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Singapore Airlines termination of non-stops to US spells end to ultra long-range travel

An important chapter in aviation history and Singapore Airlines’ strategy for the North America market comes to an end over the next two months as SIA operates its last non-stop flights to the US. ( More...

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PhotoFinish 1
What makes sustaining ultra long range flights is finding 2 points at almost the exact opposite ends of the globe with 2 cities, one at each end that can both anchor the flight. Having lots of traffic at one end, even lots of premium traffic at that end is not enough. The other end must be worth visiting in sufficient quantities to not only maintain yield, but premium yield.

I assert that the world's grographi is not conducive to providing the required poles of traffic to merit such direct flights at this time.

The cost of fuel will probably not fall significantly enough to justify the routes with the economic distribution today. But at a future time, nearly polar opposite cities with sufficient economic activity may justify the return of ultra long range flights.

Delta would not succeed where SIA failed. Newark can provide more than sufficient O&D traffic (and to a lesser extent LA could too). Singapore can't provide sufficient premium traffic to LA/ NY, nor are there sufficient premium passengers needing/willing to travel to Sngapore at premium.

There are ample all-business flights out of New York (both Newark and JFK) to cities on the west coast and in Europe. These are wildly successful because there is plenty of O&D traffic at both ends for all these flights. I suspect these flights would work as ultra long range, if these city-pairs were at nearly polar opposites. There would be lots of premium traffic that would want to fly non-stop and would be willing to pay a premium to do so.

So I figure these long flights will increase in popularity in the coming decades as India's economy grows enough to justify such premium traffic. New York (either Newark or JFK) can handle it. Whatever city at the other end must justify the premium traffic also. Both in proving premium traffic to visit NYC, and being worthwhile as a premium destination as well.

You basically need 2 New Yorks or 2 Londons at almost exactly opposite ends of the world. The world's geography doesn't provide that now, but can some day.
matt jensen 0
If I'm flying to the Orient, it's not on DAL, AAL or UAL. My choices are Thai, SIA or Cathay Pacific. If you've never flown these carriers you are missing something. They have superior service (note the word service) even in economy.
PhotoFinish 1
That's nice, but the article us about sustainability of ultra long range flights. Can any of these airline's major hubs support these super long flights to major cities at nearly the opposite end of the globe.

SIA's example is that Singapore cannot. It's flight into the New York market (at Newark) is not profitable or they would keep it. Not enough people need to get to Singapore non-stop from NY at a high premium, nor vice versa. The problem is not the NY market (the largest in the world), but the other end. Singapore can't sustain the flight, especially at today's high fuel costs.

So in order to make these ultra long range flights workable, you you basically 2 cities that are at nearly opposite ends of the world AND enough premium passengers passengers that are willing to pay a high premium to travel non-stop between these 2 cities. This means mostly O&D. Transiting traffic from any significantly distant point will be closer to the destination and can connect through some other layover city that is more convenient and without the ultra long haul fuel premiums.

So very far from each other, and pressing need for lots of premium passengers to travel regularly between the 2 cities.


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