LONDON – Fifth freedom flights are becoming more of a frequent way for airlines to generate additional revenues. Let’s take a look at Singapore Airlines’ operations for this.
The airline has cut four of its Fifth Freedom flights over the course of this year, the Copenhagen-Rome (Replaced with direct services) as well as its Hong Kong-San Francisco services due to COVID-19 restrictions and its Taipei-Los Angeles route (Now operated under an EVA Airways codeshare).
It’s key to note also that its Vancouver-Seattle fifth freedom now falls under a codesharing arrangement with Alaska Airlines.
This leaves Singapore Airlines with six Fifth Freedom flights at the time of publication. Let’s get into them:
SQ26 – Singapore-Frankfurt-New York JFK…
The first is SQ26, which is a route that starts in Singapore, heads west towards Frankfurt, and then continues onwards to New York’s JFK.
From Frankfurt, its typical departure time is 0820 local time, and it arrives at JFK at 1115 local time.
This particular rotation is typically operated by Singapore Airlines’ Airbus A380 aircraft, based on data from RadarBox.com.
As you will come to notice, a lot of these Fifth Freedom flights continue onward to the United States.
SQ52 – Singapore-Manchester-Houston…
Manchester Airport is another place that acquires the advantage of Fifth Freedom flights, with Singapore Airlines operating SQ52 to Houston from Singapore.
This particular route is operated by the airline’s Airbus A350-900 aircraft on a couple of times per week basis.
Manchester Airport has had a significant history with flights like this.
A couple of years ago, Pakistan International Airlines used to operate services to New York, with the origin point being either Lahore or Islamabad.
SQ12 – Singapore-Narita-Los Angeles…
SQ12 is another example of Fifth Freedom, with the routing beginning in Singapore, stopping over in Narita, before continuing onto Los Angeles.
Based on data from RadarBox.com, the airline utilizes its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft for the particular Narita-Los Angeles rotation.
Frequencies for this route are more or less daily, which highlights the significant level of demand that Singapore Airlines receives on this particular route.
With a lot of Asian traffic typically heading eastbound to the United States, it does seem like a no-brainer to operate a flight like this.
SQ378 – Singapore-Milan-Barcelona…
Finally, we have SQ378, which operates the Singapore-Milan-Barcelona rotation, and is utilized by the airline’s Airbus A350-900 aircraft.
Some form of SQ378 operates almost every day, which again highlights the high level of demand there would be between two major cities in Europe.
What can be observed from these Fifth Freedom flights is that they are all in high-density-based destinations, which is where revenue capture is at its highest.
Offering that sort of connectivity and onwards with the rest of the world is what makes Fifth Freedom work for some airlines like Singapore Airlines.
For Singapore Airlines, it remains clear that the four Fifth Freedom flights do work out well and have taken no risk in operating such flights.
This is because if the service doesn’t generate that much revenue, then they can hand it off to a codeshare partner and make money there.
Like with other carriers who operate these sorts of flights, it is definitely a question to ask whether we could see more of these services going into the future.