Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines (SIA) plan to boost capacity between Auckland and Singapore from late 2018.
The pair currently operates one flight each on the Auckland-Singapore route, SIA with a combination of Airbus A380s and Boeing 777-300ERs and Air New Zealand with 787-9s. The Singaporean flag carrier also serves Christchurch from its Singapore hub, as well as a Singapore-Canberra-Wellington rotation that started in September 2016.
All New Zealand-Singapore services are operated as part of an alliance between the pair that was forged in 2015.
Under the expanded schedule, SIA will operate one additional daily flight between October 28 2018 and March 30 2019 (the Northern Winter season) with Boeing 777-300ERs.
From March 31 2019 to October 26 2019 (the Northern Summer season), Air New Zealand will fly its Boeing 787-9 with a premium heavy configuration five times a week on the route.
The new flight, which has been scheduled as a red-eye service from Auckland and morning departure from Singapore, represented an additional 165,000 annual seats on the route, Air New Zealand and SIA said in a joint statement on Thursday.
Air New Zealand chief strategy, networks and alliances officer Nick Judd said the new flight would offer travellers more options for travel to Europe, India and Southeast Asia via Singapore.
“Singapore’s Changi Airport has been named Skytrax World’s Best Airport for the past five years and with connection times with European services now three hours or less this is a very comfortable and convenient transit stop for travellers in both directions,” Judd said.
SIA senior vice president for marketing planning Tan Kai Ping said the additional service represented the airline’s commitment to the New Zealand market.
“Our alliance with Air New Zealand has already benefited customers through more capacity, choice, improved connections and more codeshare destinations,” Tan said.
“We are proud of the alliance’s three destinations in New Zealand – Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington.”
Air New Zealand, which resumed nonstop service to Singapore in January 2015 after a long absence, took delivery of the first of four premium configured 787-9s in October.
This batch of four aircraft feature what the airline has termed its “Code 2” cabin layout, comprising 27 seats in business, 33 in premium economy and 215 in economy for a total of 275.
This represented a 20 per cent increase in premium seats compared with the other nine 787-9s already in the fleet, which have 302 seats spread across 18 business and 21 premium economy seats and 263 in economy.
The first route for these “Code 2” 787-9s was Air New Zealand’s Auckland-Houston service, replacing the Boeing 777-200ER.