Singapore Airlines scraps Canberra leg, ending all direct flights to and from the national capital

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Shinzo Abe’s key lieutenant Yoshihide Suga looks set to become Japan’s next prime minister, after winning a ruling party leadership election.

Singapore Airlines has announced it will no longer fly direct from Singapore to Canberra, even once coronavirus restrictions ease.

The airline scrapped its Canberra to Wellington leg in 2018, just 18 months after its maiden flight.

That decision was made after lacklustre passenger numbers in the early months, and a review of the route.

The airline will also halt flights to between Melbourne and Wellington, the replacement to the Canberra-Wellington leg.

« It is necessary as we foresee travel demand to remain stunted for a long period of time, » regional vice president for South West Pacific Philip Goh told Executive Travel.

« Australia and New Zealand remain key markets for the SIA group and we remain firmly committed to ensuring both countries remain connected through our Singapore hub. »

The decision means there will no longer be any direct international flights out of the national capital.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr, who has long campaigned for Canberra to be a major international transport hub, said Singapore Airlines’ decision was expected given the impact of coronavirus on the tourism and aviation sectors.

« This suspension came as part of a broader announcement from Singapore Airlines that they are also laying off over 4,000 people from their workforce, » Mr Barr said.

« Airlines are having to make extremely difficult choices to ensure their long-term survival as it will be many years before any normality returns to international travel. »

Singapore was the first airline to offer regular international flights to and from Canberra since 2004, after Asia-Pacific’s short-lived service to Fiji.

The Singapore-Canberra service had been running four times per week since 2016 before the pandemic hit.

« We are grateful for the fantastic relationship we have built with Singapore Airlines over the last five years and we have proven that the business case works, » Mr Barr said.

« When the time is right we look forward to working with Canberra Airport and Singapore Airlines to return international flights to Canberra. »

Canberrans will still be able to fly non-direct to Singapore under codeshare arrangements with Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand.

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Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-09-14/singapore-airlines-pulls-plug-on-canberra-airport/12662194

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