Canberra Airport has described the first three months of Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) international flights as an “outstanding success”.
SIA’s four times a week Singapore-Canberra-Wellington flights kicked off in late September 2016, returning international service to the Australian capital for the first time in more than a decade.
Canberra Airport said on Monday official figures showed the Boeing 777-200 operated flights achieved average load factors of 83 per cent in September/October 2016.
Further, Canberra Airport head of aviation Matthew Brown said the performance of the route was “even stronger” in November and December.
“This is a remarkably strong performance for a new route. We are very happy with this result, as is Singapore Airlines,” Brown said in a statement.
“Based on these figures, the viability of the route shows that it is well established and becoming more popular.”
Canberra is SIA’s sixth destination in Australia alongside Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. The airline group’s regional wing Silkair also serves Cairns and Darwin with narrowbody equipment.
It is the first scheduled international passenger service to Canberra since the short-lived Air Pacific (now Fiji Airways) flights to Nadi ended in 2004.
The flight also links the capitals of New Zealand and Australia for the first time.
Brown said the airport was hopeful SIA would add to its current schedule of four flights a week in the period ahead.
“We are in constant dialogue with Singapore Airlines and are pushing for the addition of the fifth service in the near future, but understand that this will be a commercial decision by the airline,” Brown said.
There might be more international seats to fill out of Canberra from as early as the second half of calendar 2017, with Qatar Airways planning to launch service to the Australian capital.
In November, Qatar named Canberra as one of eight new destinations being added to its fast-growing network.
The oneworld alliance member indicated flights to Canberra would begin some time in the 2017/18 timeframe, without providing any further details, such as frequencies and operating aircraft type.
The Australian capital would be Qatar’s fifth destination in this country. It currently serves Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney nonstop from its Doha hub.