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Singapore Airlines CBR direct flights are go

By Charlotte Harper - 20 January 2016 39

Welcome

Singapore Airlines chief executive Goh Choon Phong has this morning confirmed last week’s reports that the Asian carrier will introduce direct flights between Singapore and Canberra and Wellington and Canberra. Flights on the service, dubbed the ‘Capital Express’ will commence September 20, with tickets available from this Monday.

Billboard screen

As foreshadowed last week, there will be four weekly flights between Singapore and Canberra as well as return flights between Canberra and Wellington using the same planes, though they will be Boeing 777-200R planes rather than Airbus A330s as earlier reported.

The retrofitted 777-200 will feature 266 seats, with 38 of them business class and 228 economy.

Economy class fares will start from $650 all inclusive for CBR-SIN return (3166 for business class) and $469 all-inclusive for CBR-WLG return ($1450 for business class).

Signing of documents

Air Pacific operated direct flights to Fiji from Canberra for six months in 2004, but this is the first time the airport has hosted a regularly scheduled international service. It’s also the first time the Australian and New Zealand capital cities have been directly connected.

CAPITAL EXPRESS SCHEDULE (pre-daylight savings):
SQ291 Singapore-Canberra departing 11pm on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, arriving 8.35am+1.
SQ291 Canberra-Wellington departing 9.50am on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, arriving 3.05pm.
SQ292 Wellington-Canberra departing 8.15pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, arriving 10.05pm.
SQ292 Canberra-Singapore departing 11.30pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, arriving 5.50am+1.

More to come

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39 Responses to
Singapore Airlines CBR direct flights are go
JC 1:32 pm 22 Jan 16

spades said :

Apart from being obsessed with Qantas Frequent Flyer, name one reason why anyone would fly to Asia or Europe via Qantas from Canberra.

Frequent flyer is a very good reason actually. I am a lifetime Gold with Qantas, which has it’s own perks, some advertised some not. Lounge access is good, I also often find when flying in economy I have no one sitting next to me as Qantas have blocked the seat (this is meant to be a platinum perk, but seems is extended to lifetime gold). Also I have a good record at upgrades too, one route I fly regularly I pay economy both ways and the points are generally enough to upgrade one of those legs.

As for why you would choose SIA over Qantas, would do that if flying to somewhere Qantas didn’t fly to directly out of Sydney. But wouldn’t for example fly to Bangkok, or anywhere in China/Hong Kong/Japan via Singapore as the extra routing would make it not worth it.

Also personal opinion here but I actually find the Qantas service far better than SQ, based on my experiance of many flights on both carriers. What I find with SQ is they are a well oiled machine, but when something slips they get lost easily. Silly little things mostly, but shows to me their service is mechanical. Whereas Qantas sees to be a lot more genuine and personal. Could tell some tales of great Qantas customer service, again silly little things, but they make all the difference.

To London it is about even stevens I reckon. Yes Qantas is an extra stop and it is via Dubai (yuk dislike that airport), but with SQ and the Canberra flight the first connecting London flight means a 4 hour wait in Singapore. Yeah could be worse places, but still that is 4 hours, so means total travel time is much the same as going via Sydney or Melbourne.

The return is much the same, latest London flight arrives 7pm, so 4.5 hour wait, so again nullifies the extra flight on Qantas.

Then of course SIA will only be 4 times a week.

So really this is good news and I wish SIA the best. It doesn’t mean however that it is the solution to all International travel needs to Asia or Europe. People will still have reason and desire to fly on other carriers.

Anyway must go, I am in Asia at the moment and have a flight to catch. Oddly it is on SQ, an A330 to SIN for a few days then home. Wish for the direct flight now!

dungfungus 11:47 am 22 Jan 16

JC said :

dungfungus said :

henryans said :

Lets see how long this lasts, any predictions?
Remember Tiger airways?

Impulse?
Rex?
I think the then ACT Liberal government shelled out many millions of dollars for a huge mechanical turbulence device at the southern end of the main runway to “assist” one of these airlines.
It would be interesting to learn what financial incentives (if any) the current government is giving away to get the latest photo opportunity.

The government assisted impulse in building the maintenance hanger that is closest to the terminal. Though before they moved in Qantas purchased them, maintenance of the 717’s stayed in Newcastle and Impulse became the core of Jetstar.

The federal government helped fund an extension to the runway to allow a longer take off space which allows for offset departures, this required a blast fence at the southern end. Sure your not mixing the two?

JC, why do you always “look for the fifth leg on the cat” whenever I post anything?.
You obviously read what I said as you have confirmed it but then you branch off looking for a conspiracy.

spades 12:50 am 22 Jan 16

henryans said :

Lets see how long this lasts, any predictions?
Remember Tiger airways?

