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SIA to restart flights to New York amid 'early signs of optimism' in air travel recovery

SIA to restart flights to New York amid 'early signs of optimism' in air travel recovery

Singapore Airlines' Airbus A350-900 ULR. (File photo: Singapore Airlines)

SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines (SIA) said on Tuesday (Oct 20) it will resume its flights to New York amid "early signs of optimism" of a recovery in air travel.

The nonstop thrice-weekly flights between Changi Airport and New York's John F Kennedy (JFK) airport will start on Nov 9, the airline said in a news release.

“Operating to JFK International Airport would allow Singapore Airlines to better accommodate a mix of passenger and cargo traffic on its services to New York in the current operating climate,” SIA said.

The flights will also cater to the growing number of transfer passengers who can now transit via Changi Airport, it added.

READ: SIA Group passenger carriage down 98.1% in September amid ‘soft’ demand for air travel

SIA said it anticipates significant cargo demand from a range of industries based in the New York metro area, including pharmaceuticals, e-commerce and technology firms. 

"The new service will provide the only non-stop air cargo link from the US Northeast to Singapore, which serves as a regional distribution hub for many major US-based companies," it said.

SIA currently operates nonstop services to Los Angeles. The airline said it will continue to review its operations to the United States, and "assess the growing demand for air travel amid the ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic", before deciding to reinstate services to other points in the US.

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The Singapore-New York flights are an important step in rebuilding SIA's global network, said Mr Lee Lik Hsin, the airline's executive vice-president for commercial.

“Nonstop ultra-long services are the bedrock of our services to the key US market. We will continue to ramp up existing services and reinstate other points as the demand for both passenger and cargo services return,” he said.

There were also some “early signs of optimism about a recovery in air travel”, Mr Lee said. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of air travel remains unchanged and has a direct impact on economic growth and job creation, he added.

“That gives us confidence about the medium to long-term prospects for the industry."

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The flight from Singapore to New York, operated under SQ24, will take 18 hours and five minutes. The flights out of New York will start on Nov 11 and will also fly three times a week. Operated under SQ23, this flight will take 18 hours and 40 minutes.

The flights will use the Airbus A350-900 long-range aircraft, which has 42 business class, 24 premium economy class and 187 economy class seats.

SIA also outlined in its announcement some of the safety measures on board its flights.

These include airflow management systems, extensive cleaning before passenger boarding, protective equipment for crew members, having passengers wear their masks throughout the flight when they are not eating or drinking, and providing touch-free options, it said.

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Source: CNA/aa(cy)