Asian carrier, Singapore Airlines, has confirmed it will utilise its Airbus A380 on its route to Auckland from the end of October 2014, although the deployment will be just a seasonal offering and will revert back to a Boeing 777 from the northern summer 2015 schedule in March next year.
The carrier currently operates 12 flights per week between its hub at Singapore’s Changi International Airport and Auckland International Airport. Alongside switching the daily flight from a 777-300ER to the 471-seat Super Jumbo from October 27, 2014, an additional five weekly rotations are flown using a 777-200ER. The aircraft switch will result in a 69.4 per cent increase in seat capacity on each of the daily flights.
The confirmation of the A380 deployment follows the recent approval from the New Zealand Minister of Transport to a proposed alliance between Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand which endorsed the earlier decision from the Competition Commission of Singapore. The carriers aim to boost their existing capacity between New Zealand and Singapore by up to 30 per cent through the A380 deployment and the return of Air New Zealand to the Singapore market.
Under the terms of the agreement, Air New Zealand is expected to take over the operation of five of SIA’s existing flights on the Auckland – Singapore, adding two more weekly rotations and boosting the frequency to a daily schedule. This route will be served using a newly refitted Boeing 777-200ER and will mark the carrier’s first flights on the route since it suspended its previous link in 2006.
The alliance will enable Air New Zealand passengers to access codeshare travel on the Singapore Airlines network to South East Asia, the United Kingdom and Europe and Africa as well as on the network of its regional subsidiary airline, SilkAir. Singapore Airlines’ customers would be able to access codeshare travel across the Air New Zealand domestic network and to selected international destinations, significantly enhancing connectivity options. Its daily Singapore - Christchurch service will also continue as part of the alliance.
Alongside regional demand the arrangement will strengthen Singapore Airlines’ position against the growing competition from the big Gulf hub carriers on routes between Europe and New Zealand.
In our analysis, below, we look at scheduled passenger demand between Auckland and Singapore over the past ten years. According to the data, demand levels in 2013 where the third highest for the past ten year period but were down 5.9 per cent on 2012, which itself was down 12.3 per cent on the market peak demand in 2011 when budget carrier Jetstar Asia began services, although levels are up 24.1 per cent across the ten year analysis.
The arrival of the low-cost service, now flown under the Jetstar Airways code, certainly stimulated demand as capacity rose 99.8 per cent that year, versus 2010. The current data for 2014 shows a return to growth in 2014 with O&D demand levels for the first six months up 6.1 per cent on last year.