The number of direct flights between the United States and Asia continues to increase, shortening the distance between the two regions. United Airlines and China Airlines are helping to further these connections, introducing new direct flights from Los Angeles to Asia.
At the end of October, United launched the first nonstop flight from Los Angeles International Airport to Singapore. This follows United’s introduction of the first ever direct flight between the United States and Singapore, when it opened a new route from San Francisco in 2016. Meanwhile, China Airlines is getting ready to open a new route between Ontario, California - home to the second largest airport in the Los Angeles area - and Taipei, Taiwan. China Airlines will soon begin trial flights between the two cities, before the route officially debuts next year. The new flight builds upon the airline’s other flights to California, including a direct flight between San Jose and Shanghai that began last year.
These new routes will help facilitate easier travel to the popular tourist destinations of Los Angeles and San Diego, which are also home to large Asian-American communities. The flights will offer greater access for tourists and business travelers to and from Asia, as California continues to expand its economic ties with Singapore and Taiwan. Just this year, the Port of Oakland saw a major increase in its vessel services to Southeast Asia, adding an additional weekly Singapore call to help enhance shipping ties as the region emerges as a major manufacturing center for US markets. Exports from California to Singapore have overall greatly increased, reaching $3.9 billion in 2016. California’s trade with Taiwan, the state’s fifth largest export market, is even stronger. Ties with Los Angeles are particularly robust, with the Los Angeles Customs District and Taiwan sharing a massive $17 billion two-way trade relationship in 2014. California also has the largest population of Taiwanese in the United States, while Los Angeles County is home to the largest Taiwanese population of any county in the nation.
Savannah Shih is a research intern at the East-West Center and a graduate student of Asian Studies at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.