Singapore Airlines on Friday increased the frequency of services from its home base to Perth by adding four more services per week.
The carrier previously flew three times a day, seven days a week, but will now add a fourth flight on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
The news will add competition for other airlines operating the route, including subsidiary Scoot, which flies 12 times a week, and Qantas, which flies once daily.
Singapore will use its fleet of A350-900s on the extra flights, adding 220,584 more seats annually. It comes months before a planned increase was due to occur next year.
Australian Aviation has reported regularly this year how international aviation in 2023 overtook domestic in its pandemic recovery.
Domestic aviation initially recovered to near pre-pandemic levels last year but subsequently recorded some of the worst delays and cancellations in history as staff shortages and COVID isolation took hold.
This year has presented a very different story. Weeks ago, for example, Sydney Airport revealed it had doubled its international traffic in the last 12 months.
In October, 1.3 million passengers passed through the international terminal, representing a 90.3 per cent recovery from the same month in 2019.
However, the airport’s domestic COVID-19 recovery currently stands at just 87.6 per cent, despite domestic services not dealing with issues of international border closures and restrictions.
Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert has consistently blamed alleged slot hoarding by the major airlines as a reason for the airport’s sluggish domestic recovery, an accusation Qantas and Virgin have vehemently denied.
“In the 12 months to October, almost 14 million passengers have passed through our international terminal, more than double the number we saw in the previous 12 months,” said Culbert.
“We continue to see markets roaring back to life. In the run-up to Christmas, extra capacity comes across several key overseas destinations, including China, Indonesia, South Korea and Vietnam. This is great for passengers who will have more choice this Christmas than any holiday period since 2019.”
The Singapore announcement also follows Jetstar announcing it would launch three new Asian routes from Perth next year as part of a major expansion of its western network.
The carrier will fly direct from Perth to Singapore, Phuket, and Bangkok starting in 2024, and will open a new WA base for at least 60 pilots. It also plans to base four aircraft in Perth, including the A321neo LR, to build on its domestic and international operations from the west coast.
“This is a huge investment in our Perth operations. Having pilots and aircraft based in the west gives us the ability to add hundreds of thousands more low-cost seats to exciting new destinations across both our international and domestic network,” said Jetstar CEO Stephanie Tully.