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Singapore increases Austrian capacity and brings max to Darwin

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As travel demand improves, Singapore Airlines has announced that it will increase capacity on its Australian flights and introduce its new 737 MAX jets to Darwin.

The airline announced on Sunday that, starting on Wednesday, 1 June, it will raise flight frequency to four times per day on its Airbus A350-900 aircraft, with flights to Cairns increasing to five times per week as of Monday, 30 May.

Meanwhile, Singapore will begin flying to the Northern Territory with its new 737 MAX jets on June 2nd, with flights to Darwin expanding to five times per week from Tuesday, May 31st.

The modifications, according to the airline, are in response to continuously increasing demand, which has improved since Australia initially opened its borders on November 1, 2021, and loosened restrictions for overseas travelers on February 21, 2022.

Louis Arul, Singapore Airlines’ regional vice president for the south-west Pacific, said the airline has stayed “nimble” despite the pandemic’s fluctuating constraints, allowing it to quickly boost capacity and launch new planes to the Australian market.

“Since Australia’s borders opened on 1 November last year and as other countries have removed travel restrictions, we have seen continued growth in demand for travel,” Arul said.

“Australia has always been an important part of our global network since we first operated here in 1967, and we are pleased to have not only kept the country connected during the height of the pandemic but are in a position to support the recovery with increased operations.

“Increasing services to holiday destinations such as Cairns and Darwin in the lead up to peak season shows that leisure travel is continuing to recover strongly.”

The increase in capacity to four flights per day in Melbourne is the result of “collaborative efforts” between Melbourne Airport and the state government to assist SIA’s growing operations, according to Arul.

The improvements raise Singapore’s total weekly flights between Singapore and its seven Australian ports to 113, with its low-cost affiliate Scoot operating an extra 23 flights per week.

“We will continue to remain nimble to ensure Australia remains connected with the right aircraft and schedules that will further support and facilitate the continued growth in travel demand, both to and from Australia,” he said.

SQ203/204, which connects Cairns and Singapore, will begin service on Monday, May 30th, and will run every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, bringing international travelers directly to the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.

Then, starting on Tuesday, May 31st, SQ251/252 will run to and from Darwin on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

It comes as Singapore Changi Airport reopened Terminal 2 on Sunday, after being closed for more than two years due to the pandemic, and ahead of an expected increase in foreign travelers in the coming months.

The terminal was originally scheduled to close in May 2020 for an 18-month hiatus due to a drop in passenger traffic.

Singapore is a popular tourist destination for Australians and a vital gateway to other countries such as Indonesia, India, and Malaysia. The reopening of the terminal is a significant victory for the country’s aviation business as it continues to recover from the pandemic.

“CAG is encouraged to see the strong pick-up in travel demand and has worked closely with our partners to bring forward the progressive reopening of T2 ahead of the June travel peak to meet this demand,” said Tan Lye Teck, CAG’s executive vice president of airport management.

“The start of flight operations at T2 will provide more capacity to support our airline partners, who are also gearing up to serve more passengers in the months ahead.”

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