Fresh off the first ever Singapore Airlines flight direct from the Asian city state into Canberra this morning, Canberra Airport chairman Terry Snow indulged in one of his favourite pastimes, having a crack at competitor Sydney Airport.
The veteran Canberra businessman had joined Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Singapore Airlines executive vice-president commercial Mak Swee Wah to cut a ribbon to mark the arrival of the first flight from Singapore and then-imminent departure of the first flight out to Wellington.
“Connecting Wellington and Canberra through to Singapore was a stroke of genius,” Mr Snow said of Singapore Airlines’ strategy to get the Canberra Airport service up and running.
“We can approximately fill half a plane in Canberra, and Wellington can fill half a plane. Put us together, and we have a very successful flight.
“Both Canberra and Wellington suffer from the disability that we had to go through pretty dysfunctional capital city airports – Sydney, which all of you know how unpleasant that is, but Wellington has a similar fate in that to go international for most of their routes they have to transit through Auckland, and that’s not a very convenient or attractive proposition for the people of Wellington,” he said.
A crowd of airport staff, officials, public servants, politicians and Canberra business operators cheered from inside the main domestic terminal as the first plane from Singapore landed at around 8am this morning. The pilot taxied into position directly in front of the crowd for a dual Aviation Fire Rescue water cannon welcome for the plane and its passengers.
At around 9.25am, ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr joined passengers boarding the same plane as it prepared to depart for Wellington. He will attend a series of functions in the New Zealand capital before returning on the first incoming flight from Wellington tonight.
We covered the landing itself here:
And you can see the water cannon salute here:
See our live coverage of the speeches ahead of the landing here: