Singapore Airlines’ New Capital Express Route

Even though Singapore Airlines is generally very well regarded for their service, they’re not doing very well financially. As a matter of fact, they’ve been losing money on a majority of their longhaul flights since 2009, due to the competition they’ve faced from low cost carriers on regional flights and from the Gulf carriers on longhaul flights.

Singapore-A380

Singapore Airlines has long operated a variety of fifth freedom routes, many of which have been necessary due to Singapore’s location. For example, all of their routes between the US and Singapore operate via a third city, ranging from Frankfurt to Hong Kong to Moscow to Seoul to Tokyo (though they’re hoping to restart nonstop service between the US and Singapore in a few years).

Singapore Airlines has just announced a rather creative new capital to capital to capital route, including a fifth freedom sector, which I’m still trying to make sense of.

As of September 20, 2016, Singapore Airlines will be launching 4x weekly flights between Singapore and Canberra, with connecting flights to Wellington. For those not aware, Canberra is the capital of Australia, while Wellington is the capital of New Zealand, so this is being referred to as the “Capital Express” route, as it’s connecting the capitals of three countries.

SINCBRWLG

Via airlineroute.net, the flight will operate with the following schedule:

SQ291 Singapore to Canberra departing 11:00PM arriving 8:35AM (+1 day)
SQ291 Canberra to Wellington departing 9:50AM arriving 3:05PM

SQ292 Wellington to Canberra departing 8:15PM arriving 10:05PM
SQ292 Canberra to Singapore departing 11:30PM arriving 5:50AM (+1 day)

The flight will be operated by a 777-200ER, featuring 38 business class seats and 228 economy class seats.

Singapore-Airlines-777-First-Class-45
Singapore Airlines 777 economy class

Presumably there will be some amount of government traffic on the route (both between Singapore and Australia, as well as between Australia and New Zealand), though I think it’s pretty significant to note that no airline flies nonstop between Canberra and Wellington. Not even Qantas or Air New Zealand on a much lower capacity 737 or A320. That says a lot as to the demand in those markets.

Furthermore:

  • The flight’s arrival and departure times in Singapore aren’t especially conducive to connecting to Europe, so it seems like the route is mostly intended to connect passengers between Asia and Australia/New Zealand
  • For people in Wellington traveling to Singapore, this route isn’t faster than several other one stop options through Australia

My guess is that they’ll be relying heavily on cargo to make this route work, along with some premium government traffic. While I can kind of make sense of the Singapore to Canberra route, it’s the add-on to Wellington I can’t really rationalize, given the terrible aircraft utilization it causes, as well as additional crew costs.

The flight will have some indirect subsidies from the Australian government, which presumably contributed to the decision to launch the route. Via The Canberra Times:

The airline is the first carrier to fly directly to Canberra from overseas in more than a decade, after previous attempts to establish international routes were abandoned. The deal, welcomed by business and tourism groups, comes after years of lobbying by the ACT government and the creation of a $1.1 million co-operative marketing package.

A new departure and arrival lounge will cost $25 million, paid for by Canberra Airport. It is part of a $32 million investment by the business, which said it would offer more if other airlines followed and offered international flights, too.

Construction of a new customs and arrivals area inside the Canberra terminal will begin within weeks. The cost of customs and immigration staff is paid for by taxpayers.

Bottom line

Starting a fifth freedom flight on a route which presently isn’t served by any airline at all is interesting, as there aren’t many of those out there. Even with the indirect subsidies, I have a hard time imagining this flight has the potential to make any money. But then again, that puts it in the same league as most of Singapore’s other longhaul routes, apparently. 😉

What do you make of Singapore Airlines’ new Capital Express route?

Comments

  1. Hi Ben, the flights will be operated by the 777-200ERs fitted with the angled lie-flat regional business class seats with about 38 seats and not 26 as stated.

  2. Please learn some geography instead of giving Americans a bad name by further perpetuating the stereotype of them being geographically illiterate. About a million Australians live in in the Canberra region and beyond, and most of them have no access to an international airport. Getting to Sydney’s airport is quite a hassle from Canberra because of Australia’s lack of 21st century transportation infrastructure, and as the only international route into Canberra, I bet this flight would be a lifesaver for them. Easy for them to fly to Singapore and then hop on to popular Aussie destinations like Bali, Phuket, and so on.

