Several Asian carriers are set to increase flying to Australia, with Singapore Airlines upgauging capacity on a number of key routes into the country, as part of a broader network ramp-up.
For the 2024 northern summer operating season, which starts 31 March next year, SIA will deploy the Airbus A350-900 on flights to Cairns. It marks the first time it will serve the route with a widebody for 20 years. It is a significant increase in capacity from current services, where the airline deploys the Boeing 737 Max 8.
It will also add one additional rotation on Cairns, taking frequencies to five flights per week. SIA is also adding additional frequencies on its flight flights to Darwin (from five weekly to daily flights), Melbourne (from four to five times daily), as well as Perth (from four daily to five daily flights).
Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific is increasing flights to Brisbane from 1 December, from four weekly flights to six. Cathay, which is the only carrier flying between the two cities, will operate all flights with its 777-300ERs.
Apart from a rise in tourist arrivals, the ramp-up is expected to boost Queensland exports of beef, seafood, manufactured goods and pharmaceuticals, says Brisbane Airport.
Low-cost carrier VietJet announced plans to launch twice-weekly flights between Ho Chi Minh city and Perth from 21 November, operated with A321s. It is the first time a Vietnamese operator has flown nonstop between the two cities, the carrier states.
Perth will be Vietjet’s fourth Australian destination – it already operates its A330s to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
SIA’S A380 RETURNS TO EUROPE
Alongside announcing more flights to Australia, SIA will also boost capacity in other areas of its network during the 2024 northern summer period, including reinstating direct flights from Singapore to Barcelona, as well as returning the A380 to continental Europe.
From 31 March next year, it will deploy the superjumbo on daily flights from Singapore to Frankfurt, an upgauge from the A350s currently on the route.
In China, SIA will add daily flights to Beijing from May 2024, as well as Hong Kong and Shanghai from October this year.
As for Japan, SIA will boost flying to Tokyo Haneda back to pre-pandemic frequencies, with the addition of two daily flights in October and September 2024, respectively.
Flights to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia will increase from the current 47-times a week to 66 weekly flights by April next year, bringing it closer to pre-pandemic levels.
The latest increases “support the strong demand for air travel to… key markets”, says the Star Alliance carrier.
Separately, Bangkok-based Thai AirAsia has expanded its India network with the addition of Ahmedabad as its eighth point in the country. The flights, which will fly from Bangkok’s Don Mueang airport, will operate thrice weekly from October.
Medium-haul sister unit Thai AirAsia X, meanwhile, will reinstate flights from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport to Sapporo in Japan. Daily flights will commence from 29 October, in time for the winter season, says the carrier. Sapporo is the airline’s third Japanese city, after Tokyo and Osaka.