Singapore Airlines Manchester-Houston Fifth Freedom Route Is Back

Singapore Airlines is to bring back its Manchester-Houston service from December 1st. The route, which was Singapore Airlines’…

Singapore Airlines Manchester-Houston Fifth Freedom Route Is Back

Singapore Airlines is to bring back its Manchester-Houston service from December 1st. The route, which was Singapore Airlines’ first transatlantic service from the UK when announced in 2016, will restart for the first time since the pandemic outbreak. Flights will run three times a week onboard the carrier’s fleet of Airbus A350-900s in a three-class configuration.

Singapore Airlines is resuming its popular Manchester-Houston service. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Singapore Airlines brings back Manchester-Houston

Singapore Airlines has announced it will resume its Manchester-Houston service after the route was suspended for around 18 months. Flights are set to restart on December 1st and run three times a week (Wednesday, Friday and Sunday).

The schedule is as follows:

  • SQ52 will depart Manchester at 10:05, arriving in Houston at 14:25
  • SQ51 will depart Houston at 18:50, arriving in Manchester at 09:30 the next day

Mohamed Rafi Mar, UK and Ireland General Manager at Singapore Airlines, said,

“We are delighted to resume our Houston flights and offer more travel options to our passengers from the Manchester region, after relaunching our flights to Singapore in the summer.”

Singapore Airlines Manchester-Houston Fifth Freedom Route Is Back
The Manchester-Houston service will operate three times a week on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Photo: Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

The decision comes after the U.S announced it will allow British travelers into the country from November 8th. Before the COVID pandemic, Manchester-Houston was one of the airline’s most popular ‘fifth-freedom‘ routes, as well as its first transatlantic service from the UK when launched in 2016.

Karen Smart, Manchester Airport Managing Director, said,

“It’s great to see Singapore Airlines bring back its Houston service, which pre-pandemic was very popular with our passengers across the north.”

Flights will be operated by the A350-900

The carrier’s A350-900 fleet will serve the Manchester-Houston route. Planes will be in a three-class configuration, consisting of 42 business (1-2-1 layout), 24 premium economy (2-4-2) and 197 economy class (3-3-3) seats.

Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-941 (2)
Singapore Airlines has the world’s largest fleet of Airbus A350s. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Singapore Airlines has a fleet of 55 A350-900s, overtaking Qatar Airways as the world’s largest A350 operator. Simple Flying got the chance to fly business class on one of SIA’s A350-900s back in 2019.

Karen Smart added,

“With the US opening up to British passengers from November 8 this route will be well received by the three million people across our catchment area that fly to and from America each year.”

35 years at Manchester Airport

Singapore Airlines returned to Manchester Airport this summer after an enforced hiatus, resuming its Manchester-Singapore service. This route is also served by the airline’s fleet of A350-900s in the same three-class configuration and runs thrice weekly.

Singapore Airlines Manchester-Houston Fifth Freedom Route Is Back
Singapore Airlines has operated at Manchester Airport since 1986. Photo: Getty Images

The airline has long retained a presence in Manchester (since 1986), with its return marking 35 years at the airport. Its popular Manchester-Houston route was first introduced in 2016 and became SIA’s first transatlantic service from the UK. Interestingly, the first-ever commercial A350 flight from Manchester was conducted by Singapore Airlines on the same route.

Are you happy to see SIA restarting its Manchester-Houston service? Do you have any plans to fly with SIA from Manchester? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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United Airlines Adds Premium Economy To More Boeing 767s And Airbus A321XLRS

It is now official: United Airlines will retrofit its remaining Boeing 767-300ERs with a dedicated international premium economy…

United Airlines Adds Premium Economy To More Boeing 767s And Airbus A321XLRS

It is now official: United Airlines will retrofit its remaining Boeing 767-300ERs with a dedicated international premium economy and offer the product onboard all of its upcoming Airbus A321XLR aircraft. Andrew Nocella, Chief Commercial Officer at United, revealed this on the carrier’s third-quarter earnings call. The reason for this is simple: United is seeing a lot of premium leisure demand and wants to capitalize on that.

