In a surprise revival of a fifth freedom route following a gap in operation of 13 years, Singapore Airlines has announced that it will return to a long-forgotten service – between Taiwan’s capital Taipei and Los Angeles in the USA.
Three times weekly operation on the route will commence in late August 2021, using three-class Airbus A350 Long Haul aircraft, with full traffic rights in both directions between Taiwan and the USA.
Singapore Airlines has also recently opened a new “fifth freedom” route between Copenhagen and Rome, to tap into intra-Europe traffic, while low-cost subsidiary Scoot is doing the same on an Athens – Berlin routing.
Singapore Airlines has not served the Taipei – Los Angeles route since 1st October 2008, when four times weekly Boeing 777-200ER service, operating as SQ29/30, was discontinued.
It marked the end of 20 years for the carrier’s transpacific services via Taiwan, which had included routings like Singapore – Taipei – Honolulu – Los Angeles in the 1990s using Boeing 747-300 Combis and later Singapore – Taipei – Los Angeles using Boeing 747-400s.
The Boeing 777s not only flew slower than the jumbos, they had to take longer routings closer to diversion airports, for safety reasons.
At the time the airline was operating daily Singapore – Tokyo Narita – Los Angeles flights with Boeing 747-400s ‘MEGATOPs’, alongside daily non-stop ‘LeaderShip’ Airbus A340-500 services, which had recently been refitted with a 100-seat all-Business Class configuration, but the service via Taipei was not profitable and therefore got the axe.
Here’s how the flight schedule for the new flight (SQ36/35) looks:
Singapore – Taipei – Los Angeles
(from 25th August 2021)