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Singapore Airlines increases Auckland flights in July

Singapore Airlines has added 50% more flights than first proposed to its Auckland route in July 2020

Auckland Aerial (Auckland Tourism)

Note: SIA has again increased its Auckland flights at relatively short notice, with four times weekly service starting on 9th August 2020.

Singapore Airlines made some tweaks to its recently expanded flight schedule for July 2020 earlier this week, with the main change being a 50% increase in planned flights to New Zealand’s economic hub and largest city, Auckland.

From next week, an additional Airbus A350 service will fly to the ‘City of Sails’ every Wednesday, returning each Thursday, in addition to the originally planned Tuesday and Friday departures from Singapore.

This will capitalise on the recently enhanced transit flight permission for SIA Group services through Changi Airport, with Auckland a valid departure point and also now permitted as a destination from eight approved cities in North Asia – Taipei being the latest pin on the map.

The schedule

Singapore Airlines is currently serving Auckland twice per week, via a daytime SQ281 service on Fridays returning during the day on Saturdays as SQ286, plus an overnight SQ285 service on Tuesdays returning overnight on Wednesdays as SQ282.

This was part of the airline’s expanded schedule for June and July 2020.

SQtrans small

Singapore ⇄ Auckland
(June 2020)
Days Acft
M T W T F S S
SIN ➔ AKL
SQ281
359
AKL ➔ SIN
SQ282
359
SIN ➔ AKL
SQ285
359
AKL ➔ SIN
SQ286
359

From 1st July 2020 an additional SQ281/286 flight pairing has now been added. This additional service will operate on Wednesdays from Singapore to Auckland as SQ281 and return as SQ286 on Thursdays.

Singapore ⇄ Auckland
(July 2020)
Days Acft
M T W T F S S
SIN ➔ AKL
SQ281
359
AKL ➔ SIN
SQ282
359
SIN ➔ AKL
SQ285
359
AKL ➔ SIN
SQ286
359
New services or increased frequencies are highlighted in yellow

As with all current Auckland passenger operations, a 253-seat 3-class Airbus A350 will be used.

These aircraft include 42 of the airline’s popular 2013 Business Class seats.

12DF new
Singapore Airlines Airbus A350 long-haul Business Class. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The airline recently outlined how the travel experience both on the ground and in the air has changed as it increases services in view of the COVID-19 situation.

Many domestic flights within New Zealand are flying, with Star Alliance carrier Air New Zealand already operating a wide range of services. Jetstar is also restarting its around 60% of its pre-Covid domestic flight schedule in the country from 1st July 2020.

That means for Kiwis returning home it should be fairly straightforward to travel domestically after arriving in the country on one of these Singapore – Auckland services.

Where else is Singapore Airlines flying?

Singapore Airlines is serving 17 routes in Asia-Pacific, 6 routes in Europe and to a single city in the USA, as part of its expanded schedule for June and July 2020.

SQ Routemap JunJul APAC
(click to enlarge)
SQ Routemap JunJul EURUS
(click to enlarge)

For full details of SIA’s current flight schedules, see our article from earlier this month.

Currently no routes are being served daily (5 times weekly is the most frequent). The airline is also serving Christchurch in New Zealand once per week.

Auckland now has the second-highest number of weekly Singapore Airlines flights in the South West Pacific region, after Sydney.

SilkAir and Scoot routes

SIA’s network is complemented by the following routes to and from Changi operated by subsidiary airlines:

SilkAir Silk Bird Green

  • Cebu
  • Kuala Lumpur (SQ also operating)
  • Medan

Scoot TZtrans

  • Guangzhou
  • Hong Kong (SQ also operating)
  • Ipoh
  • Kuching
  • Penang
  • Perth
  • Surabaya
  • Taipei

See our full analysis of Scoot’s latest schedule extensions here.

Transit flight approvals

Passengers can now transit from a total of 15 cities on the Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and Scoot networks to any destination currently being served by the group.

Transit Pax (Changi Airport)
The first SIA transit passengers passed through Changi under the new rules on the weekend of 13th/14th June. (Photo: Changi Airport)

Return routings are now also possible, provided your origin and destination city are both on the list of approved transit points, otherwise it’s still one-way only from an approved city to a non-approved one.

Currently no other airlines at Changi have transit passenger approval, so you must be flying on an SIA Group carrier for both sectors to take advantage, even to or from an approved city.

The transit experience

‘Not as you once knew it’ is the best summary here. If you’re on a connecting flight itinerary through Changi at the moment you’ll have to follow a relatively strict and secluded experience.

Essentially it involves:

  • Being provided with a wristband to identify you as a transit passenger.
  • Being escorted to a specific transit holding area, with no opportunity to visit any shops, restaurants or lounges.
  • Being escorted back to your departure gate around 75 minutes before the departure of your onward flight.

Passengers must remain within the transit holding area for the duration of their connection, though they can order food and drinks to be delivered through an app, and those with PPS Club status or flying in First or Business Class have their own dedicated area with complimentary food and drinks.

See our article for a full rundown on the new transit experience.

Another option available since last week for those with longer connections is a room at the Aerotel Transit Hotel in Terminal 1, though in that case you’ll again have to be escorted to and from the hotel itself and won’t be free to leave your room during your booked time there.

For full updated information on the transit process through Changi Airport, see the airline’s dedicated page here.

Summary

The new transit flight approval for passengers on SIA Group services through Changi seems to be having a positive effect on demand, with a 50% increase in originally proposed services to and from Auckland for the month of July 2020.

A sharp increase in domestic flight connectivity in New Zealand itself will also be helping drive up demand for these longer flights.

Hopefully we will see more flight increases coming through for August, despite the continued international travel restrictions remaining in force, as the airline assists those still needing to travel home or for urgent reasons, especially to and from Australia and New Zealand.

(Photo: Auckland Tourism)

5 comments

    1. These are passenger flights. NZ citizens, PRs and their immediate family members can fly to New Zealand, as can Australian citizens normally resident in New Zealand.

      Those leaving New Zealand are subject to the entry rules of the final destination country. Usually they will need to be resident there but not in all cases (e.g. USA).

      1. No, I don’t mean who’s allowed to fly by law. I’m wondering who are predicted to need or want to fly? Those that are still stranded elsewhere and need to get back home to NZ? So many? Also not sure whether there are many non-NZ that are stranded in NZ.

      2. Oh yes plenty of people still abroad now heading home. I know a Kiwi still in Japan looking to get back, SG in South Africa etc.

        The numbers are relatively small but people are still moving.

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