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Singapore Airlines adds fifth freedom Copenhagen – Rome route from July

Singapore Airlines is extending its Copenhagen route to Rome three times a week, and those flying intra-Europe can jump on board too - for some rare long-haul luxury on a 2-hour flight.

Singapore Airlines is restarting flights to Rome next month, previously a three or four times weekly non-stop flight but temporarily axed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic back in 2020, with the final flight operating on 11th March 2020.

The restart will be slightly different this time, however, with SIA opting to extend its existing three times weekly Copenhagen route to the Italian capital instead of adding an additional non-stop service.

This will also give the airline a new “fifth freedom” route, with approval to sell seats between the two European cities in isolation, in addition to those flying all the way between Singapore and Rome.

Rome will be the airline’s 15th destination in Europe, and its restoration to the network now means all SIA cities in the region will be served by late July 2021 (Stockholm and Dusseldorf will not return after COVID-19, while Brussels never got off the ground).

The schedule

Here’s how the flight schedule looks including the upcoming extension of the Copenhagen route to Rome, with the new “fifth freedom” flights highlighted, effective from 16th July 2021.

Singapore – Copenhagen – Rome Schedule
(from 16th July)

  Days
M T W T F S S
SQ352
A350-900
     
SIN
00:30
CPH
06:55
SQ352
A350-900
       
CPH
08:15
FCO
10:35
SQ351
A350-900
       
FCO
08:35
CPH
11:00
SQ351
A350-900
       
CPH
12:20
SIN
06:20*

The former Singapore – Copenhagen flight timings are unaffected by the addition of Rome services, since the schedule through to 15th July 2021 had the aircraft resting for 30 hours on the ground in Denmark.

Instead it will now rest for 20 hours in Rome before making the return routing.

SIA will deploy its Airbus A350 Long Haul aircraft three times per week on the Copenhagen – Rome route. (Photo: Felix Kalin)

This will be the first time, to our knowledge, that SIA has ever operated a “fifth freedom” service between Copenhagen and Rome.

The new schedule is loaded through to the end of the northern summer season in October 2021, after which the former non-stop Singapore – Rome flights (SQ366/365) are provisionally reinstated.

Update: This fifth freedom route has been extended to 31st December 2021. Non-stop Rome services provisionally recommence on 2nd January 2022.

Note that Singapore Airlines does not hold “fifth freedom” traffic rights on its only other intra-Europe route currently operating between Milan and Barcelona. These services can only carry passengers travelling to or from Singapore.


 

 

Who can travel on the new service?

Danish nationals or those with any nationality who have remained in Denmark for at least the last 14 days are permitted to enter Italy, provided they:

  • are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days prior to arrival; or
  • have a COVID-19 recovery certificate; or
  • have a negative antigen or molecular COVID-19 test conducted no more than 48 hours prior to arrival.

Business travellers are exempt from the requirement to have spent 14 days in Denmark.

Italian residents are permitted to enter Denmark, provided they:

  • are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days and no more than 8 months prior to arrival with the AstraZeneca, Janssen, Pfizer or Moderna vaccine; or
  • have a positive COVID-19 test between 14 days and 8 months old (i.e. recently recovered from COVID-19); or
  • provide a negative rapid antigen COVID-19 test at the airport on arrival (no pre-departure test required).

These conditions are a far cry from those we currently see in Asia, where quarantine-free travel remains almost completely restricted.

There should therefore be a good supply of passengers using these new intra-Europe SIA flights, which may be a nice way for the airline to generate some extra revenue. Singapore Airlines recorded just 14.9% network-wide passenger load factor in May 2021.

Important! Travel and entry restrictions across the world are changing regularly. Be sure to check the IATA Timatic Database or your airline’s advice on the latest restrictions for your journey.

Redemption rates and fares

These are the KrisFlyer miles saver redemption rates for flights between Singapore and Copenhagen / Rome, or between Copenhagen and Rome, on SIA flights.

KrisFlyer Redemption Rates
  SIN  ⇆  CPH
SIN  ⇆  FCO
(one way)
CPH  ⇆  FCO
(one-way)
Economy 38,000
(+ S$41.50)
10,000
(+S$35.70)
Premium Economy 64,500
(+ S$41.50)
17,000
(+S$35.70)
Business 92,000
(+ S$41.50)
30,500
(+S$35.70)

The airline has not loaded any award availability on the Copenhagen – Rome – Copenhagen “fifth freedom” flights yet, but we expect they will do so in due course.

In any event, with one-way fares as low as these on the intra-Europe services it probably doesn’t make sense to redeem:

Cash Fares
  CPH  → FCO
(one-way)
FCO  → CPH
(one-way)
CPH  ⇆  FCO
(return)
Economy DKK 550
(S$119)
EUR 85
(S$136)
DKK 1,032
(S$223)
Premium Economy DKK 1,330
(S$287)
EUR 189
(S$303)
DKK 2,331
(S$503)
Business DKK 1,994
(S$430)
EUR 281
(S$451)
DKK 3,437
(S$742)

SIA seems to be pricing its flights in between low-cost carrier Norwegian and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) on this route in Economy Class:

However the airline is asking for more than SAS in Business Class, for its far superior long-haul product:

Intra-Europe Business Class

For European residents, Business Class on short-haul flights is usually nothing more than a blocked middle seat in the first few rows of an Airbus A320 or Boeing 737 ahead of a moveable curtain, plus a complimentary meal.

Lufthansa Airbus A320 intra-Europe Business Class. (Photo: One Mile at a Time)

This new service will provide a rare opportunity to enjoy a long-haul Business Class product on a 2+ hour intra-Europe flight, either for 30,500 KrisFlyer miles (which is a bit steep) or just paying the competitive fare.

Rare long-haul luxury for a 2-hour intra-Europe flight in SIA’s 2013 Business Class seat. (Photo: Hight Tech Flight)

That’s a stark difference, and with so many European residents eligible to travel there are bound to be many wanting to target one of these three times weekly flights if a Denmark – Italy trip is part of their plans.


 

 

Summary

As modern aircraft like the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 have featured much longer range than previous generation jets, “fifth freedom” flights have become less and less common over the last 15-20 years, with airlines able to more efficiently operate point-to-point services between their hubs and smaller cities.

However, the travel restrictions brought about by COVID-19, and their relaxation in some parts of the world, is bringing about some interesting opportunities for airlines like SIA.

Recently we wrote about how the airline’s return to non-stop Manchester flights could perfectly position it to take advantage of a likely transatlantic ‘travel bubble’ between the UK and the USA in the coming months, by adding the former fifth freedom Houston extension to the aircraft’s planned downtime in Manchester.

That’s exactly the pattern we’re seeing here for this new extension of the Copenhagen service to Rome, with most European travellers now eligible to fly carrying either a vaccination certificate, proof of recent COVID-19 recovery or a negative test result.

SIA’s passenger load factor was only 14.9% in May 2021. This new Copenhagen – Rome route is likely to do much better than that! (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

While “fifth freedom” traffic is likely to be low on this route, it’s a nice supplement to SIA’s Singapore – Rome or Rome – Singapore passengers flying on the same flights, even if the numbers wouldn’t have been commercially feasible pre-COVID.

Europeans can travel, are travelling, and Singapore Airlines is sensibly making the most of it with this latest route extension.

(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)

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