The regional wing of Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, is to begin flights to an eighth destination in China. Subject to regulatory approvals the carrier will introduce a regular link between Singapore Changi and Xiaoshan International Airport in Hangzhou, a major city in the Yangtze River Delta region and the capital of China’s Zhejiang Province.
SilkAir plans to offer a four times weekly link on the route from June 27, 2014, initially using its two-class Airbus A319s and A320s but latter replacing them with its new Boeing 737-800s. Hangzhou, the capital of the Zhejiang province is well-known for its breathtaking scenery and cultural sites. The city is centred largely around the picturesque West Lake, where popular attractions such as Solitary Hill, Ling Yin Temple, Six Harmonies Pagoda can be found.
“The launch of services to Hangzhou, reaffirms SilkAir’s commitment to continue to grow our network in China, which is one of our key markets. Hangzhou is a city that attracts both the leisure and business traveller and we believe that our new service will certainly benefit them,” said Leslie Thng, chief executive officer, SilkAir.
SilkAir first began operations to China in 1993 and has steadily strengthened its network over the subsequent years. It currently serves seven destinations in China: Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Kunming, Shenzhen, Wuhan and Xiamen. Like its current operations, the new Hangzhou flight will connect to the wider SilkAir and parent Singapore Airlines networks at Singapore Changi International Airport.
The Singapore – Hangzhou route will place SilkAir in head-to-head competition with Jetstar Asia Airways which launched its own operations on the city pair in March 2011. Prior to the low-cost carrier’s debut on the route, Air China had previously offered flights between the cities but suspended its own flights in October 2005. According to MIDT data more than 90,000 bi-directional O&D passengers travelled on the route in 2012 and 2013.
Our analysis of O&D demand on the route highlights how the new Jetstar Asia operation has stimulated the market and certainly influenced the decision by SilkAir to launch its own flights. Since the introduction of non-stop services, O&D demand has more than doubled from around 41,000 passengers in 2010 to almost 100,000 in 2012.