The international connection

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The ‘hopper’ flight from Canberra has been a feature of every international trip from the city until now.

There was big news in Canberra this week as Singapore Airlines announced it would begin operating international flights in and out of Canberra Airport.

I’ve written before about what a great facility Canberra Airport is, but the addition of international flights really will make a big difference to the region as a whole and to the CBRbound family personally.

Initially, the airline will operate four flights a week from Singapore, stopping off in Canberra en route to Wellington in New Zealand. They’re calling it the ‘Capital Express’ and, given the close links between the governments of Australia and New Zealand, the new service probably makes a lot of sense from a business perspective.

From a Canberran point of view, it offers the double benefit of international flights to both Singapore and New Zealand in one fell swoop. More than that, it offers Canberrans direct ‘one flight’ access to the Singapore Airlines (and Star Alliance) network, connecting through the excellent Changi Airport in Singapore.

As an example of the difference this will make, on my last trip to Europe, flying with Emirates, I came home from London via Dubai, Bangkok and Sydney – that’s four flights, with all the associated hassle of disembarkation, waiting and then re-boarding each time and the added potential for luggage to go astray at each connection.

This idea of boarding in Canberra, connecting in Singapore and then flying direct to my destination has me salivating in anticipation, assuming – and this is a big caveat – that the prices are competitive. While I know little about the economics of the airline industry, it does seem to me that it must be cheaper to sell two flights to a destination rather than four, so I remain hopeful on that front.

For incoming tourists – whether from Singapore or beyond – the benefits of Canberra Airport can’t be overstated. It gives the option of a hassle-free arrival in Australia, access to all the attractions that Canberra has to offer, and then a short trip by air, road or rail to Sydney to continue exploring this amazing country. As someone who avoids Heathrow like the plague on trips to London in favour of Stansted or Gatwick airports, I can attest to the benefits of favouring smaller airports with fewer passengers to cope with.

Tickets for the new route go on sale on 25 January and flights begin in September. After that, the CBRbounds will have easy access to holidays in New Zealand and faster trips to the UK, and I can shave two flights each way off my work trips back to Europe. At the same time, the addition of international flights will add convenience for loved ones wanting to visit from afar.

7 thoughts on “The international connection

  1. Caroline Mckeown says:

    Hi mark , loved your blog as always , what great news Canberra has become an international airport in readiness for our trip later this year . Love to all Caroline xx

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  2. I’m not sure how competitive the prices will be to start with, but I think this is a great step and it will open up other airlines to start flying international in to Canberra – which will then start the price wars… and we will reap the benefits, muwhaha!

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    • I hope so Erin. I’d imagine Emirates will look very closely at this. Their model until now has largely been to use the Qantas code-share deal to feed Aussie passengers into the major airports, but I think Singapore Airlines have been very smart here and could steal a lot of Emirates’ business from this region. That whole thing of landing at Sydney and being soooo close to home but not close enough is so frustrating. Can’t wait to try out the new service.

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  3. So excited about this development too.

    But, I am intrigued about your four flights. Our last Emirates trip to Europe was Sydney-Dubai-Madrid and our return was Dusseldorf-Dubai-Madrid. (Our friends have done Sydney-Tokyo/Narita-London using Japan Airlines). Usually with Australia to Europe flights there’s just one stopover (excluding the internal Australian flight if you don’t live where the international flights start from). Maybe your trip with the extra stopover was a cheap deal??

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    • It’s Emirates, and they are very sneaky about it. They sell you a ‘direct’ ticket and then, in the small print, it says ‘1 stop’. If you look at their route map, they have two Sydney services a real ‘direct’ flight from Dubai and the stopper via Bangkok. The Melbourne flights stops in Singapore or Kuala Lumpur too. It’s even worse for the Kiwis, that Dubai-Bangkok-Sydney flights then go on to Christchurch or Auckland too — with that many stops it’s more like a bus trip than a flight. That’s why I’m so eager for the CBR route to start up.

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