    As for the Canberra-Wellington connection, SQ will also be the only airline flying the route and if you knew anything about Aus and NZ, you’d know that a lot of political types shuttle between the two capitals via either Sydney or Melbourne. Again, I bet they’d all be lining up for this route, so perhaps you should tone down the sensationalism and the drama about SQ ‘haemorrhaging money’ and being ‘unprofitable’ a bit..? I have no idea how that relates to the topic in any way.

  3. @ Loz — Then why doesn’t a single airline even operate a 737 in the market? Do Air New Zealand, Qantas, Jetstar, etc., not have a grasp on the market?

  4. Political reasons. Duh. Not everything is about money and load factors and all that assorted aviation jargon. Australian government wasn’t too keen about international access to the capital territory for security reasons for many years, so that was left off the agenda, and I’m not too sure about Air NZ but they weren’t too keen on having more international flights out of Wellington either for god knows what reason. But I’m pretty sure it was the whole Australian paranoia over security that killed the prospect of Canberra ever becoming an international airport. Now that SQ will be flying there + doing the trans-Tasman route, is is highly likely that other airlines will follow suit.

  5. And before you ask why the Australian government suddenly changed its stance, it took many years of pretty intense lobbying by ACT politicians to get them to approve international flights into Canberra, and then SQ obviously swooped in and grabbed the worm like most early birds do…

  6. Lucky, I’d wager your ‘hard time’ understanding this decision shows your lack of knowledge into the market.

    Alone, a CBR-WLG sector might not make sense, but this is not solely a flight to serve that sector. In one fell swoop, SQ is serving:
    1. The regional market between SE/E Asia and the Canberra region, which is >5 hours drive to Sydney or Melbourne and includes one of the country’s top universities (ANU).
    2. The regional market between SE/E Asia and the Wellington region, which is an 8 hour drive away from Auckland.
    3. The market between Canberra and Wellington, the corresponding capitals of two countries so closely interlinked that NZ is sometimes referred jokingly as Australia’s 7th state.

    4 flights a week on a quality regional Y/J product? They’ll be laughing their way to the bank on this one.

  7. @elcapitan, hopefully none of their swoops are fell. In fact, I propose that idiom should be avoided in aviation discussion at all times.

  8. Also, sending the plane across the pond and Pick up on what traffic there May be, is better than leaving the plane on the Ground for A while.

  9. @ Anton K — Right, but the plane could also turn right around in CBR, which would also allow for better connections to Europe.

  10. It may not be a faster route than any of the other one stop options through Australia but it avoids the 6.30am depature and the return flights that arrive back in Wellington around midnight. I’d choose it for that reason alone!

    My guess is that Singapore Air doesn’t see connections from/to Europe as the major priority for people who will travel on this route and you’d be better off looking at how good the connections are with major Asian cities, particularly other capitals, and resort destinations.

  11. @elcapitan – As an American who has driven from Canberra to Sydney airport, it definitely did not take 5 hours (yes maybe it would to Melbourne) and in fact it took us less than 3 hours. Yes, that’s long enough I wouldn’t want to make the drive regularly, but after factoring in additional time for security, check in, waiting for connection, etc., I would say it the drive isn’t that bad.

  12. I think a serious and more open shift in thinking is required on here if people are to understand how other parts of the world work. The reason why the flight times are not ‘particularly conducive’ to those connecting in Europe because Europe isn’t the only continent SIA serves, and it’s now pretty irrelevant in the bigger scheme of things if we’re gonna be honest. SIA as an Asian airline derives most of its income from heavy intra-Asian and Australasian travel, so I’m pretty sure they connected the dots and figured that they’d be best off using flight times that would cater more to ASIA than to Europe. After all, they did take A380s off some European routes and redistributed them to Chinese and Indian routes, so it wouldn’t take a genius to figure that one out.

    The flight times wonderfully conducive to Australians who intend to carry on to China, India, and South-East Asia, and likewise. As for people who want to continue onwards to Europe, Changi Airport is perfect for layovers.

  13. Dear Ben,

    I’ve been a lifelong AV geek and stumbled upon your blog a little over a year ago. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading virtually every trip report you’ve posted. The amount of detail you put into the reports is really impressive and shows your dedication. I would be lying if I said I was jealous of Ford and his ability to take these amazing trips with you and experience the world’s finest airlines/lounges. You truly do know what you’re talking about when it comes to booking flights, finding the best deals, divulging secrets, etc.

