Singapore Airlines brings Airbus to NZ

JOHN ANTHONY
Last updated 11:21 12/08/2014

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Singapore Airlines will start flying the world's largest aircraft, the double decker Airbus A380, to Auckland from October 27.

The announcement comes days after Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand received approval from the New Zealand Government to form an alliance.

Singapore Airlines' 471-seat A380 will fly daily from Singapore arriving in Auckland around lunch time The return flight depart Auckland in the afternoon and arrives in Singapore later that night.

The flights are currently operated with 278-seat Boeing 777-300ERs.

The only other airline to fly A380s to Auckland is Emirates which offers three daily flights from Dubai via Australia.

Auckland Airport spokesman Charles Spillane said Singapore Airline's A380 would provide an additional 55,000 seats during the peak summer period.

"We also estimate that it will contribute an additional $45 million in tourism spend to our economy," Spillane said.

APX Travel Management chief executive officer Andrew Dale said the announcement was great news for New Zealand air travellers.

"It keeps New Zealand as a destination on the world map," Dale said.

Travellers were attracted to flying on the A380, he said.

"There is an element of prestige and newness still around that aircraft."

When Singapore Airlines introduces the A380 to its Auckland service it would be the first time passengers could fly on the aircraft type direct from New Zealand into Asia, he said.

It will also be the first time travellers will be able to fly to Europe from New Zealand one stop on an A380.

The announcement was most likely to be the first move under the new alliance, he said.

Under the alliance, announced in January, Air New Zealand will resume flying between Auckland and Singapore, having abandoned the route in 2006.

The Competition Commission of Singapore gave its approval in April.

Singapore Airlines operates 12 weekly flights to Auckland and a daily service to Christchurch.

The new alliance will lead to more flights between Singapore and New Zealand and provide improved connections through reciprocal codeshare agreements.

Air New Zealand will take over five services operated by Singapore Airlines using upgraded Boeing 777-200ERs and add two flights a week.

Together, the two carriers will increase seat capacity on the route by up to 30 per cent.

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