Quite a flurry of SQ news on the interwebs right now with new route announcements and changes to existing routes. Let’s get into the details-
SQ to begin non-stop service to SFO
The A350 opens a lot of strategic possibilities for SQ, one of which is the reinstatement of the non-stop flights to the USA. These are important for SQ to remain competitive by offering non-Singapore based flyers the option of a 2 stop service to the USA rather than the existing 3 stops.
SQ has just announced that from 23 October 2016 it will commence non-stop service to SFO. This flight will be operated by an A350-900.
SQ32 will leave Singapore at 0830 and arrive in SFO at 0705 on the same day (I love how you arrive before you leave with this new shorter flight) for a flight time of 14h35mins
SQ31 will depart from SFO at 0835 and land in Singapore at 1820 the next day.
sidenote: United Airlines is already operating a non-stop flight from SIN-SFO, but on a B787-9 aircraft (and a much inferior cabin product).
The aircraft will have 253 seats in Business Class, Premium Economy and Economy , but what’s interesting is that depending on time of year there will be headwinds and therefore payload restrictions meaning that some seats will not be offered for sale.
With this move, SQ will get rid of the existing daily SQ15/16 which goes to SFO via ICN, reallocating that aircraft to the newly launched 2nd daily SIN-LAX flight (see below)
The other implication of this change is that there will be reduced F award space to the USA, given that the non-stop SQ31/32 will fly without F seats.
Remember that this is all building towards the eventual relaunch of the non-stop service to New York City sometime in 2018 (which will require the A350-900LR)
SQ to add additional SIN-LAX flight and downgauge existing flight from A380 to 77W
SQ currently operates a daily 1 stop service from SIN-LAX via NRT using the A380. From 23 October 2016 they will operate a second daily flight using the 77W reallocated from SQ15/16. The existing SQ11/12 will be downgauged to an A380.
The new flight will take the operating number SQ7/8. SQ 8 will leave Singapore at 0245 and arrive at LAX at 0545 the same day.
SQ 7 will leave LAX at 1630 and reach Singapore at 0540 the next day
If you’re got a confirmed Suites booking from SIN-LAX on the A380 that leaves on 23 October 2016 or later, your award will be changed to an F booking. Nothing you can do about that, sadly.
SQ and the A380 have an interesting relationship. SQ paid a big premium to be the launch customer for the A380, wanting all the prestige that came with being the first to fly the largest airliner in the world. But then the economy changed and it became inefficient to operate a 4 engine large capacity aircraft, making SQ less nimble to chop and change capacity. A senior supervisor I spoke to on a flight a few months ago told me that SQ is desperate to offload its A380s, but under its agreement with Airbus it needs to operate them for at least a certain number of years first.
On the other hand, SQ has announced its intention to refurbish its A380s in 2017 including a new Suites product, so I don’t think they’ll get rid of all the A380s, just make them a smaller part of the overall fleet.
SQ to discontinue BCN-GRU route
This route will be terminated from 20 October 2016.
Not surprised by this at all. The last two times I flew the route the business class cabin was about 25% full for BCN-GRU. You can easily find 6+ business saver awards for redemption which is unheard of for SQ
I always thought GRU was a bit of a strange destination for SQ, given the historic lack of Singapore investment in South America.
I’m excited about the introduction of the non-stop flight to SFO, given that it’s my most common gateway for entering the States. Let’s hope that award space on this flight proves more generous than SQ’s historical pattern on other US flights (SQ25/26 comes to mind).