CANBERRA Airport will welcome the first international flights to the city within the coming year now that it is "all dressed up and ready to go" following the opening of its new terminal this April.
Stephen Byron, CEO of Canberra Airport, said the airport is setting its sights first on Singapore as it is the “pre-eminent hub” that will help Canberra connect to the whole of Asia.
According to Byron, there are currently approximately 7,800 passengers per week travelling between Canberra and Asia/Europe via other Australian cities, and Singapore contributes 50 per cent of this gateway traffic.
He said: “Singapore is the most obvious hub for us to connect to and we believe this gateway share (from Singapore) can increase by 40 per cent if there is a direct return flight to Canberra.”
Convincing Singapore Airlines to start a daily Airbus A330-300 service on the route requires some 3,000 passengers per week, a criterion Byron says Canberra has fulfilled. Discussions with the carrier are ongoing.
Canberra Airport completed its A$480 million (US$450 million) redevelopment plan last year, and now brandishes an international terminal zone with space set for aside for customs, immigration and quarantine facilities.
The terminal’s departure lounges and aerobridges are capable of switching from a domestic function to an international gate, with two of the existing 14 boarding gates earmarked for international flights and provisions for a further six international boarding gates.
Visit Canberra’s director, Ian Hill, said: “We are the capital city of Australia after all and there is just so much that we want to showcase from our arts and culture, to our outdoors and adventure, and food and shopping."
Chan Brothers Travel senior product manager, Tevin Ong, agreed that Canberra has the potential to lure Singaporeans as it is an “unexplored city”.
He said: “We are always bringing Singaporean travellers to the popular cities like Melbourne and Sydney, and this will be good news for them to be the first to look at something new and different in Australia.”