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September launch for Singapore-Canberra-Wellington flights

written by Gerard Frawley | January 20, 2016

Canberra Airport chairman Terry Snow and Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong. (Canberra Airport)

Singapore Airlines will become the first airline to operate long-haul international services from Canberra when it begins four times weekly Singapore-Canberra-Wellington services from September 20.

The new ‘Capital Express’ services, which will also see the first direct flights between Canberra and Wellington, will depart Singapore on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, returning to Singapore the following days, with overnight flights from Singapore to Canberra and Canberra to Singapore, and a morning departure from Canberra to Wellington and an evening departure from Wellington to Canberra.

The flights – SQ291 and SQ292 – will be operated by Singapore Airlines’ regional configured 266-seat Boeing 777-200s (and not the Airbus A330-300, as reported when the story first broke last week) and will be on the ground in Canberra for approximately 90 minutes in both directions.

The new flights were announced in Canberra on Wednesday by Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong, joined by Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure Warren Truss, ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Canberra Airport chairman Terry Snow.

“We are especially pleased to be bringing more convenient travel options to customers with Canberra’s first regularly scheduled international flights and the first non-stop links between the capitals of Australia and New Zealand,” Goh said.

Singapore Airlines is in separate alliance partnerships with Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand, and Virgin Australia will codeshare on both the Singapore-Canberra and Canberra-Wellington sectors, but to date SQ has not reached agreement with Air New Zealand with codesharing on the new route.

One small step for Singapore Airlines, one giant leap for Canberra Airport

For Singapore Airlines the new flights represent meaningful but incremental extra capacity into Australia – including flights by its Silk Air subsidiary to Cairns and Darwin, Singapore Airlines already operates 136 flights a week to Australia.

Still, the new route will allow Singapore Airlines to better attract high-yielding Canberra-based government travellers looking to fly not just to Singapore, an important political and economic hub in its own right, but beyond to Asia and Europe without having to stop over in Sydney. And it also offers an attractive option for public servants and political staffers travelling between Canberra and Wellington.

Another attraction of the route is the ability to serve Wellington, as its 2,081m runway means long-haul nonstop services to Asia are uneconomic due to aircraft payload-range restrictions.

But for Canberra Airport, the announcement of international services is a realisation of long-held dreams both of the airport, owned by the local Snow family, and the ACT Government.

Canberra Airport has long lobbied for international services, particularly since its main runway extension was opened in 2006 and its $480 million terminal redevelopment was progressively opened from 2010. The airport terminal’s western concourse, which is home to the capital’s Virgin Australia flights and opened in March 2013, incorporates space for customs and immigration facilities and gates that can accommodate international flights, with the Singapore Airlines flights to use the airport’s Gate 6.

Canberra’s only direct scheduled international services to date was Air Pacific (now Fiji Airways) briefly operating flights to Nadi in 2004, but, until now at least, the airport has suffered from its close proximity to Sydney Airport.

So for airport chairman Terry Snow, the new Singapore Airlines international flights are the: “Full realisation of this dream when we bought this dog of an airport.”

That “dog” has certainly been transformed, particularly with the 2013 opening of its brand-new, $480 million terminal and now its first serious international services.

Tickets for the new flights go on sale from Monday January 25, with SQ offering Singapore-Canberra return flights from $650, and $469 Canberra-Wellington return flights.

Flight Number/Routing
Days of operation
Time of departure
Time of arrival

SQ291 Singapore-Canberra

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday



SQ291 Canberra-Wellington

Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday







SQ292 Wellington-Canberra

Monday, Wednesday,Friday, Sunday



SQ292 Canberra-Singapore

Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday




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Comments (7)

  • Geoff


    This is excellent news. These important Capital cities and their well-run airports have input so much over the years to secure the incredible Singapore Airlines service.

    This is a top tier example of synergy at work. Win/win for all. It will work well.

    Congratulations to you all in Singapore, Canberra and Wellington.

  • Tony


    Now to dump the stupid idea of a second airport for sydney and use under-utilised existing infrastructure. Spend the Billions on a high speed electric train connecting the east coast. Now that is innovative thinking for our future.

  • Phillip Maguire


    The new service to Singapore from Canberra allows for a much more convenient “one-stop” to most Asian and European destinations. Or as a quick getaway to visit Wellington for a few days. As a Canberra resident, I no longer have to take the tedious 3 and something hours up to Sydney on a bus, or overnight at a Sydney airport hotel, saving me hundreds of dollars per trip. I also do not have to deal with Sydney’s congested airport infrastructure.

    What a pleasant and refreshing change this will be for me. Really, It couldn’t come soon enough.!!!

    On so many levels, this is a win win for all concerned. I commend Singapore Airlines, and hope that
    this route is a huge success for them. No Australian or New Zealand Airline had the fortitude to commit to
    Canberra on any international route, so I am very pleased with Singapore Airlines, and will give them my business whenever I fly to destinations that Singapore Airlines serve. I for one will be wanting to use this new service, and bypass the hassle of going through congested Sydney.

  • Mark Hoepfl


    Perhaps a step towards SQ flying from Oz to USA?

  • louie


    Will see how long go to last as that route is financed by taxpayers, NZ government (Wellington) sign commitment to pay to SIA $8 millions over next 10 years what was the price in Canberra they haven`t announced yet.
    That route is technically chartered by two governments and two airports.That`s nothing new really as that kind of subsidy happen regularly in aviation business but only in thin routes which would be otherwise be uneconomical.
    I`m afraid that may turn out as a big loose loose for everyone in. Wellington and Canberra paying big money extra to have a privilege to get flight there instead in Sydney and airport waive off or hefty discount taxes. SIA go to loose too.Even if compensated for flight in SIN-CBR-WLG they still go to lost those passengers on flights from or to Sydney.
    They can have any aircraft there at any time but they have to pay for as there isn`t enough traffic for international flights to be sustainable on its own .Not within 200 plus km from aviation hub as is in Sydney and population as is in Australia.

    link; http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/wellington-ratepayers-pay-8m-over-10-years-canberra-flights-b-183853

  • Peter


    Hopefully people living near Canberra and Wellington will utilize the service.. Hopefully NZ and SQ will codeshare with flights beyond Wellington to other NZ domestic destinations to and from Wellington. Only time will tell..

  • Mark


    I disagree with Louie about SQ “go to loose too”. I’ve dealt with Singaporeans before and all I can say is they are very shrewd business people. They don’t do anything without thinking this through. Not even for a mighty organization like SQ (which I have dealt before in the past).

    One of the biggest thing SQ can get out of this is “brand projection”. Advertisement is something. Putting the brand out there with a sort-of “at your face” is another ballgame. I for one fly with SQ and I’m looking forward in flying out of CBR (instead of SYD).

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