New Direct Flight from US to Singapore As Bilateral Ties Hit 50 Years

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by Melissa Newcomb
The United Airline’s non-stop flight from San Francisco to Singapore will be among the longest flights in the world. Image: Christian Junker, Flickr.

In January, United Airlines announced a non-stop flight between San Francisco and Singapore. The United flight will begin in June and will be the only direct route between the two countries until 2018, when Singapore Airlines plans to begin non-stop service from both Los Angeles and New York. The new San Francisco-Singapore route will be flown on Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, and will be among the longest flights in the world at 8,446 miles.

The new United service will begin shortly after the 50th anniversary of official US-Singaporean relations in April 2016. Though the US recognized Singapore since its independence in 1965, formal relations did not begin until the following year. The US and Singapore have been security partners since 1990, with subsequent security agreements signed in 2005 and in December 2015. Since 2005, the Singaporean Armed Forces have utilized a US military base in Arizona, which is 20-times larger than the entire country of Singapore, for training exercises every two years.

Singapore is also a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and one of America’s most important trading partners, ranking 13th as an export destination globally and 1st among ASEAN countries. The US exported $31 billion worth of goods to Singapore in 2014, or about $6,000 worth of goods per Singaporean citizen.

In 2014, the US invested nearly $180 billion into Singapore, and Singapore invested about $20 billion into the US. At the sub-national level, 39 states export $100 million or more to Singapore, with the top 7 states (Texas, California, Washington, Louisiana, Georgia, Illinois, and New York) each exporting $1 billion or more.

Trade ties go down to small businesses, as a local Singaporean vegan burger restaurant established a store in San Francisco, California in January this year. A popular New York burger restaurant will open a Singaporean location soon, reflecting the mutual cultural and culinary exchange. 

Melissa Newcomb is a Project Assistant at the East-West Center in Washington, D.C.