Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) regional wing Silkair has commenced service to a second Australian port, with MI 828 touching down in Cairns on Saturday morning.
Silkair’s Boeing 737-800 9V-MGJ arrived to a traditional water cannon salute just before 1020 local time following the six hour and 15 minute journey from Singapore.
The aircraft was on the ground for almost two hours before returning to Singapore via Darwin.
The airline will fly from Singapore to Cairns via Darwin on Mondays and Thursdays, with a non-stop flight on Saturdays.
The return from Cairns to Singapore will be non-stop on Mondays and Thursdays, while those heading to the city-state or beyond on Saturdays will travel via Darwin.
“We are excited to be adding Cairns in our growing network and we look forward to connecting thrill-seeking leisure travellers with Australia’s adventure capital,” Silkair chief executive Leslie Thng said in a statement.
“This new route will also allow us to provide connectivity to travellers from Australia to Singapore and the rest of the world via our joint SilkAir-Singapore Airlines network of more than 90 destinations in 35 countries.”
Cairns Airport chief executive Kevin Brown described Singapore as a “key link” in the airport’s international network that gave holiday visitors from Asia and Europe a new option for easy access direct into the North Queensland city.
“It also offers convenient new options for local people to travel overseas, whether to enjoy Singapore as a destination in its own right or to connect through to other destinations,” Brown said.
SIA alliance partner Virgin Australia codeshares on Silkair’s new Cairns route. SIA owns about 23 per cent of Virgin and its chief executive Goh Choon Phong sits on the Australian airline’s board.
In addition to Silkair, Cairns Airport currently receives international service from Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong), Jetstar (Denpasar, Osaka Kansai and Tokyo Narita) and United (Guam).
The airport also has seasonal international service to Auckland with Air New Zealand, while China Eastern and China Southern have also served Cairns on a seasonal from their hubs Shanghai and Guangzhou, respectively.
And Philippine Airlines will fly a Manila-Cairns-Auckland routing four times a week from December.
Cairns Airport posted a video of the first flight, which can be seen below: