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SAS Suspends Hong Kong Route Indefinitely



SAS A340 HKG 2019
According to the Norwegian media E24, SAS is closing its route to Hong Kong due to continuous lower than expected demand & ticketing revenue, and this lack of financial viability has been worsened by Covid-19. With the current situation around the global corona pandemic in which the demand for air travel become non-existent, SAS has decided to suspend the route to Hong Kong. The route was relocated to Copenhagen Airport from Stockholm before due to low profitability.
SAS A330 @ HKG
SAS A330 @ HKG George Lau

With the spread of the pandemic, it has a huge impact on the tourism industry, and it has a fatal blow on the aviation industry. Faced with a large deficit every day, airlines have to take some extreme cost reduction measures to maintain continued operations. Now it seems that SAS’s Hong Kong route may be one of the routes that will not return after the crisis. The demand for the route was already lower than expected earlier this year and this was reinforced by the Covid-19 pandemic. Given the current situation, […] ‘where demand for flights is non-existent’ […], SAS has decided to suspend the route to Hong Kong indefinitely.

SAS Business Cabin A350 Press Image
SAS A350 Business Cabin

On January 30, SAS announced the first cancellations of its long-haul operations to mainland China (Beijing and Shanghai) until March 29, but flights to Hong Kong was operating as normal. The outlook for the Hong Kong route for the rest of the year was be affected by the continuous evolution of the Covid-19 virus, which resulted in 90% of SAS’s workforce being furloughed.

SAS Fleet Grounded Picture From Nettavisen
SAS Fleet Grounded Picture From Nettavisen

The SAS route to Hong Kong was initially launched in September 2015 after the heavy restructuring in 2012 pressured by its owners and banks. At that time the route was operated between Stockholm and Hong Kong at an unattractive slots pair which makes it difficult to attract business passengers.

In April 2018, with the introduction of the new Swedish aviation tax, it became clear that SAS would have to move the Hong Kong route to Copenhagen in an attempt to optimise expenditure and profitability. The move from Stockholm took place from the winter program 2018 and changes were also made to the slot times to better prepare the route for better earnings as SAS was planning to fly the route with their newly received A350s later.

SAS New Livery, Courtesy Of SAS
SAS New Livery

The social unrest in Hong Kong last year put a financial strain on the route and the outbreak of the corona virus quickly put further pressure on the route before all SAS long-distance routes were canceled, as of now the industry is expecting demand not to come back to pre-covid-19 levels for at least two years, and SAS would use this route cut to clear out capacity to phase out their A340s fleet earlier than expected.

For passengers already booked on flights with SAS to Hong Kong, they have been notified via email that they will be rerouted via their remaining destinations from Shanghai and Beijing onward through its partners Air China and China Eastern.

SAS B767-300s

All of SAS’s long-haul flights were flown by B763s for a brief period of time in history. From 1993 until late 2001, when SAS received their first A340, B763s were the only long-haul aircraft in their fleet, SAS’s intercontinental route network had shrunk significantly from the era between 1970s-1980s. By the early 1990s, all service to South America and Africa had been discontinued, leaving a relative handful of intercontinental destinations on their route map, serving only North America and Asia. 

SAS B767-300 LN-RCD @ HKG In 1995 by Andrew Hunt

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. dj-kahled

    April 20, 2020 at 7:49 pm

    oh oh oh, okay SAS go sucks, they can’t compete with any airline in Asia.

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Route Network

Singapore Airlines To Bring Back The World’s Longest Non-Stop Service To JFK



Singapore Airlines A350 Livery

Singapore Airlines (SIA) will return to New York on 9 November 2020, when it launches non-stop flights between Singapore and John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Before the pandemic, Singapore Airlines host the title of flying the world’s longest flight by a whooping distance of 15,344 km between Singapore Changi and Newark Liberty airport. The airlines claims by shifting to JFK International Airport would allow them to better accommodate a mix of passenger and cargo traffic on its services to New York in the current operating climate. 

Singapore Airlines’s non-stop services to New York would also be supported by the growing number of transfer passengers who can now transit via Singapore’s Changi Airport.

SIA also 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 U.S. Northeast to Singapore, which serves as a regional distribution hub for many major U.S.-based companies.

Singapore Airlines Business Class Onboard B787
Singapore Airlines Business Class Onboard B787

Singapore Airlines will also be operating the route with a 3-class configuration Airbus A350-900 long-range aircraft. This aircraft is configured with 42 Business Class, 24 Premium Economy Class and 187 Economy Class seats.

Today, SIA operates non-stop services to Los Angeles.

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 country.

“Operating these flights between Singapore and New York’s JFK International Airport represent an important step in the rebuilding of our global network.

Non-stop ultra-long services are the bedrock of our services to the key U.S. market. We will continue to ramp up existing services and reinstate other points as the demand for both passenger and cargo services return.

Despite the challenging times for the airline industry, there are some early signs of optimism about a recovery in air travel.

Our customers say that they are increasingly confident about air travel, given the robust health and safety measures that are in place, as well as testing regimes to protect them and our staff.

This optimism is also driven by recent moves by countries such as Singapore, which are easing the restrictions on both transit and inbound passengers in a safe and gradual manner.”

Lee Lik Hsin, Executive Vice President Commercial for Singapore Airlines

Resuming New York Services From A New Home

Details of the flight services are shown below:

FlightFlight DaysDeparture Time*Arrival Time*Flight Time
SQ 24 SIN-JFKMon, Wed, Sat22573018 hours 5 minutes
SQ 23 JFK-SINMon, Wed, Fri22300610 (+2 days)18 hours 40 minutes
*All timings in local time

Starting on 9 November 2020, flight number SQ24 will operate from Singapore Changi Airport to John F. Kennedy International Airport three-times weekly, and same return frequencies under SQ23 will be flown from 11 November 2020.

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