    What bothers me and has pretty much completely turned me off to reading any of your future posts is your inability to admit when you’re not quite as knowledgeable as you like to portray. As with today’s recent AA announcements from LAX you barely admitted you were wrong with them not announcing the new HKG route after mentioning it multiple times lately.

    This posting about the Canberra/Wellington flight and the poor reasons behind it (according to you) really paint you in a bad light. You have readers who respond that presumably have more first-hand knowledge than you on the subject and you still find ways to reject their reasoning just so can save face. You don’t run an airline and whatever their reasons for the flight or the confusing (to you) stopover, well, that’s on them. Sure, Singapore has been losing money, but that’s not stopping you from flying them. You frequently denounce airlines for their choices and last time I checked, you’re not in charge.

    Like I said, I’ve truly enjoyed your postings and reports. I think I’ll take a break because your pious attitude lately is a turnoff. You should really get back to your more humble beginnings where you appreciated even the most mundane business class product out there. Unless an airline’s new route is causing you to lose sleep at night, or their subpar service has left you with PTSD, you’re really doing yourself a disservice in being as critical as you are nowadays. I hope one day I’ll revisit your trip reports and see a change.

  14. As a resident of Canberra I am damn excited about the first international connection. I certainly hope that the anticipated prices will not be much higher in the end as most airlines try to squeeze Canberrans due to their high income and lots of public service traffic. Otherwise, it might be just a easy to hop on a 25min flight to Sydney and connect from there (Australia might be the only market in the world where you can expect a proper meal on such a short flight btw)

    @lucky: Jetstar cannot fly to Canberra btw as Virgin and Qantas decided to split the market between them and not allow their low-cost offsprings to cannibalise it.

  15. @Chris B.

    Between this post and the previous post demonstrating a misunderstanding of punitive damages, I’m starting to agree with you. The Trip Report materials have been, and continue to be excellent. Tiffany’s recent posts about family travel have been entertaining as well. However, a break until the blog is able to get back on track sounds like a good idea.

  16. @Chris B:

    Chill-pill time.
    If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

    Ie the main focus of the LAX announcement article wasen’t, and shouldn’t be, about Ben not being right about the HKG route. It was rightfully about the news that were confirmed.

    All the best

  17. Ben, re your question why other local airlines do not offer CBR-WLG service yet if there is demand, 3 reasons:

    1. QF and VA have little incentive to do so because they can funnel everyone through SYD or MEL on existing flights, assuming this is more cost-effective for them (transiting Dom to Intl esp. in SYD is a pain for pax though).
    2. NZ does not have the right plane for this market. Their single-aisle trans-Tasman services are Y only (A320). With this route presumably being premium-heavy due to Government demand, their smallest plane with a proper J product is the 767, which would be overkill.
    3. Other local airlines such as JQ or TT simply serve a completely different demographic.

    So I think this is a very clever move by SQ, to spread the risk for this route by serving 3 different markets (SIN-CBR, SIN-WLG and WLG-CBR), and I am sure they will do quite well. Also keep in mind they have strong local partners in both markets (VA and NZ) to support this new route.

  18. Lucky, please don’t listen to the rude haters.

    As an aviation geek, who actually lives in CBR, who flies out of here all the time domestically and internationally, and is very well connected to the sort of government workers who might use this route, I feel qualified to comment. Here’s my thoughts:

    Timings for CBR-SIN and SIN-CBR make a lot of sense, as they let you work a full day then fly, reaching your destination (including onwards in Asia) the following morning. This is a very attractive option as Canberra is small with great road infrastructure and CBR airport is close, overspecced and very efficient. I can go from my front door to plane seat in about 20-25 minutes. Yes, I have done it many times, I’m not pulling the number out of a hat. I expect for the sort of govt worker that would take this flight, the ability to do a full day’s work, go home, eat dinner with family, pack a bag, head to the airport for a very easy process, arriving at your SE Asian destination the next morning would be very attractive. The alternative is leave the office mid afternoon, straight to the airport, connect in a crowded and busy SYD/MEL. The return trip is also attractive for the same reason – do a full day’s work, no rush to Changi, home the next morning. You’d even have time to do a full days work or very close to it in KUL/BKK, and still connect in time in SIN. It’s perfectly feasible to fly to Singapore or even a few other nearby destinations for the day, still have a full day’s work/play at that destination, and come home having only missed that day. Yes, redeyes in both directions, but Australia is so far for everywhere, we have a different attitude to flying. The only downside is the mediocre J class – you’d be able to get a better hard product connecting in Sydney or Melbourne with quite a number of airlines. Some of these govt workers will still prefer this, as their priority will be sleep.

