Singapore Airlines to increase capacity to multiple Australian destinations
Singapore Airlines has announced that it will add hundreds of seats per week to Melbourne, Adelaide, Darwin, Perth and Cairns, with the majority of flights to start at the end of March 2024.
The capacity increases will be achieved by operating additional services or by flying larger aircraft on some routes.
In a major boost for Cairns, Singapore Airlines will introduce its 303-seat widebody Airbus A350-900 aircraft on its four-times-weekly Singapore-Cairns route, adding 442 seats per week to the international business events destination in Tropical North Queensland.
In the Northern Territory, flights between Darwin and Singapore will return to their pre-COVID daily frequency from March 31, adding almost 300 seats each week.
Singapore Airlines will add a fourth daily flight to its Perth schedules from March 31 2024 and will run a larger aircraft on its daily Adelaide services, increasing the seat count into the South Australian capital by 238 seats each week.
And in Melbourne, Singapore Airlines will resume a fifth daily service by the end of May 2024, adding 1,771 extra seats into the city each week.
“These changes provide more capacity and connectivity to SIA’s global network via the iconic and popular Singapore Changi hub,” said Singapore Airlines’ regional vice president for the South West Pacific, Louis Arul.
“SIA remains committed to ensuring capacity matches the high levels of demand we continue to see.”
Queensland to get direct flights from China
The Queensland Government’s aviation fund has helped net a major coup, with China Southern to begin connecting Brisbane directly to Guangzhou for the first time since the pandemic began from November 17.
Frequency on this route will begin at four flights per week and grow to a daily service within two years.
The new flights will see China Southern Airlines adding 59,000 seats into Brisbane Airport in the first year to November 2024 and inject an estimated $441 million into the Queensland economy in three years.
Before the pandemic, Chinese visitors were the largest single-country source of short term arrivals into the state.
“Currently more than half of Queensland’s visitors from China are forced to fly via Sydney or Melbourne and the rest are coming via destinations like Singapore and Hong Kong,” said Brisbane Airport’s CEO, Gert-Jan de Graaff.
“[This] announcement will restore Queensland’s direct connection to our most lucrative market.”
Queensland’s tourism minister, Stirling Hinchliffe, called the China Southern flights “a gamechanger and an incredibly important step in rebuilding Queensland’s international visitor economy after the pandemic”.
Bonza makes Gold Coast another hub
In more good news for Queensland, Australia’s newest domestic airline Bonza has announced the Gold Coast as another hub.
Subject to regulatory approval, Bonza will operate two aircraft from the Gold Coast to 11 existing Bonza destinations including Albury, Bundaberg, Cairns, Gladstone, Mackay, Melbourne Avalon, Melbourne Tullamarine, Mildura, Rockhampton, Townsville and the Whitsunday Coast.
Eight of the 11 new routes for Bonza are not serviced by any other airline.
Bonza’s CEO, Tim Jordan said the Gold Coast flights were “about creating more depth in our network by connecting existing Bonza destinations with the Gold Coast and also the gateway from there to Northern NSW”.
“It is a huge boost for the economy and allows people in our existing destinations the opportunity to book an affordable flight to Gold Coast Airport.”
The low cost flights will be a boon for attracting delegates from Melbourne and regional Australia to conferences at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre.