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Jan 12, 2016

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Canberra's Roos sculpture might soon welcome international flights
Canberra’s Roos sculpture might soon welcome international flights

A shout out to Joe Aston on the Australian Financial Review for saying Singapore Airlines is about to announce flights to Wellington via Canberra.

His information is believed to be good. It better be!

Such an announcement has been anticipated for at least 20 years, and with a high visibility credible airline like Singapore Airlines taking the lead, it will be interesting to see who follows.

Canberra has an excellent airport and an increasingly apparent upside for leisure travel as well as government, public administration and academic travel account business on offer if not begging for attention.

The loathing Canberra travellers express for making connections in Sydney can be solved as far as Asia and Europe is concerned by Singapore’s Changi Airport.

But there will be more attention paid to the Canberra possibilities by other airlines once the Singapore links begin working with a reported four times weekly A330 service.

Subject to more hotel accommodation coming on line, Canberra is a very attractive gateway for the China market, either entering or departing, and would no doubt make a highly competitive offer to international carriers in terms of landing and handling charges compared to the take it or leave it prices levied at Sydney.

It offers ample slots and has no jet curfew. Back of clock operations are often favoured by the tour operators that would be significant customers for new leisure flights from China and other parts of Asia.

Qantas or Jetstar or Virgin Australia and its Tiger low cost franchise, and Air New Zealand, will no doubt revisit their options for single aisle or widebody  services across the Tasman from Canberra.

With its close, perhaps soon even closer, links with part owner Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia could hardly fail to scope improved domestic connections at Canberra for incoming flights from Singapore.

Canberra by the mid 20s, when Sydney West opens, could become an important alternative to the monopolistic pricing power of Sydney Airport should its owners exercise their first right of refusal to build and operate the new Sydney basin airport at Badgerys Creek.

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