    For all travelers originating in Canberra, attractive connections on to Europe with SQ are less of a concern. For such a long flight, my feeling is most govt workers would book on product, most leisure travelers on price. Destinations in India and North Asia would be line ball for both leisure and non-leisure customers.

    I doubt large numbers of leisure travelers to other destinations (Bali, Phuket, Bangkok) in SE Asia would book this flight, as those destinations are already well served from all other Australian international airports by budget carriers with very low fares and attractive flight times. There is a full service duopoly to CBR, so even on an international itinerary it’s usually $100-200 more to originate from here. Even with this, it’s probably still going to be cheaper than connecting through Singapore, and likely no less convenient. This is especially the case for DPS. Canberra is a city of only 300k people, and while there are some other regional centres around, for most of these the convenience advantage of CBR is probably marginal – they are either considerably closer to SYD/MEL anyway, or they have their own airports with connections to those places. Even from Canberra it’s less than 3 hours drive or <1 hour (gate to gate) flight to SYD – I have traveled Sydney to Canberra via one method or the other perhaps 100 times in the last 4 years, so I'm not sure where this 5 hours comes from. FWIW, on a very good day it's a 6 hour drive from Canberra to MEL.

    Coming the other way, Australia has many skilled and educated migrants from that part of the world, and large numbers of the affluent of SE Asia are well connected culturally to Australia. There might be a reasonable market for Singaporeans and perhaps even Indonesians, Malaysians and Thais who have already been to and liked Sydney and Melbourne multiple times to come to Canberra for a different type of holiday, or to connect here with a stopover. I doubt many will connect here if they have no desire to see the place, it wouldn't be convenient.

    As for CBR-WLG and WLG-CBR, I profess less expertise. My feeling is that travel between the two cities of public servants and political staffers is not as high as you'd expect, though I imagine police/intelligence/diplomatic/etc traffic is reasonable. One has to wonder why Qantas hasn't tried a 737. I'd be inclined to say that maybe they're not willing to stretch themselves, thinking they're happy with the status quo. They've had such a good run at Australian aviation for so long, they tend to be risk averse, preferring their established and easy profitable routes, figuring they'll set their business up to suit themselves, the customers will come to them. Mostly, they've been right as the consumer hasn't always had a lot of choice. A few international flights a week in/out of CBR would be expensive to establish, a risk, and they probably have the capacity in their existing network to take these passengers, who don't have a choice, as connections.

    If WLG or CBR were good tourist cities, you might find some reasonable leisure traffic, but they're not, so this will exist, but be limited.

    I'd be surprised if it were true that the Australian Government deliberately restricted access to CBR for security reasons. I have an open mind if someone has the evidence…

  19. Most Asian airlines and too a lesser extent the ME airlines need Australians to go through their hubs. There have been many aviation articles on this I.e. CAPA has had 4 articles on this. New routes with 380+ new airports under construction you are going to come across new routes you have never heard of even at LAX! AIRNZ & SA have a joint agreement between Singapore and NZ you could book AirNZ but fly in SA metal and visa versa and the capital route will be the same. Both are Star Alliance both are major shareholders in Virgin Australia (currently not Star Alliance) with SA looking to increase its stake. Canberra Airport is privately owned and yes it’s political but not at government level but in airline board rooms. Now watch how many international flights leave from Canberra in the next 6 months, a minimum guess 3 this area is full of above average salary income AUD62,500 average. The Kiwis and Aussies travel more per head than just about anyone else and this makes up for the size of the market and more. Still a tad provincial.

  20. Why would I need a hug for stating the obvious, Steven? What is your comment even trying to imply? Take your unwanted trolling elsewhere, and stop projecting the lack of affection in your life onto others. xxx

  21. I think they see a market for Canberra folks to travel to Bali or Phuket via Singapore. There are lots of them who would love to do that. Plus as someone mentioned there is a major university there and I’m sure it has a lot of Singapore and Malaysian students. So for them it would be easier to travel back to their home countries via Canberra SQ. Although that is a seasonal thing.