Expect more premium economy capacity from United onboard its 767-300ERs and, in the future, on its A321XLRs. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

United plans premium economy on more jets

United Airlines has 14 Boeing 767-300ERs that have not yet undergone retrofits to feature the new Polaris business class hard product. The already retrofitted 767s are in two configurations, one featuring a premium economy product and one that only offers an extra-legroom economy product – both featuring the new Polaris product. On the 14 unretrofitted jets, United will be ensuring those planes have the dedicated international premium economy cabin, branded as United Premium Plus. While configurations are not out, United is expected to put a fair number of seats in this cabin.

Secondly, United has confirmed that it will be putting the cabin onboard its upcoming Airbus A321XLR aircraft. These long-range narrowbody jets are set to enter service in 2024. Specifically, Mr. Nocella stated the following on the call:

“We’ve made the decision to outfit our 14 remaining 767-300s with our new mid-tier Premium Plus product…We can also confirm that we will offer this separate mid-tier cabin on future deliveries of the Airbus A321XLR due in 2024.”

United Airlines Adds Premium Economy To More Boeing 767s And Airbus A321XLRS
United’s premium economy product is similar to a domestic recliner-style first class seat. Photo: United Airlines

United’s premium economy cabin

United’s Premium Plus product is a mid-tier premium cabin that is primarily found on long-haul international routes. This cabin offers a seat that is similar to a domestic recliner-style first class cabin with upgraded amenities. It is an upgraded experience compared to economy class, though a few steps shy of the lie-flat seating with direct aisle access that can be found in the Polaris cabin.

Also, on the call, Mr. Nocella stated that 50% of United’s revenue in the transatlantic leisure market came from premium cabins, which was a 13-point improvement compared to 2019. United has a lot of transatlantic exposure, so a result like this is huge for the carrier’s financials and sets it on a course to continue to perform well, especially in an anticipated record-breaking 2022 across the Atlantic, even if business travel comes back late or is structurally impaired to a more considerable degree than forecasted.

United Airlines Adds Premium Economy To More Boeing 767s And Airbus A321XLRS
United’s 767-300ERs are in the middle of an ongoing retrofit to include the new Polaris business class seat. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

United, in general, offers a fairly premium footprint on many of its aircraft. For example, the 767-300ER fleet includes a sub fleet of lightly loaded planes featuring 46 business class seats, 22 premium economy seats, 43 extra-legroom economy seats, and just 56 standard economy seats. The other retrofitted 767-300ERS feature 30 business class seats, 46 extra-legroom economy seats, and 138 standard economy seats.

Compared to Delta’s 767-300ERs, retrofitted 767s feature 26 business class seats, only 18 premium economy seats, 21 extra-legroom economy seats, and 151 standard economy seats. Delta has similarly been making a renewed push for more premium economy seats.

United will likely be putting somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-25 premium economy seats on the 767s. Historically, it has not sought to cannibalize business class capacity with more premium economy seats, but it could come at the cost of some extra-legroom economy seats.

United Airlines Adds Premium Economy To More Boeing 767s And Airbus A321XLRS
Premium economy is meant to be a cabin between economy and business class. Photo: United Airlines

Premium economy on the A321XLRs

The Airbus A321XLR is going to be a massive deal for United’s international fleet. Allowing for the retirement of the 757-200, these planes are set for a largely transatlantic deployment to some thinner markets, like an Edinburgh or a recently-announced Bergen. United has 50 of the jets on order.

Offering a dedicated premium economy on these routes indicates that United is looking to offer a little lighter footprint, as it will definitely be offering a lie-flat product at the front of the plane. It would not be surprising to see United add around 12-16 premium economy seats, ith 12-16 business class seats, and 100-130 economy class seats, just as an example, to get to a load of somewhere around 150-160 passengers.

United Airlines Adds Premium Economy To More Boeing 767s And Airbus A321XLRS
United’s A321XLRs are due in 2024. Photo: Airbus

United’s addition of this cabin onboard its newest aircraft will likely push other airlines to add premium economy on their A321XLRs. This would, namely, put pressure on American Airlines, which has also hinted that such a cabin could be found on the A321XLR, though it has not confirmed anything just yet.

Moreover, this shows that United is continuing to offer a standardized international product consisting of a lie-flat business class, dedicated premium economy, extra-legroom economy, and a standard economy offering. While it may come at the expense of seats on planes, the premium economy cabin has a lot of potential to grow yields compared to what an extra-legroom or standard economy cabin can bring in.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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