Singapore Airlines uses Moscow flight to support Stockholm debut

The new Singapore - Moscow - Stockholm flight will commence from May 30, 2017, subject to regulatory approval, and will be operated with a five times weekly frequency using Airbus A350-900 equipment.

Asian carrier Singapore Airlines is to introduce flights to a second destination in Scandinavia during the summer 2017 schedule as it complements its existing services to Copenhagen, Denmark with a new flight to Stockholm, Sweden. The new flight will commence from May 30, 2017, subject to regulatory approval, and will be operated with a five times weekly frequency using 253-seat Airbus A350-900 equipment.

The new flight will be supported by existing passenger demand in and out of Moscow with Singapore Airlines operating to Stockholm as an extension of its current flights into the Russian capital. Moscow had previously been flown as a stop on the airline’s flight from Singapore to Houston, but became a standalone destination this autumn after the US link was re-routed via Manchester.

To support the flight’s extension, Singapore Airlines will boost the frequency of the Moscow route from its current four times weekly schedule to five times weekly when the Stockholm leg is added and it seeks to further boost connectivity between Southeast Asia and Northern Europe.

“We have been evaluating services to Stockholm for several years and are pleased that we can now introduce services to the Swedish capital using the newest aircraft in our fleet, the Airbus A350-900. It is encouraging that our partnership with Scandinavian Airlines is going from strength to strength,” said Goh Choon Phong, chief executive officer, Singapore Airlines.

Star Alliance partner SAS Scandinavian Airlines will codeshare on the new services. Subject to approval from competition authorities, the new services will also be included in a joint venture agreement between the two airlines that took effect in 2013 covering flights between Scandinavia and Singapore.

“This is another example of how together with partners we can jointly offer more travel options for our customers, bringing Southeast Asia and Scandinavia closer in addition to meeting increasing demand for travel between Southwest Pacific and Northern Europe,” added Goh Choon Phong.

This route will support the growing demand between Southeast Asia and Scandinavia, as well as provide alternative, albeit at least two-stop options onwards into Asia, Australia and New Zealand. O&D passenger demand between Stockholm and Singapore has risen 35.8 per cent this decade, while traffic between Sweden and Singapore and Scandinavia and Singapore has grown 35.5 per cent and 27.9 per cent, respectively, according to the AirVision Market Intelligence tool from Sabre Airline Solutions.

The Stockholm – Singapore city pair currently generates an estimated 30 PPDEW (passengers per-day each-way), according to the data provider and has seen year-on-year O&D demand grow 1.7 per cent over the first eleven months of 2016. Singapore Airlines currently holds a 21.0 per cent share of this indirect traffic, the largest of any airline, with the largest flows connecting with SAS locally to its long-haul flights from Copenhagen, Frankfurt and London.

The data suggests that the airline is facing increasing pressure on this city pair from Qatar Airways which has been growing capacity on the Doha – Stockholm in recent years – it has a 20.3 per cent share of the Stockholm – Singapore market and Doha is the largest single transit point. After launching services in November 2007 with a four times weekly A319 link, this winter it will offer an up to double daily frequency, both flown with Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner equipment.

The partnership with SAS will provide additional feed options via Stockholm, while Singapore Airlines directly, through its sister operations and its partners will provide transfer connections into Asia and Australasia. The airline is boosting its summer 2017 schedule with notable growth across Southeast and West Asia and into Australia.

In Australia, Melbourne will be served with 31 weekly flights, up from 28, with effect from July 17, 2017, while flight frequency to Brisbane will increase to 28 per week, up from 24, starting on August 22, 2017. From June 4, 2017, Sydney will be served 33 times per week, up from 31 times per week. To cater to peak period demand, flight frequency to Sydney will be further increased to 35 weekly flights from June 18, 2017 to September 30, 2017.

In Southeast Asia, Bangkok flight frequency will increase to six per day from five with effect from March 26, 2017 and Ho Chi Minh City will be served 19 times per week from the same day, up from the current 17 per week. In West Asia, the Indian city of Ahmedabad will be served four times per week, up from the current three, with effect from March 26, 2017, while Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka will be served ten times per week with effect from July 19, 2017, up from the current seven flights per week.

The growth in frequencies will see Singapore Airlines grow its network capacity slightly in 2017. However, it continues to offer a balanced operation with its sister operations such as SilkAir and Scoot picking up additional regional and predominantly leisure markets from the mainline business.

This arrangement allows Singapore Airlines to focus on better performing higher-yield destinations, with the others able to better compete in other markets with their lower cost structures.  This will likely see Scoot grow further into Europe with its Dreamliner fleet adding to the Athens route announced this year.

A comparison of Singapore Airlines’ departure capacity between 2006 and 2016 shows that Europe and the Southwest Pacific have been the main focus of the airline’s development over the past ten years, according to OAG Schedules Analyser data.  Departure capacity from Europe has risen 26.7 per cent over the period, while Southwest Pacific has seen departure seats rise 12.6 per cent. This compares with a 3.1 per cent decline in capacity from Asia, a 17.5 per cent fall from Africa, a 28.8 per cent decline out of North America and a 68.2 per cent fall from the Middle East.