    I could be wrong but Wellington is already served with direct flights to Singapore. So it only makes sense to connect kiwis to Australia.

  22. As a Canberra resident, I’m excited by this—it’s certainly been a long time coming! Much of the thanks should go to the Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, who has worked hard to get international flights for Canberra.

    Lucky, I think you’re being overly pessimistic about this route. Obviously only SQ is privy to the numbers, but I doubt they would launch unless it was at least marginally profitable.

    While Canberra/ACT itself is not especially huge (~400,000 residents), including the surrounding catchment area more than doubles this to ~900,000 (see here). There is significant Australian government traffic to Asia and New Zealand even in these straitened times and Canberrans have comparatively high incomes.

    I hope it succeeds!

  23. One major point that people seemed to have over looked about the Canberra market is that all Australia government/public service travel is booked through an agent who has been appointed by the government. Flights are booked on price and schedule. QF and VA have this all tied up for domestic travel and QF for major long-haul travel, [QF looks after the bureaucrats with F class upgrades etc.]. Individuals have little say unless they are the Treasurer, Foreign Minister or other senior Cabinet Ministers. Scheduling is important, business and government travellers will not hang around for a flight, to work it needs to be daily. I think this flight will be a struggle but wish SQ all the best.

  24. @ Wayne: of course does QF look after them, they’d be stupid not to. And every traveller has their preferred airline (as do I), for various reasons (status being one).

    The Australian Whole of Government travel providers include a panel of airlines, including SQ, which can be found here: http://www.finance.gov.au/procurement/travel-and-related-services/travel-suppliers.html#airlines

    So given policy is BFOD and convenient timing, this should be in favour of SQ for bureaucrats heading to Asia or NZ. Those that want to fly QF by any means will probably just schedule their meetings to those 3 days of the week where SQ does not operate 😉 .

  25. Yes, those who say QF and VA have govt business locked up are mistaken.

    QF has terrible earn/burn rates, poor award/upgrade availability on popular routes, and very rare complimentary upgrades to anybody who’s not a minister (who generally turn them down). My wife, for instance, regularly travels CBR-PER return in full fare J, at an airline and schedule of her choosing for which the Australian taxpayer pays a fortune. But she’s almost never had a complimentary upgrade, whether flying to 40 minutes to SYD or 20 hours to LHR. However she gets status very quickly, and Qantas is very good at acknowledging its elites with good ground and on board service, and has the best domestic product. This leads most govt travelers to prefer QF domestically and internationally, though now that QF status is recognised on Emirates, they are catching up on the latter. Nonetheless, plenty who don’t care about/won’t achieve status can and do fly VA (which has a better loyalty program and still a good product domestically) domestically and other airlines internationally.

    I repeat, what will make or break this for SQ is whether the convenience factor to SE Asia and maybe New Zealand for the bulk of these premium government travelers is enough to overcome the mediocre J class compared to connecting through SYD/MEL. If SQ makes these people feel wanted, I contend that it will be. They can help themselves by targeting several other important but smaller markets I’ve listed in my earlier post.

  26. The Snow family (the owner of CBR) has done an incredible job taking a backwater airport and making it into a thriving commercial complex. (They’ve done incredibly well for themselves, too, which is great.) There is more to this story than just an airline throwing a “yo” on a wonky fifth-freedom route.

  27. Hey Lucky

    I think the commentary on this has been pretty thorough in terms of covering the issues associated with the new route. So I’d summarise and add this:

    1. This is about wealthy premium travelers in both Canberra and Wellington. Canberra and Wellington have very high wealth and average salary levels on an international level; and those people sure like to travel. There is also a significant government traffic between the two capitals, and transferring in Wellington (as opposed to Sydney or Melbourne) from any destination in NZ to travel to Canberra is a lot simpler and easier.
    2. New Zealand and Australia are trading nations, with their largest markets in Asia. This is why the timing is so skewed toward connecting inter Asia.
    3. The runway in Wellington is comparatively short which will result in weight restrictions on the aircraft. One of the reasons why the 777 is chosen is for better short field performance than the A330. Cargo is not going to play much of a factor due to its impact on aircraft weight.
    4. This is an absolute frontal attack on both Qantas and Air NZ. Air NZ doesn’t want to hub anywhere other than Auckland. Qantas barely wants to hub anywhere other than Sydney. Presuming Wellington gets a lengthened airfield in the near term there will be considerable interest in having a service go straight to Wellington from the US, specifically LA. Peter Jackson and James Cameron support a major motion picture industry there and there is certainly the business for 787 flights according the studies completed for the business case.

