Singapore Airlines (SIA) is significantly improving its product in the Perth-New York market as it relaunches nonstop services from Singapore to Newark.
- The resumption of Singapore-Newark nonstop flights in Oct-2018 will impact the Australia market as Singapore Airlines will offer among the fastest transit times in the Perth-New York market;
- Quick connections will be available in both directions, an improvement compared to the service offered prior to SIA suspending Singapore-Newark in 2013;
- Only premium economy and business class will be available on Singapore-Newark while SIA only offers regular economy and business on Perth-Singapore.
SIA announced on 30-May-2018 that nonstop flights to Newark will resume on 11-Oct-2018 with new A350-900ULRs. The route, which SIA served from 2004 to 2013 with A340-500s, will operate daily from 18-Oct-2018 after an initial week of three frequencies.
SIA also announced its new fleet of seven A350-900ULRs will be configured with only 161 seats, including 67 business class seats and 94 premium economy seats. SIA placed orders in 2015 for seven A350-900ULRs, all of which will be delivered in 2H2018 and be used to operate three nonstop routes to the US.
The resumption of Los Angeles-Singapore nonstop service, which was also served by SIA from 2004 to 2013, will follow Newark-Singapore with a launch date to be announced later. SIA has not yet announced a third route for the A350-900ULR fleet; Singapore-San Francisco is a possibility, replacing the standard A350-900 now operating the route.
For the Australia market only the Newark service is meaningful because flying via Singapore to the US west coast is very circuitous. To the US east coast, flying via Singapore from Western Australia particularly offers an attractive relatively direct routing.
SIA was a relatively larger player in the Perth-New York market before suspending the nonstop Newark service in Nov-2013. SIA has since only offered a two-stop product via Singapore and Frankfurt which is not competitive.
SIA’s new one-stop Perth-New York product is even more attractive than the one-stop product it had until 2013 due to schedule changes on Singapore-Newark and product upgrades on Perth-Singapore.
The new flight will depart Singapore around midnight and land in Newark in the early morning. Previously the flight departed Singapore in late morning, resulting in a relatively long layover (about four hours) when travelling from Perth. The new late night departure time allows for a short transit in Singapore of one or two hours (one hour during the southern summer season and two hours during winter).
The new flight will depart Newark in the late morning and land in Singapore in the early evening. Previously the flight departed Newark in the late evening and landed in Singapore in the early morning. Both the old and new schedule allow for a relatively short transit to Perth. Under the new schedule the transit time will be slightly over an hour in both summer and winter.
SIA will offer a total journey time between Perth and Newark of about 25 hours in both directions. This is similar to Cathay Pacific, which offers a total journey time of slightly less than 25 hours in both directions. Emirates has a similar transit time from New York to Perth but a longer 28 hour journey time from Perth to New York. Qatar has about a 28 hour journey time from Perth and an even longer 32 hour journey time from New York.
Etihad is suspending services to Perth in Oct-2018 and therefore will stop competing in the Perth-New York market. China Southern is the only other current one-stop competitor, offering a 26 hour journey from Perth but a 31 hour journey from New York. Unlike the other one-stop competitors, China Southern does not serve Perth daily.
Qantas has a two-stop product from Perth to New York with stops in Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney followed by New York. The Qantas option is about 26 hours from Perth and about 29 hours from New York. Qantas does not sell a connection via London, which would provide a one-stop offline product of about 26 hours.
The current SIA two-stop product in the Perth-London market is nearly 31 hours from Perth and nearly 28 hours from New York. The new one-stop option therefore saves about nine hours on the return journey.
From Singapore the Perth flight which connects with Newark was recently upgraded to the 787-10. As a result Newark-Perth business class passengers will have a lie flat direct aisle access seat on both legs.
However, there is no premium economy option on this flight (or any of SIA’s Perth flights) and therefore premium economy passengers will need to accept a regular economy seat on the Perth-Singapore leg. While this is not ideal, most airlines do not have a premium economy option in the Perth market.
The Perth to Singapore flight which connects with Newark is now operated with a 777-200, which has an outdated angled flat product in business in 2x2x2 configuration. However, this flight will likely be upgraded to 787-10s over the next few years as SIA phases out its 777-200 fleet.
SIA is not offering quick connections in Singapore between Adelaide and Newark. There are also not quick connections in both directions for Cairns or Darwin, which are SilkAir markets. There are relatively quick connections in both directions for Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney but the Qantas or United option via Los Angeles is about eight to 10 hours quicker. SIA therefore will not likely attract significant traffic from Australia on the new Singapore-Newark nonstop except for Perth.
SIA is focusing on Perth and regional connections within Southeast Asia – as well as the local Singapore-New York market – to fill up the resumed Singapore-Newark flight. For an analysis on the broader ramifications of this route, which will be the longest in the world, refer to the following report in our sister publication CAPA:
See related report: SIA corporate, premium advantage with Newark nonstop return