As one of the world’s best little capital cities, getting to Wellington is going to be much easier now with news that Singapore Airlines will be running A350-900s on its Singapore-Melbourne-Wellington route from November 1st, 2019.
The four days a week service also provides a handy Star Alliance fifth freedom flight for Aussies skipping across to Wellington for work or Kiwis up for a weekend in Melbourne. It’s proving a popular service, as Singapore Airlines is adding a fifth weekly flight from January 1st, 2020.
Currently, the service is operated by Boeing 777-200s which still offer the most comfortable way to get to Wellington either Singapore or Melbourne. They far outclass the single-aisle jets put on the route by Qantas, Air New Zealand, Jetstar, and Virgin Australia.
You might be able to cruise into Auckland or Christchurch on a swish A380 or 787, but you’d then have to jump on a cramped single-aisle A320 or turboprop for the final leg. This Singapore Airlines flight is the only way to get all the way to Wellington in twin-aisle, flatbed comfort
And introducing the A350-900 will only further entrench Singapore Airlines is the standout operator on the route.
SQ will now offer a consistent three-class product on all its Kiwi routes
The A350-900 service will offer the airline’s latest business class, premium economy and economy class product. Singapore Airlines will be the only airline offering premium economy in and out of Wellington.
It means Singapore Airlines will offer a consistent three-class product on its flights in and out of its New Zealand destinations – Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington.
Wellington has struggled to attract a variety of international operators
Wellington, located on the bottom of New Zealand’s North Island, has always struggled to attract international services to destinations other than Australia’s east coast capitals.
When the Singapore Airlines route started in 2016, it originally flew through Canberra rather than Melbourne. That was an interesting idea; providing the only direct link between the two capital cities in this part of the world to planeloads of bureaucrats and government officials.
It didn’t quite work out. Those same bureaucrats and government officials from both countries tend to be very attached to their national airline’s frequent flyer schemes, their airline status, and their access to plush top tier lounges. Not even direct flights could drag them away from the Chairman’s Lounge.
So, Singapore Airlines switched the stopover to Melbourne, a big commercial city. That city’s corporate market, more dollar driven and price-sensitive than taxpayer-funded bureaucrats and officials, took the handy fifth freedom flight to its heart. It didn’t hurt that the Singapore Airlines product far exceeded anything competing airlines offered on the route.
in 2019, even local flag carrier, Air New Zealand, only flies to Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane, preferring to hub its Wellington passengers through Auckland to other international destinations.
Fiji Airways offers an opportunity for residents of New Zealand’s windy capital to flee to some Fijian sunshine with their non-stop flights between Wellington and Nadi.
Singapore Airlines is the only other carrier that steps up at Wellington, offering residents an alternative to transiting in Auckland. Singapore Airlines gets a lot of love around Australia and New Zealand for their commitment to the area when other airlines are stepping back.
People vote with their wallets and buy tickets on airlines that offer frequency and commitment. Singapore Airlines runs a good service into Wellington and people respond in kind. It’s a reason why the obscure little route is succeeding.