    I’d recommend clarifying these points in your blog, which I enjoy.

    Cheers

  28. “including a fifth freedom sector, which I’m still trying to make sense of.”

    Just on that comment of making sense of the fifth freedom sector. Australia and New Zealand have an extremely close relationship, both on a political level, and on a people level. Both countries have very similar values and culture. I don’t think there are any two countries anywhere else in the world which share quite the same relationship that AU and NZ does without one first having attacked the other.

    Getting to an international port from Canberra or the surrounding region is actually a pretty big pain. Yes it might seem like Sydney is only 3 hours away, however whenever I have done the drive from Canberra to Sydney airport to catch a flight, I have typically left in the middle of the night, just to ensure we’re at the airport with time to spare. There is nothing worse than joining an M5 traffic jam in Sydney when you are stretched for time. Whilst I don’t necessarily mind the connection in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane on the flight out, coming home it’s almost torture to be so close and yet still so far away, especially when you can literally say “I can see my house from here” as you fly over Canberra to get to Sydney or Melbourne to only then fly or drive back to Canberra later that day.

    Yes it’s only a 1 hour flight from Canberra to Sydney or Melbourne and 1.5 hours to Brisbane, however as any seasoned Canberra traveler knows, you always take the first flight out in the morning when traveling international (unless you are departing on a very late flight from the international port), lest fog comes in and spoils your plans. Furthermore you have the terminal transfer pain in Sydney or Brisbane, thus your 3 hour trans-Tasman hop can easily have an additional 3 hours added on to it, and that’s if everything goes smoothly. Something not quite line up and that’s an overnight stay somewhere.

    The region which will be attracted to these flights be it to Singapore, be it to Wellington will easily extend all the way from the Victorian border to Western Sydney.

  29. I’m no longer a frequent flyer (Krisflyer blue card arrived in the post today) but this is one route I will fly, connecting Singapore to the beautiful south coast of New South Wales, only 2-3 hour’s drive from Canberra. Saves a 7 hour drive from Sydney or Melbourne airport or a 5 hour layover and 1 hour flight on Rex’s Saab 340 to Merimbula.

  30. This is a great move for everyone involved & I hope they have done their sums and it works in the longterm.

    Canberra, whilst being the nation’s capital is no longer a city of public servants & the growth projections for the city and the surrounding regions between now and 2020 are staggering. The Snow family who have held this land and developed it (and much of Canberra) over the last couple of decades clearly had this in mind when the new airport was opened some years ago with what always appeared to be an international airport – the only thing missing were the planes. And now they arrive. This is just the beginning I expect.

    From a consumer perspective it will be so much easier & quicker to depart from Canberra than adding the trip to Sydney and I’d certainly prefer to change planes/airlines/whatever in Singapore than Sydney. And although there has been much talk of ongoing flights to Europe, it will also be an easy connection onto the Middle East, Asia and in fact the US as well albeit rather longer route than SYD/LAX.

    Australian skies are not a free market like the US or Europe, the government and politics has always played a large part in controlling & limiting the players and the big loser in that scenario has always been the consumer. Hopefully Singapore Airlines will just be the first international airline to disrupt the market. There have been several incidents recently where Sydney airport has been closed & now that Canberra will have the customs & immigration facility, they will be able to divert to Canberra & if necessary bus in from there rather than circle or divert to one of the other capital cities

    On another level, at Canberra Airport – 5 minutes from the terminal – it seems like Big Box retail heaven with DFO, Costco and Ikea amongst others so it makes Canberra a very easy fly in shopping destination unlike bigger cities. Many global service corporations have moved their Canberra offices to buildings virtually attached to the terminal so it is very much a fly in fly out opportunity for business. I doubt there is an airport anywhere in the world that has so much government, business and retail within 10 minutes.

