Star Alliance member Singapore Airlines (SIA) has upgraded its Cairns service to the Airbus A350-900, a significant capacity and product upgrade compared to the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft previously deployed on the route.

Singapore Airlines regional vice president for the Southwest Pacific region, Louis Arul, said the upgrade to a larger aircraft on the Singapore-Cairns route showed the airline’s confidence in the North Queensland market.

“The introduction of the Airbus A350 is a significant investment in the future of this direct major tourism and cargo route, reflecting our confidence in North Queensland’s tourism and trade market,” he said.

The A350-900 deployment builds on the almost 10-year history of the SIA Group in Cairns.

SQ203 will operate the Singapore to Cairns route as a four-times weekly service on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, departing Singapore at 0840 and arriving in Cairns at 1700 local time.

SQ204 will then again depart from Cairns to Singapore at 1815 and arriving in Singapore at 2240 local time.

The SIA A350-900 medium-haul-configured aircraft seats 303 passengers – 40 in 1-2-1 business class and 263 in 3-3-3 economy class.

Singapore Airlines already supports 13 per cent of international demand for Cairns travellers, said Cairns airport chief executive officer, Richard Barker.