->SIN

SQ=US$2,748 vs UA=US$2,738 i.e. below 0.4% diff

There is no way both of us are right about the lowest J fare bookable from united.com

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 451

Wow, $10.  Id happily pay a few hundred more $ to fly with Singapore.

And as for price....well, I did see that the neighbouring weekend... the one way business fares were $15,000.... LOL.  What the actual - obviously a full cabin with one seat left ;).

11 Dec 2015

Total posts 87

Have to wonder what SQ will do with all these aircraft.

I think they have something like 64 A350s still on order and only 50 or so of those will replace other aircraft types, plus they're launch customer for the fairly similar 787-10 with 30 on order.

Assuming they don't retire many of their 773s soon, it will be interesting to see where everything gets deployed

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Sep 2012

Total posts 213

I don't think they will employ all 67 jets at once  most probably order a batch of them at a time.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

"wonder what SQ will do with all these aircraft....64 A350s still on order..."

1st of all, 7 of them are 359ULRs mainly for new ULH missions not flown by any current SQ machine so they're for pure growth.  That leaves maximum 57 frames possible for replacement.  2ndly, not sure if U are aware that the contract included full freedom for SQ to swap between 359 vs 35K for about half of that quantity.

"only 50 or so of those will replace other aircraft types."

No idea how U came up with this number.  Anyway per normal SQ fleet cycle habit and ignoring the 380 fleet, there'll be 84 frames retiring fm SQ fleet by early 2020s.

Net result?  Only 3 frames in current order are NOT needed for fleet replacement.  What will SQ likely do re more significant fleet increase for pure growth?  My guess: Watch for Scoot fleet plan.

"..will be interesting to see where everything gets deployed"

No mystery though and pretty obvious by just looking @ various  numbers confirmed by SQ coming in & going out.

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 297

Please, this isn't a childrens message board. There is no reason to use "U" instead of "you". Actually, if you take into account having to press shift and u, then you are only saving one keystroke. Not to mention you give your post less credability.

11 Dec 2015

Total posts 87

[Deleted by admin - off-topic]

Hi Trogdor, please see our note at the bottom of this page asking users to stay on-topic, remembering that the topic here is SQ's A350 flights to San Francisco, not broader SQ topics such as the airline's A330 and Boeing 777 fleets. :)

Qantas

13 Jun 2015

Total posts 143

SQ has announced that it will terminate  ICN-SFO flights as of 22/10/2016. As of 23/10/2016, SQ will utilise flights from ICN-LAX.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 405

Flight times from a trial booking in Nov are 14h 35m SIN-SFO and 17h 45m SFO-SIN. 

Becomes a viable one-stop option for PER-SFO, though a long connection time on the return.

 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 451

As someone is Perth based, I can't believe I didnt even think of this option.

It just goes to show how large Australia is....a lot/most of the time it isn't very economical/time suitable for the east coast cities to go via Asia.  

A significant number of off-topic comments have been removed from this article in line with AusBT's comment policy, specifically:

  • Focus on the subject of the article and add value to the conversation.
  • We will delete comments that we consider to be off-topic and/or add no value to the subject;
  • 'Comment clutter' will be edited or deleted as we see fit and at our discretion, in the interest of keeping things on topic and on track.

Further comments that are also off-topic or add no value to the conversation will also be removed in line with our long-standing policy, remembering that the topics up for discussion here are Singapore Airlines' Airbus A350 flights to San Francisco, and by relation, United Airlines' partner Star Alliance flights between the same cities.

Anything else belongs on the relevant article or in the Q&A section.

19 May 2016

Total posts 14

The article says "SQ32 will depart Singapore at 8.30pm to reach San Francisco at 9.15am the same day, which is great timing for the business traveller."

