Direct Wellington and Canberra flight in the works

  • 12/01/2016

By Pattrick Smellie

Airlines and airports won't discuss it, but industry sources say that bureaucrats and politicians will soon have access for the first time to a direct flight between Wellington and Canberra.

The new service, which would be an adjunct to the first direct service between Singapore and the Australian capital city, was reported in a gossipy item in the Australian Financial Review.

The report suggests Singapore International Airlines will announce the new route in coming days and will take the opportunity to keep its wide-bodied Airbus A330 jet busy during its turnaround time by flying the first direct service ever to be offered between Wellington and Canberra.

Wellington International Airport is seeking to extend the New Zealand capital city's runway to allow long haul flights using new era wide-bodied jets, such as the A330, to destinations in Asia and the United States, although this wouldn't be the first time Wellington has hosted trans-Tasman service using wide-bodied aircraft.

Such planes can make the trans-Tasman run using the current, shorter runway because they carry less fuel than for long haul flights.

AFR noted the new Singapore Airlines service would finally make true the "international" part of Canberra International Airport's name, having not previously been able to attract direct international flights, unlike Wellington, which already hosts flights to a range of international short haul destinations in Australia and the Pacific.

Singapore Airlines supplied a statement declining comment on the AFR story, although BusinessDesk inquiries have confirmed the service is more than twinkle in an Australian journalist's eye.

"We are continuously evaluating new route opportunities to provide additional travel options to our customers and to support the further development of the Singapore hub," the statement said. "However, beyond our recent announcement that we will be introducing Singapore-Dusseldorf services in 2016, we have no new route plans to announce at this stage."