Singapore Airlines adjusts Canberra, Wellington schedule

A file image of a Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-200 at Canberra Airport. (Canberra Airport)
Singapore Airlines first touched down in Canberra in September 2016. (Canberra Airport)

Singapore Airlines (SIA) says it will adjust flight times to Canberra and Wellington as part of efforts to open up the route to more connection opportunities beyond its Singapore hub.

SIA commenced flying a Singapore-Canberra-Wellington rotation four times a week in September 2016 on what it termed the “Capital Express” route using Boeing 777-200s configured with 38 angled life-flat business class and 228 economy class seats for a total seat count of 266.

Under the new schedule to come into effect on from October 28, the departure time from Singapore has been pushed back by 55 minutes, resulting in a slightly later arrival into Canberra.

While there is no change to the 75-minute transit time at Canberra, SIA has reduced the aircraft’s ground time in Wellington by a couple of hours, meaning the return leg takes off at an earlier time.

Finally, the arrival into Singapore is brought forward by 65 minutes to 0435 local time.

SIA regional vice president for South West Pacific Tan Tiow Kor said not only would the changes improve the operational efficiency of the flight, it would allow more passengers from the airline’s Asian network to connect onto the flight to Canberra and onwards to Wellington.

“The later departure from Singapore will allow customers travelling from Bali, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Phuket, and Shanghai to connect to the Singapore-Canberra-Wellington flight,” Tan said in a statement on Thursday.

“These new connections provide a great opportunity to increase the number of inbound visitors to Canberra. “The shorter turnaround in Wellington will further assist in improving efficiency of the service.”

The Virgin Australia shareholder and alliance partner operates Canberra Airport’s only international service. Virgin and Air New Zealand support the service through separate codesharing arrangements.

Tan said the route has “met our expectations” during the first 10 months it has been in operation, with the schedule changes as a result of a review of its performance after six months of flying.

“It is normal practice to undertake a comprehensive review of any new route we launch,” Tan said.

“As the first airline to operate the Singapore-Canberra-Wellington route there have been a number of learnings that we have taken out of the first 10 months of operation.

“These learnings were fed into the review and have resulted in our decision to re-time the flights.”

Figures from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) for April – the latest data available – showed SIA carried 4,166 passengers on the Singapore-Canberra route (2,218 inbound and 1,948 outbound) in April.

Meanwhile, the BITRE report said there were 3,661 passengers on the Wellington-Canberra flight, while there were 3,058 on the reciprocal Canberra-Wellington service.

While seasonality undoubtedly plays a role, the numbers have built up steadily in the 10 months since the service launched, for both the Canberra and Wellington markets.

Canberra could gain a second international airline in the period ahead with Qatar Airways listing the Australian capital as one of new destinations for 2018. However, no start date has been announced and no schedules released.

 

Flight Number/Routing
Days of operation
New schedule 
Old schedule 

SQ291 Singapore-Canberra
Canberra-Wellington

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday

23:55-10:40+1
11:55+1-17:10+1

23:00-09:45+1
11:00+1-16:15+1

SQ292 Wellington-Canberra
Canberra-Singapore

Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday

20:15-22:05
23:30-04:35+1

21:20-23:10
00:35+1-05:40+1

Comments

  1. Geoff says

    These time changes will boost pax numbers for sure and enhance overall efficiency.

    As time moves forward, the A350’s will replace the 777’s and further strengthen the operation.

    Well done Singapore Airlines,

  2. Chris says

    I makes sense to rejig the SIN/CBR/WLG/CBR/SIN timetable to connect with SQ Asian services plus some of their European services.

    Its also good to see that passenger numbers are looking good. Like any new service, it will take time to build traffic.

    Now they need to upgrade their Business Class product to full lay flat beds, as both Canberra and Wellington are putting pressure on SQ to improve the Business Class experience. SQ have said they are planning to do this in 2018, once they have more A350’s in service and can release a B772 that have lay flat beds.

  3. says

    Qatar Airways is rumoured to be flying Doha-Sydney-Canberra-Sydney-Doha. Basically they will be flying a near empty aircraft between Sydney and Canberra just so they can get 2 daily service to Sydney under the current bilateral agreements.

