Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand partnership approved by NZ government

By David Flynn, August 7 2014
Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand partnership approved by NZ government

  • Air New Zealand to resume daily Auckland-Singapore flights
  • Singapore Airlines to launch Airbus A380 on Singapore-Auckland

Today's approval of a closer tie-up between Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand by the New Zealand Minister of Transport paves the way for the airlines to share flights to the UK, Europe, Africa and Asia via Singapore as part of a strengthened partnership between the two Star Alliance flag-carriers.

Air New Zealand will resume daily flights from Auckland to Singapore’s Changi Airport – a route which the Kiwi carrier closed in 2007 – using one of its upgraded Boeing 777-200 jets.

Passengers will transfer at Singapore to one of SQ’s four daily flights to London or the wealth of Singapore Airlines flights to other destinations in the UK, Europe, South East Asia and Africa. The codeshare agreement will also extend to Singapore Airlines’s regional offshoot SilkAir.

In return, Singapore Airlines will stamp its SQ flight code onto all domestic and selected international Air New Zealand flights.

Auckland gets an A380

The partnership will also see Singapore Airlines’ flagship Airbus A380 appear on the daily Singapore-Auckland route from October 27.

The superjumbo will run as flight SQ285, departing Singapore at 8.50pm to reach Auckland at 11.45am the following day. The return flight SQ286 will be wheels up from Auckland at 1.30pm, arriving in Singapore at 7pm.

A second Singapore-Auckland service which SQ currently operates five days a week will be axed to accommodate the new daily AirNZ flight. Singapore Airlines’ daily Singapore-Christchurch service will continue.

Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong described the alliance as "a genuine win-win partnership, enabling Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand to work together to provide more flight frequency and enhanced travel options to our customers.”

“Air New Zealand is on a positive growth trajectory with a clear focus on Pacific Rim destinations” said Air New Zealand CEO Chris Luxon. “An alliance with Singapore Airlines clearly fits our business objectives of working with the right partners in the right markets to deliver seamless customer journeys."

Members of Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer and Air New Zealand’s Airpoints frequent flyer schemes can already earn and redeem points on each other’s flights – along with enjoying reciprocal access to airport lounges, priority check-in and additional baggage allowances – are both airlines are members of the Star Alliance.

Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand are also major stakeholders in Virgin Australia, holding just under 46% of the airline between them.

AirNZ's alliance strategy

Today's deal has echoes of Air New Zealand’s 2012 tie-up with Cathay Pacific, under which AirNZ passengers fly to Hong Kong and then transfer to a codeshared Cathay Pacific flight to London. That alliance also saw Air New Zealand close its loss-making route between Hong Kong and London.

Such alliances are crucial to Air New Zealand, which like Qantas suffers challenges in being an ‘end-point’ carrier in a market increasingly dominated by airlines with intermediate hubs located in Asia or the Arabian Gulf.

Air New Zealand is also busily ramping up its international fleet, with the new long-range Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner set to debut between Auckland and Sydney on Saturday August 9 2014 before later moving to the Auckland-Perth route.

The airline's CEO Chris Luxon has earmarked the rest of the Dreamliner fleet for flights to Asia, which he describes as “premium leisure travel markets” compared to the “business and leisure” mix of North America.

“For us this aircraft is really perfect for the Asian markets, and it’s perfectly configured with lie-flat business class and our new premium economy” Luxon told Australian Business Traveller earlier this year. 

Read: AirNZ Boeing 787 Auckland-Sydney flights start August 9

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

20 Oct 2011

Total posts 77

Are NZ going to drip the HKG service and CX oncarriage to accommodate this?

15 Dec 2013

Total posts 42

No. NZ and CX will continue to fly 2/3 times daily AKL-HKG. 

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 735

I would assume that the new 787 deliveries let them redistribute their 777s to new routes.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2011

Total posts 362

Smart move by Air New Zealand


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 May 2012

Total posts 120

Indeed, a smart alliance which make sense for both airlines.

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1245

Smart indeed for NZ.

02 Jan 2013

Total posts 142

I can't help but think everything Air NZ does turns to gold! Great move!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Nov 2013

Total posts 2

Not everything... Remember Ansett?

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 526

Nice partnership. Air New Zealand seems to be going in the right direction in recent times.

15 Dec 2013

Total posts 42

Very interesting move by Air NZ. There seems to be more in this arrangement for NZ than SQ.

SIN will now be AKL's first long-haul route flown by three airlines (NZ/SQ/JQ).

Will be cool to potentially see four A380s on the ground at the same time at AKL.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2012

Total posts 580

"Four A380s on the ground at the same time" - I assume you mean four actual A380s, not carriers operating A380s into AKL (which will be EK, CZ and now SQ)?

15 Dec 2013

Total posts 42

Yep, four aircraft.

Although thinking about it, the daytime SQ departs just as the the first EK arrives. So not likely all four would be on the ground together.

CZ operates 787s to AKL, not A380s. It did fly A380s twice last year for special promo flights.

07 Jan 2014

Total posts 42

Yep though all you need is for the SQ A380 to hit a delay and then you have your four A380's (and, as it currently stands, only three A380 gates so that will be interesting!)

Note also regulatory approval hasn't been granted for this yet; though they must be pretty confident of it going through or they wouldn't have announced it.  The CX/NZ tie-up wasn't announced until regulatory approval was granted - presumably because they thought MOT might reject as it would be consolidating a monopoly on the AKL HKG route.  Much less risk on MOT rejecting AKL SIN as currently NZ does not fly it.

