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United and SIA seeking to codeshare for the first time

20 May 2016 by Clement Huang
United Airlines and Singapore Airlines (SIA) have approached the US Department of Transportation (DoT) seeking permission to begin codeshare flights on July 1. According to the DoT filing, SIA intends to codeshare on United’s flights from Houston to Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Miami, Tampa and New Orleans. The move should significantly improve SIA's connectivity options, given that Houston is currently the only US gateway that SIA does not offer any transfer flights from. Leveraging United’s domestic strength would rectify this. While the codesharing partnership would only cover flights to the eight destinations out of Houston initially, both carriers have also asked for blanket authorisation to codeshare on other routes within their respective networks. Singapore Airlines' A340-500 The move is also noteworthy as it represents a warming of the two carriers' previously frosty relationship, which reportedly began back in 2000 when United fiercely objected to SIA’s entry into Star Alliance due to the added competition this would mean for United and its then-partner Thai Airways. Also telling was the fact that when SIA was forced to retire its A340 service to Los Angeles and New York due to poor fuel efficiency, the Singaporean carrier chose to sacrifice a slice of the market rather than partner with United on its US flights. In fact, the two carriers have never been involved in codesharing before. United B787-9  However, hard times in the aviation market seem to have fostered a rekindling. Growing competition from the ME3 has hurt both carriers, with SIA's bottom line particularly suffering since having to drop non-stop US flights. Compounding the problem for SIA is the fact that United is gearing up to launch non-stop flights from San Francisco to Singapore next month. However, a codesharing agreement on this route would be a rewarding one for both parties. While SIA customers would once again enjoy a non-stop option for flights to the US, United would be able to leverage Singapore’s position as a Southeast Asian hub and gain access to feeder traffic from other destinations in the region. For more information, visit singaporeair.com and united.com Clement Huang
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