Singapore Airlines (SIA) could be about to add service to the capital cities of Australia and New Zealand.
According to local media reports, SIA would operate between Singapore and Canberra four times a week using an A330.
The same aircraft would then continue across the Tasman to Wellington before returning to Canberra and then back to Singapore.
Apparently the news will be announced “next week” when SIA’s CEO Goh Choon Phong pays a visit to Canberra.
Why is SIA’s new services so important to Canberra and Wellington ?
It’s because both cities have a dearth of links to the outside world. Canberra handles only domestic flights with most going to Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney. It means international travellers going to or from Canberra must normally change planes in Sydney or Melbourne. The situation at Wellington is not much better. Its definition of “international” is reserved for a limited number of services bound for Australia. Most other services are domestic.
What would it mean for passengers ? It would allow them to reach the outside world without having to change planes in Auckland, Melbourne or Sydney. By flying to Singapore they would link with SIA’s global network with regular connections throughout Asia but also to the Middle East and Europe.
Why is it important for SIA ? Simply because SIA is a sixth-freedom transfer airline. As with Emirates or KLM (which both major on transfer passengers) SIA can only survive by encouraging travellers to fly through, rather than to or from, Singapore.
Sixth-freedom carriers must be smart and stay one step ahead of their rivals. They must constantly seek new opportunities. In recent years SIA’s passenger carryings (between Europe, Australasia and vice versa) have been dented by the Gulf carriers. So adding Canberra and Wellington will enable SIA to score points on its rivals.
Stay tuned to businesstraveller.com for further developments.