Definitely not the same. Half of the reason why this is awesome is that it is Singapore Airlines, not any other airline. It makes all the difference. As I’ve mentioned SIA gives passengers a world-class hub and airline (don’t take my word for it, read up on SIA and SIN airport reviews and ratings).

Tiger doesn’t really offer true transits to other destinations. As we have repeatedly said, SIA will allow us to fly to a quite a few destinations in Europe and Asia. It is not a secret that airlines make a lot of money from business travelers. SIA has the potential to woo foreign diplomats who regularly travel because of shorter travel times and cheaper fares – SIA is generally cheaper than QF overall. Always have been. A lot of these diplomats also fly business class, something that Tiger don’t really offer.

Apart from being obsessed with Qantas Frequent Flyer, name one reason why anyone would fly to Asia or Europe via Qantas from Canberra.

spades 12:35 am 22 Jan 16

Kim F said :

Spades has it wrong as far as current transfers through Sydney to an international flight. There is no need to collect baggage as your airline takes care of that via check-in in Canberra.

That my be true. I’ve only done this once and am not 100% certain of this. HOWEVER, I know for sure that on the way back I was required to take my bags from the carousel to go through customs. So while it’s possible that they check through bags from Canberra, it’s definitely not the case coming back.

JC 4:25 pm 21 Jan 16

Kim F said :

Spades has it wrong as far as current transfers through Sydney to an international flight. There is no need to collect baggage as your airline takes care of that via check-in in Canberra!

Not always. Qantas will only transfer your bags if your international leg is on a OneWorld carrier, partner airlines OR your domestic and international flights are on the same booking. If not then you need to collect and make your own way to international. Been this way for about 4 or 5 years.

Virgin Australia does much the same.

JC 4:20 pm 21 Jan 16

dungfungus said :

henryans said :

Lets see how long this lasts, any predictions?
Remember Tiger airways?

Impulse?
Rex?
I think the then ACT Liberal government shelled out many millions of dollars for a huge mechanical turbulence device at the southern end of the main runway to “assist” one of these airlines.
It would be interesting to learn what financial incentives (if any) the current government is giving away to get the latest photo opportunity.

The government assisted impulse in building the maintenance hanger that is closest to the terminal. Though before they moved in Qantas purchased them, maintenance of the 717’s stayed in Newcastle and Impulse became the core of Jetstar.

The federal government helped fund an extension to the runway to allow a longer take off space which allows for offset departures, this required a blast fence at the southern end. Sure your not mixing the two?

Kim F 10:10 am 21 Jan 16

Spades has it wrong as far as current transfers through Sydney to an international flight. There is no need to collect baggage as your airline takes care of that via check-in in Canberra.

I think this is a great start but I do feel a bit sorry for those who do the whole Singapore-Wellington bit as the transit stop in Canberra won’t feature any shops to browse as they will need to remain in a quarantined part of airport. A small price to pay !

mcs 9:25 am 21 Jan 16

henryans said :

Lets see how long this lasts, any predictions?
Remember Tiger airways?

Tiger Airways is hardly a comparable case – under its previous incarnation, it simply was a broader failure. The only reason we don’t have Jetstar or Tiger flying into Canberra now domestically is the fact that the big two know Canberra is a safe market to exert their duopoly power together with their full service, rather than

I think the new Singapore service will actually do quite well, as long as the prices on average remain comparable with what one can pay flying via Sydney and Melbourne (no doubt the average economy fare will be a reasonable amount above the $650 return talked about yesterday).

Like Spades, the prospect of only one change in Singapore to get anywhere in Europe, Asia, or a lot of other destinations (although potentially with some relatively long connections in Singapore – which may frustrate some) is going to be pretty tempting, as long as the price is reasonable.

After recently going through Changi Airport (which is such a pleasant airport to visit) and also that dump known as Sydney Airport, I know I’ll certainly use the service if the price is right on my next trip.

JC 8:52 am 21 Jan 16

spades said :

As a mainly international traveler, this is excellent news.

Canberra has a healthy jet setting community due to the diplomat, overseas student and growing migrant communities. Does Qantas/Virgin think travelers to Europe or Asia would prefer to transit via Sydney?

Think about it.

A LHR flight is now just 1 stop away.

There are so many more flight options from SIN. I can now fly to more destinations to Asia/Europe with just 1 hop (as opposed to 2 if going via SYD). France/Italy/Spain with just one stopover…whuuuutttt!!!! 🙂

The number of hops is one thing, stopping over at SYD is another. SYD Domestic to International terminal transfers give us Canberrans the worse experience…..

Annoyance 1: The terminals are physically in 2 different locations which makes it an inferior experience.

Annoyance 2: As you need to go through immigration/customs in SYD T1, you need to take your bags from the domestic carousel and go through the lengthy check-in process in T1.

Now I’d only have to go through the check-in process once in Canberra. I’d transit in SIN airport but I’ll remain in the transit area. No mucking around with bags and immigration when I get to SIN. I suspect immi/customs will be much more pleasant in CBR airport due to only having one intl flight.

