United Airlines will focus on making its second daily Singapore-San Francisco route work before adding frequencies or considering other non-stop USA destinations from the Southeast Asian country.
The carrier’s second daily direct frequency on San Francisco-Singapore starts on 27 October. UA29 will depart San Francisco at 10:55 local time, and arrive in Singapore the evening of the following day. The return service, UA28, departs in the evening, arriving mid-evening in San Francisco.
The new route replaces the carrier’s existing Los Angeles-Singapore frequency, and adds to its existing direct service on San Francisco-Singapore. United use Boeing 787-9s on the route.
Lawrence Chin, country manager Singapore for the carrier, says San Francisco is a better option for United than Los Angeles give the size of United’s hub there.
“Connectivity is very important,” he says. “As far as we are concerned, San Francisco is the largest hub for United to the Asia-Pacific, and its connectivity is better than in LA. Customers will definitely be able to be serviced from SFO's second flight. We're pretty comfortable with that.”
Chin spoke with FlightGlobal prior to a customer event in Singapore.
Chin declined to comment on the impact of Singapore Airlines’ imminent ramping up of premium direct capacity to the USA with the new Airbus A350-900ULR, equipped with 64 business class and 117 premium economy seats. In the coming months, SIA will start operating direct to New York and Los Angeles with the aircraft. It will also add an additional frequency on Singapore-San Francisco, complementing its existing daily service, operated with a baseline A350-900.
“The market between Singapore and the USA is robust, and everybody is pretty clear on that,” he says. “We have a good product we're offering, two flights a day non-stop to San Francisco, operating one in the morning, and also an option to fly in the evening.”
Still, the carrier does not rule out more direct services to the USA.
“Let's work on the second San Francisco flight first,” he says. “[We want to] get that going well... and we're very comfortable with what is happening so far. United is one of these companies that will keep an eye on the needle at all times. If options are available in the future we will take a look, but right now it’s about making San Francisco work.”