The United States (US) reports the world’s highest number of COVID-19 cases, with 8,520,307 total cases and 226,149 death tolls at the time of writing, based on the statistics provided by the Worldometer website.
At least 929 new COVID-19 deaths and 60,590 new cases were recorded in the US on Tuesday (20 Oct), as reported by the New York Times.
Despite that, Singapore Airline’s (SIA) executive vice-president for commercial Lee Lik Hsin stressed that resuming flights to New York is important in rebuilding SIA’s global network.
“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 in a news release on Tuesday.
While Mr Lee noted that the airline industry is facing challenging times amid the pandemic, he foresees “some early signs of optimism about a recovery in air travel”.
SIA also stated that it will start three weekly non-stop flights to New York’s John F Kennedy (JFK) airport on 9 November, adding that the flights will transport both passengers and cargo.
“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,” it stated.
At present, the airline is operating non-stop services to Los Angeles.
But SIA noted that it will continue to review its operations to the United States (US) 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.
“SIA anticipates significant cargo demand from a range of industries based in the New York metro area, including pharmaceuticals, e-commerce and technology firms,” it added.
Additionally, the flights will also cater to the growing number of transfer passengers who are allowed to transit via Changi Airport, said SIA.
“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 asserted.
The flight from Singapore to New York will be operated under SQ24, which will take about 18 hours and five minutes.
While the flight out of New York will begin on 11 November, which will be operated under SQ23 and fly three times a week. This flight will take 18 hours and 40 minutes.
The flights will operate using the Airbus A350-900 long-range aircraft on the route, which is configured with 42 Business Class, 24 Premium Economy Class and 187 Economy Class seats.
SIA had also outlined 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.
Netizens baffled with SIA’s decision to resume flights to New York, say they feel pity for the cabin crew
Over on social media, netizens are baffling with SIA’s decision to launch the non-stop flights to New York amid the pandemic, given that the US has the world’s highest number of COVID-19 cases.
Others questioned SIA’s decision, saying that the airline should start with countries that have managed the COVID-19 outbreak well, instead of resuming flights to the country with the highest COVID-19 cases.