15 Dec 2013

Total posts 42

While it would be cool to see the aircraft all together on the tarmac, it wouldn't be a pretty sight in the terminal. The congestion is bad enough when the three EKs arrive within an hour.

The baggage hall and Biosecurity screening area are not up to the task of the current pax numbers, let alone more at the most busy times.

It's also bad on Tue/Thu/Fri nights when the night SQ and MH arrive in the middle of the midnight-madness Tasman flights.

Bring on the new terminal!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Sep 2012

Total posts 234

Do you think this will entice possible SQ flights to the US with a stop over in Auckland in the near future? Hard to think that SQ is in just for getting domestic codeshare. If this deal does happen then it will be a major shake up in the Oceania-US airspace. 

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

07 Sep 2012

Total posts 146

Can't see that ever happening. SIN - AKL is in a completely different direction to SIN - LAX for instance...and there's the issue of landing rights in the USA ex NZ. Can't see Air NZ giving up one of their slots on that route to make way for them, especially as LAX is their stopover to the UK.

15 Dec 2013

Total posts 42

No. I don't see why SQ would fly NZ-US. It already flies direct to LAX and elsewhere from SIN, and Air NZ does not want competition on its cash-cow monopoly North American routes.

Long-term it is conceivable that SQ/NZ could work together on South American routes, using AKL as a hub, as Star Alliance is weak in the SE Asia-South America market. Air NZ has been looking at South America for a long time but doesn't want to go it alone.

China Southern is supposedly considering routing flights from Guangzhou to South America via AKL.

As for more NZ-US flights, I think the only possibilities are Jetstar and American Airlines (perhaps DFW-AKL-MEL?).


Air NZ Airpoints

12 Mar 2014

Total posts 36

If AA started flying AKL-LAX, they would have me as a customer in an instant (I have family in the eastern US, near a non-major airport that can be reached in one hop from DFW/IAH but not LAX). That, and DFW is a genuinely nice airport, and LAX is a cesspit (yes, it's getting a fancy cover at the moment, but it's still a dive). Can't see it happening any time soon though.

UA might do it (and CO said they would pre-merger) but NZ would probably dissuade their *A partner from doing so. Delta is the remaining option, they have the planes to easily fly LAX-AKL and no alliance hookup to dissuade them. Anyone got the number of the right people in Atlanta to hassle? :)

the move gives Air NZ's a direct reach to a huge number of Asian and African destinations, all with an one-stop transit. it is a solid competition to EK coverage (two-stop transit)

S'pore is a more natural choice (than HK) for frequent flyers to SE, South and West Asia and like sticking with Air NZ (or its Airpoint programme) 

i also see the benefits to S'pore Changi Airport in terms of reversing the trend of passenger traffic being diverted to Dubai post the EK-QF alliance, though NZ is a smaller market than Oz.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Jun 2013

Total posts 5

Are we stepping back in time?

AirNZ and SIA had a strong partnership and similar codeshare arrangement in the late 90's and early 00's pre-destruction of Ansett.

Back in the day SIA were also a substantial shareholder as well.

It seems the north asia focus is south-east asia bound yet again.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Aug 2011

Total posts 168

NZ will be operating its 777-200ER (again) and so it will be a better J Class product than the SQ Spacebed on the soon to be cancelled route.  It adds PE on the route, but the 10 abreast 777-200ER on NZ will be a stark contrast with the A380.

Be interesting to see how many (few) Suites get sold to AKL too.


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1518

Good mews. Though I am curious if prices will be cheaper if booked via AirNZ - I like SQ, but they always sitting on more expensive side.

20 Dec 2013

Total posts 5

One hopes history does not repeat itself. Was it the last time air New Zealand and Singapore airlines were in bed together they had controlling shares in Ansett  and looked away when Ansett collapsed.?  Too self centred to realise their star alliance frequent flyer programme was indeed an asset they cut and ran leaving hundreds of lthousands of loyal embers losing all. No air New Zealand and Singapore airlines I will not fly with you again.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

07 Sep 2012

Total posts 146

As someone who lost over 400K Ansett points when they died, I have some sympathy for your point Des, but the strange and sorry saga that led to the ownership of Ansett by Air NZ in the first place, and Ansetts subsequent demise, had a lot more to do with acts of utter bastardry by the Australian Government of the time, than it did to the management of Air NZ.  SQ had already exited the share register before the Ansett collapse too.

09 Sep 2012

Total posts 139

What's the rights situation?

I remembered as a child in the 80s seeing NZ male cabin crew with mullets checking in for their flights at Changi....ahhh bless! The good old days.

Nice that they'll be going back to Singapore...sans mullets hopefully :p

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Apr 2013

Total posts 143

"Passengers will transfer at Singapore to one of SQ’s four daily flights to London..."

I wonder if this means we'll see NZ's onward LAX-LHR flight axed?

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1027

Why do QF and NZ keep complaining about being "end point" carriers?

Asia - South America via AU/NZ.

Unfortunately trade routes still operate from a North-South perspective.

Yes there will come a time when Asian and Latin American economies will sync up even more but the prism by which the current Latin American economy is viewed is through North America and the Iberian peninsula across the Atlantic.

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand partnership approved by NZ government