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SIA's non-stop service to Los Angeles expected to launch 'quite soon'

[SYDNEY] Singapore Airlines (SIA) is expected to launch non-stop services to Los Angeles using the ultra long range (ULR) version of the A350-900 "quite soon", chief executive Goh Choon Phong said.

SIA, which is the launch customer for the A350-900ULR, has seven of the planes on order. It will take delivery of its first one in September and receive all seven by end-March next year. All seven will be used for the US.

"It's going to be within a year," said Mr Goh, pointing out that the airline will receive all seven by the end of the financial year next March. He was speaking to reporters at the sidelines of the 74th annual general meeting of the International Air Transport Association (Iata), which is taking place in Sydney.

Come Oct 11, SIA will relaunch the world's longest commercial flight as it commences non-stop services between Singapore and New York using the ultra long range version of the Airbus A350-900.

The service to Newark Liberty International Airport will start off three times a week, but daily operations will begin from Oct 18 after an additional A350-900ULR aircraft enters service. The aircraft will be configured in a two-class layout, with 67 Business Class seats and 94 Premium Economy Class seats.

SIA previously pulled the plug on its non-stop services to Newark and Los Angeles in 2013, amid weak corporate demand and high fuel prices.

In addition, SIA already flies direct to San Francisco using an A350-900. It also operates one-stop services to New York (via Frankfurt) and Los Angeles (via South Korea, and via Tokyo).

Of the non-stop service to San Francisco, Mr Goh said: "That seems to be doing well. We'll probably keep part of the operations on. Whether we will add more is something that will be under review."

Aside from New York and Los Angeles, it is also reviewing the feasibility of a third non-stop destination in the US using the A350-900ULR.

Meanwhile, Mr Goh said that cargo yield growth - which rebounded last year - could ease this year as supply catches up with demand. According to figures from Iata, global cargo yields expanded by 8.1 per cent last year.

"The cargo market last year was very good for most airlines. There was a huge increase in demand and the supply didn’t have time to react, and therefore there was a huge yield improvement. Whether or not that repeats this year remains to be seen, but I would expect more people would be able to plan ahead and add capacity," he said, adding that could affect yield.

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