    The losers in this will of course be Qantas & Virgin but they don’t seem to care about customers so who gives a toss. But a loser I do care about is the amazing Murrays Coaches who run hourly bus services from 4am daily to & from both Sydney Airport and Sydney City – an incredible service which takes 3 hours and costs $25 – can’t even drive for that. Hopefully for them, so many business, government & tourists will come to Canberra that the slack will be taken up with new charters and tourism business.

    Good luck SQ, hope this is a triumph!

  31. @KC

    When you have a RAAF BBJ at your disposal (see that plane behind Turnbull?); you don’t worry about being SQ Gold.

    Though I imagine in his days as a merchant banker, and a lawyer going up against the British Government, Mr. Turnbull may well have been SQ PPS many times over.

  32. If you concentrate on bums on seats on this new route you are missing the point. Start thinking air cargo!! The New Zealanders have been exporting (and leaving Australia in the dust) fresh food and many dairy products to Asia with huge success for some years. So, this route with get fresh produce of the highest quality to the Asian markets even quicker! There will be dancing in the streets in NZ at this announcement, and rightly so.
    Only Adelaide in South Australia (ADL) has been doing this, for quite some time using CathayPacific into HKG.
    Of course the public service types in both countries will rejoice at the convenience; SQ will too as they will be full-fare passengers, where travel budgets are of little consequence.

  33. @Loz…maybe its time for YOU to learn a little georgraphy. Look at there Singapore is in relation to Bali. I do not think that Australians will be using this service to connect to Bali… This flight flies over Bali m which is 1000 miles from Singapore , meaning 2,000 miles out of the way. I cant believe you posted such harsh comments in regards to Geography then mentioned anyone from Southeast Australia would connect in Singapore on the way to Bali. I think you owe Lucky an apology!

  34. So? Bali is but one island in Indonesia. Sri Lanka, Maldives, India and China are booming destinations for Australian tourists and business travellers and I bet many of the people living in the Canberra catchment would use Singapore as a transit point. You’re missing my point by trying to nitpick. Also, don’t teach my my geography. I know far more about my native part of the world than some stupid “I only speak English” fool would. Piss off and focus on Lucky’s increasing sense of arrogance instead. According to him the world starts and ends in Europe.

  35. This service could well fail, but it’s hardly the head scratcher you make it out to be. The 5th freedom traffic is going to be negligible and it’s not going to be premium heavy, since rightly most government agencies in both countries do not let their employees purchase business class fares for 4 hour flights.

    This is about using one plane over the week (basically) to provide direct service to Singapore from two cities with catchment areas for international traffic of about half a million each, and from which there are hundreds of people every day flying to Europe via SYD/AKL and then some Asian or Middle East point. This is about capturing a slice of that traffic.

    Give it a year or two and we’ll see if it’s a genius move or a total waste of an aircraft.

  36. But @Loz you mentioned in your post that the flight could used to connect to Bali, which proves your Geography is at a very remedial level , especially for someone who seems to know the area. The irony is in your original post you were bashing Lucky’s geography. You also seem very humble yourself.

  37. Lucky, I do question some of the points made in your article, for example that the timing does not work for connecting flights to Europe. The timing allows you to spend a full productive day in Singapore before taking an overnighter onwards. The alternative right now is to lose a day leaving Canberra in the morning via another Australian airport to catch a European connection out of Asia. Qantas and Virgin Australia did not have much incentive for this direct international routing as they have been raking it in on the massively overpriced Canberra-Sydney/Melbourne flights. It is not unusual to pay $800 for a return fare between Canberra and Sydney or Melbourne. As a Canberra resident, most of my travel to Sydney or Melbourne is in order to catch an international connection. The same applies to many other Canberrans. The Canberra traffic will free up seats on SQ flights from Melbourne and Sydney to Singapore, and fits with SQ’s expansion of capacity to Australia in general. Finally, there is the 0910 service to LHR that Canberrans could catch. It sure beats having to transit SYD/MEL followed by yet another stop in the Mideast or Asia.

  38. I’m a Canberran who’s as happy as hell with this move! We’ve already booked our tickets to Thailand, enjoying a one day stopover in Singapore on the way up. Changing planes in Singapore on return leg is FAR easier than the hassle of getting to and from Sydney International. We travel either to Asia and/or Europe pretty much every year, so have joined Singapore’s Krisflyer. I feel for Murrays coaches in Canberra though, who have for years provided an inexpensive and reliable hourly bus service between Canberra and Sydney International airport.

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