SIA and Scoot to resume flights from Changi to five cities in China from Nov 26, Latest Travel News - The New Paper

SIA and Scoot to resume flights from Changi to five cities in China from Nov 26

Singapore Airlines (SIA) will resume suspended flights to four cities in China from Nov 26, while budget carrier Scoot will lift its Covid-19-induced suspension on its Singapore-Changsha route.

SIA will roll out services between Singapore and four destinations – Chongqing, Chengdu, Shenzhen and Xiamen – which had been suspended in 2023 for regulatory reasons.

The flag carrier’s thrice-weekly return flights to Chongqing will begin on Nov 26, along with a new daily return service to Shenzhen.

A daily return flight to Xiamen will also start on Dec 3.

SIA will fly four round trips to Chengdu a week between Dec 3 and Dec 31. This will be upped to a daily service between Jan 1 and 29, 2024, before being reduced to thrice-weekly return flights from Jan 31, as the airline monitors demand.

These four routes were previously operated by the now-defunct SilkAir, which merged with SIA in 2021.

They will operate on SIA’s 154-seat Boeing 737-8 MAX jets.

Also from Nov 26, Scoot will resume return services to Changsha – a route suspended in 2020 during the pandemic – with Airbus A320 and the A320neo aircraft.

The budget carrier will stop flights to Shenzhen from Nov 25, as SIA begins daily services to the city the next day.

Together with a new, second daily SIA return service to Guangzhou, SIA Group will operate 150 weekly passenger flights to 22 destinations in China by the end of December.

This will bring SIA’s tally to 70 weekly services to seven Chinese destinations, including Beijing and Chengdu.

Scoot will operate 80 weekly flights to 16 destinations in China, including Haikou and Shenyang. These services include additional flights to Nanjing, Qingdao, Shenyang, Tianjin, Wuhan, and Xi’an.

China has reclaimed its spot among Changi Airport’s top five markets in terms of traffic, with the airport’s passenger traffic to and from China clocking half a million travellers in August, according to the latest figures released by the Changi Airport Group.

As China is a key market, SIA Group said it will continue monitoring the demand for air travel and work with the relevant authorities as it adjusts its network and capacity accordingly.

Independent analyst Brendan Sobie said that while SIA Group’s resumption of these five services is encouraging, flights to cities such as Kunming, Harbin and Wuxi have not been reinstated.

He noted that flight capacity to China in December will still be more than 20 per cent below December 2019 levels, when SIA Group had 195 weekly flights to 25 destinations, according to figures from global travel data provider OAG Aviation.

SIA Group’s seat capacity will remain at about 15 per cent below 2019 levels, even after the full reinstatement of flights to Beijing and Shanghai in the first half of 2024, Mr Sobie noted.

It is strategically important for SIA Group to fully restore its seat capacity to China, as Chinese carriers have already fully restored their capacity to Singapore, he added.