Singapore Airlines: New Fifth Freedom ‘Capital Route’ From Canberra, AU to Wellington, NZ

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From September 2016 Singapore Airlines will offer a ‘Capital Route’ continuing from Australia’s Canberra to Wellington, New Zealand operating under the Fifth Freedom rule.

SQ A380 ACFT

This route, together with the initial Singapore-Canberra connection will be the first overseas flight that is going into Canberra airport for over ten years.

For those living or working in Canberra it will be a huge improvement as far as the access to the outside world goes. Traditionally passengers from Canberra always had to connect through Sydney or Melbourne and were limited to a few airlines based on the published fares.

The Canberra Times announced the new flight option (access here) which has been sponsored by local groups to make it worthwhile for SIA to pick up the route.

Canberrans will be able to fly directly to Singapore and Wellington from September, as Singapore Airlines begins international services four times each week.

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.

It’s not uncommon for local governments to offer airlines such packages as an incentive to help market their flights, hoping to stimulate the local economy.

A return economy ticket between Canberra and Singapore will cost from $650 and between Canberra and Wellington will cost from $469. Business class fares will start from $3166 and $1450 respectively.
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Singapore Airlines chief executive Goh Choon Phong made the announcement with Canberra Airport chairman Terry Snow and Chief Minister Andrew Barr on Wednesday, with the airline set to partner with Virgin Australia for the Singapore flights.

Tickets will go on sale on January 25 and the first flights will land in September, subject to regulatory approval. The service, dubbed the Capital Express route, will fly a retro-fitted Boeing 777-200, which offers more business class seats and fewer economy fares.

The cooperation and codesharing between Singapore Airlines and Virgin Australia has been going on for some time now and appears to be quite successful. The two airlines fight Qantas who themselves paired up with Emirates to connect Down Under to worldwide destinations.

Conclusion

Wellington was an interesting city which I plan to visit again sometime. I’m happy for the people in Canberra as well that they have more options now. I have a few friends who went to ANU in Canberra and they always complained about the lack of options to get out of the country.

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