Button line is Qantas has got nothing on SIA for Canberra travelers due to the crappy transit process in SYD. I’ve always hated it that’s why I normally take the bus up to SYD when going overseas.

Re Qantas and Virgin I have no doubt in the would they would want a bit of the action but as you have worked out the main benifit to these flights are the connections in Singapore.

Without those connections you only are flying point to point passengers which to Singapore is not that significant. The vast majority of people who pass through Changi are in direct transit or are using Singapore as a stopover to somewhere else.

So for Qantas if they flew to Singapore ex Canberra like sq are doing then who are they going to connect to? BA who’s flights to LHR leave in the evening, think Finair to Helsinki, Emirates to Dubai, Sri Lankan to Colombo l, that’s about it. Compared to SQ with 60+ destinations not to mention Star Alliance carriers too.

Interestingly Qantas wanted to setup a regional full service carrier in Singapore and who shot down in flames for it, here is a perfect case in point why it would have been a great plan. It would have given them someone to connect to.

As for Virgin being part owned by Singapore Airlines and Air NZ maybe it would have made sense for them to fly the route, feeding into SQ in Singapore. But for them they don’t have a sufficiently large enough wide body fleet and also think Asian travellers inbound would prefer SQ over virgin Aus, even though imo Virgin Aus wide body product is far better. Would also think Virgin not being a Star Alliance carrier would hurt them too, so SQ is the logical choice.

Next maybe Cathay Pacific for northern Asia. Some have mentioned Emirates but problem with them is Canberra needs a smaller aircraft and they don’t have any small enough which could do it non stop. Plus Asia is where most of the connecting action is.

dungfungus 8:51 am 21 Jan 16

henryans said :

Lets see how long this lasts, any predictions?
Remember Tiger airways?

Impulse?
Rex?
I think the then ACT Liberal government shelled out many millions of dollars for a huge mechanical turbulence device at the southern end of the main runway to “assist” one of these airlines.
It would be interesting to learn what financial incentives (if any) the current government is giving away to get the latest photo opportunity.

JC 8:34 am 21 Jan 16

Postalgeek said :

Only over nighters to/ from Singapore :-/. Fine for ompaloompas who can stretch out and sleep, but I dont sleep well I n planes. Would rather fly during the day and enjoy a comfortable bed at the end. But that’s just me…

I guess the Wellington link has something to do with it.

Wellington has a bit to do with it, but the main reason for the overnight timings is the arrival in Singapore. It is prime time for connections to Asia and beyond. Likewise the departure is times to pickup inbound Asian connections. Also works out nicely for the Wellington leg too.

Without these connections, plus the addition of Wellington passengers the flights are not viable. Not that many people fly to Singapore as a destination. Most are going somewhere else or stopping in Singapore on their way to somewhere else.

spades 6:21 am 21 Jan 16

As a mainly international traveler, this is excellent news.

Canberra has a healthy jet setting community due to the diplomat, overseas student and growing migrant communities. Does Qantas/Virgin think travelers to Europe or Asia would prefer to transit via Sydney?

Think about it.

A LHR flight is now just 1 stop away.

There are so many more flight options from SIN. I can now fly to more destinations to Asia/Europe with just 1 hop (as opposed to 2 if going via SYD). France/Italy/Spain with just one stopover…whuuuutttt!!!! 🙂

The number of hops is one thing, stopping over at SYD is another. SYD Domestic to International terminal transfers give us Canberrans the worse experience…..

Annoyance 1: The terminals are physically in 2 different locations which makes it an inferior experience.

Annoyance 2: As you need to go through immigration/customs in SYD T1, you need to take your bags from the domestic carousel and go through the lengthy check-in process in T1.

Now I’d only have to go through the check-in process once in Canberra. I’d transit in SIN airport but I’ll remain in the transit area. No mucking around with bags and immigration when I get to SIN. I suspect immi/customs will be much more pleasant in CBR airport due to only having one intl flight.

Button line is Qantas has got nothing on SIA for Canberra travelers due to the crappy transit process in SYD. I’ve always hated it that’s why I normally take the bus up to SYD when going overseas.

henryans 4:38 pm 20 Jan 16

Lets see how long this lasts, any predictions?
Remember Tiger airways?

watto23 2:25 pm 20 Jan 16

Looks like a decent schedule also. The Wellington schedule means its easy to have a 4 day weekend in Wellington. Same for kiwis looking to visit Canberra for a weekend away.

Postalgeek 2:23 pm 20 Jan 16

Only over nighters to/ from Singapore :-/. Fine for ompaloompas who can stretch out and sleep, but I dont sleep well I n planes. Would rather fly during the day and enjoy a comfortable bed at the end. But that’s just me…

I guess the Wellington link has something to do with it.

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