  4. says

    The new flight will be operated effective 12FEB18 and the schedule is as follows:

    Days: Daily
    Aircraft: B777-300ER

    QR 906 Dep DOH 0810 Arr SYD 0615+1
    QR 906 Dep SYD 0725 Arr CBR 0825

    QR 907 Dep CBR 1345 Arr SYD 1445
    QR 907 Dep SYD 1555 Arr DOH 2230

  5. JT says

    David, I’m not sure what light Air NZ and Virgin need to see, they are code sharing on the SIN flights so getting sales / revenue benefit without committing metal. I would also assume it would be a narrow route at best therefore any commitment by QANTAS would need some significant thought and maybe restricted to A330/B787 twice to four times weekly at best.

  6. Chris says

    With regards to David comment ‘Wonder how long it will take Qantas, Virgin and Air New Zealand to see the light.’, Air NZ and Virgin Australia have co-share arrangements on SQ SIN/CBR/WLG, with Air NZ between SIN/WLG /SIN only and Virgin Australia CBR/WLG/CBR only.

    Qantas is offering WLG/SYD/SIN but not WLG/CBR/WLG as direct flights.

    Neither Qantas and Air NZ are not happy that SQ is offering the SIN/CBR/WLG service, especially Air NZ, as it is taking business away from their WLG/AKL/SIN services.

  7. Richard says

    ainge

    why would Qatars new flights SYD/CBR/SYD be nearly empty ?

    No one wants to fly domestically CBR/SYD to then stuff around changing terminals at SYD.

  8. Josh says

    I don’t think Qatar Airlines cares about the domestic traffic even if they are allowed to pick up domestic traffic. Not sure but I would have thought a big part of passengers on QANTAS’s CBR-SYD flights are in sydney for connecting flights.

  9. Stephen says

    Spot on Richard and Josh. Anything to alleviate that annoying Sydney Airport transfer from Domestic to International terminal (vice versa) and reduce time on the ground (usually 2-3 hrs) will be well received by Canberra pax. Great idea by Qatar to increase DOH-SYD-DOH traffic and simultaneously service CBR.

  10. Stephen says

    Since this article is really about Singapore Airlines, let me add my congratulations to SIA for pioneering the service and fine tuning it to ensure viability. SQ is still the only 1 stop option to Asia/Europe from CBR and is a great service for those of us who have previously had to endure the dreadful Sydney Airport transfer.

  11. Craigy says

    @ David. What light are you referring to for Qantas? The CBR-WLG or CBR-SIN? CBR-SIN is really a non starter for Qantas. Firstly, Qantas doesn’t have the connection options ex Singapore to make it a serious consideration. Secondly, CBR-WLG. A number of contributors speak of avoiding Sydney by using the SIA service and for NZ customers, the opportunity to avoid Auckland. The route works for SIA for that reason.

    Qantas and Virgin can never compete with hub carriers. That’s just the reality despite what the armchair CEOs think.

  12. Warren says

    The later departure time ex-Singapore (SQ291) does indeed improve connection times from a lot of SE asian cities and will be welcomed. It is not just Bali, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Phuket, and Shanghai, but Beijing too (2nd busiest airport in the world ). Not sure of the logic of the earlier arrival time into Singapore ex Canberra. It just appears to have increased the waiting time in Singapore between any connecting flights. Look forward to increasing frequency on the route, even if they can run additional return services just to Canberra, on the back of continued success,

    If Canberra Airport is really serious about making itself a primary regional international departure point, they should be pushing for the Sydney-Canberra railway to terminate/pass through the airport NOW. If the Kingston Railway Station is to be redeveloped, now is the time to realign it. An integrated transport hub is created much like you have at Schiphol or Frankfurt. Forget the light rail folly. It is amazing what they have managed to do in the redevelopment of Canberra Airport, when compared to archaic messes at Sydney and Melbourne. Pity there wasn’t a bit more vision in infrastructure development, much like there is in Asia.