The departure time is actually 8.30am, not pm.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

17 Jun 2016

Total posts 1

I think you made an error with flight times. Should be departure from Singapore at 8:30 AM not PM. Departure from SFO is in the morning not night. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

18 Jun 2016

Total posts 1

The article states: "The SQ31 return leg is wheels-up from Fog City at 10.45pm for a 6.40pm arriving into Singapore the following day." 

Has Singapore Airlines figured out how to avoid the International date line?  Every other airline would be arriving two days later, and not the following day...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 405

Looks like it should be 0835 departure and 1820 (+1) arrival in SIN.

07 Feb 2016

Total posts 23

Its good to see that SIA is once again growing in USA, albeit in a small but calculative way. I hope it explores more opportunities in the one-stop category to places like Chicago, Toronto and Vancouver as nonstop options are fairly limited given Singapore's geographic location. With the Airbus A350, SIA will have more flexibility when it comes to right sizing its long haul network, coupled with the Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-300ER.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

"I hope it explores more opportunities in the one-stop category.."

That category has precisely been the root-cause of SQ's weakness in the Trans-Pcf mkt where its toughest competitors in E.Asia(e.g. CX being most notable) all offer nonstops fm their hubs to N.America.  From the customer perspective, such 1-stop routing is no longer attractive especially for those connecting @ SIN where a Trans-Pcf journey with SQ becomes 2-stops when so many 1-stop options(Each on a single ticket/PNR with quick transit /layover time @ the connecting hub) exist....including tiny mkts such as KUL-Washington, CGK-San Jose, DPS-Houston, MNL-Boston, etc.  Fm the regulatory perspective, each intermediate stop country typically granted no more than 1 daily 5th freedom right to SQ where it has already exhausted such quota @ most viable locations(e.g. HKG, ICN, NRT) to reach N.America.

For these reasons, the SQ has been shifting its N.America network strategy fm 1-stop to nonstop and has gone to great length investing in such strategy(e.g. costly experiment by 345 earlier, essentially help Airbus to partially underwrite 359ULR development$+cert$, willing to accept occassional payload hit on SFO->SIN, etc.).....there just has not been any similar investment commitment fm SQ re 1-stop fm SIN to N.America for over a decade....actually, ever since non-stop Trans-Pcf services fm N.E.Asian hubs by all competitors hv more than tripled.

Despite your hope, I can only see that fm now on, every new SQ destination in N.America will be served nonstop fm SIN.

FLX, take note of the topic reminders we've already posted here, and as we've asked you many times in the past, please avoid taking the discussion onto off-topic tangents.

We've shortened your post above accordingly and must again remind that the topic of this article is not Singapore Airlines' broader fleet utilisation, SQ's Boeing 777s or the economics of flying to Canada.

Please, stick to the topic at hand. Anything else belongs in the Q&A section or on an article of relevance, not here.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

Dear Chris,

First of all, thanks for the reminder.  Secondly, is it a policy here to selectively target only a few(e.g. myself) but tolerated all others making similar off-topic comments?  e.g. user Arunabh made off topic comments over 2 days ago but received no reminder from you yet.  I purposely waited 2 days before I responded to Arunabh's comments just to make sure his/her comments are within your bounds.  Yet as soon as I responded to Arunanh's comment(i.e. It was not even me who started the off-topic comments), I got a reminder from you rapidly within 1 hour.

For weeks, I have been noticing similar discriminative approach  here only against my off-topic comments.  Until today, I kept my silence but it doesn't mean I didn't noticed.

Hi FLX, you're not the only user with off-topic comments removed from this and other threads, and personal reminders are also often issued by email rather than in the comments area to avoid any further clutter.

Some users make brief, off-topic remarks within an otherwise on-topic comment which we tend to leave alone if by itself, but you frequently draw on those passing comments and redirect the conversation in that direction with very long off-topic posts, which is when we then need to intervene to get things on track.

You've received plenty of warnings and reminders now and should be well aware of our policies, so please, keep your own comments on-topic and we won't have any problems. Now for the last time, back to the topic at hand.


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