Singapore Airlines will add a fifth daily flight from Sydney this week with the launch of its Sydney-Canberra-Singapore Boeing 777-300ER service.
Flight SQ288's 9.20pm departure from Sydney and 5.15am arrival into Singapore will also be the airline's first overnight service from Sydney – a factor which it hopes will sufficiently appeal to business travellers to outweigh the longer overall travel time due to Canberra detour and one-hour stopover.
The Star Alliance member expects that many corporate flyers will go straight from their office to Sydney airport, although as there is no SQ arrivals lounge at Singapore's Changi Airport, inbound passengers will have the following options before they hit the ground running
- use one of the third-party lounges (most likely the T3 Ambassador Transit Lounge)
- request on-arrival access to the SilverKris business class lounge, which isn't an official perk and thus comes at the discretion of the lounge staff and duty manager
- arrange early check-in at your hotel, which could well mean having the room booked from the day prior
First class passengers, however, enjoy arrivals access to The Private Room.
The return leg runs straight from Singapore to Sydney, departing at 10.30am to land in Sydney at 8.10pm.
The new Sydney-Canberra-Singapore service replaces the failed Wellington-Canberra-Singapore 'Capital Express' route launched with great fanfare in September 2016.
In its place comes a new Melbourne-Wellington service, attached to the existing Melbourne SQ247/SQ248 flights, which will be retimed and run four times a week (Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday) from May 3.
While travellers can book either the entire Sydney-Canberra-Singapore flight or just the Canberra-Singapore leg, Singapore Airlines isn't permitted to sell the Sydney-Canberra leg as a domestic leg of its own.
However, passengers heading from Singapore to Canberra can book a stop-over in Sydney as part of their international journey; likewise, passengers headed from Sydney to Singapore are permitted to break their journey in Canberra.
Of course, for travellers from Canberra the new service not only delivers Singapore Airlines' latest first class, business class and premium economy seats compared to the older Boeing 777-200 jet of the Capital Express – it does so on a daily basis and sees the 5.15am arrival at Changi dovetail into Singapore Airlines' morning wave of departures to Europe.
The late evening departure of SQ288 will also see Singapore Airlines extend the opening hours of its Sydney SilverKris business class and first class lounges until around 9pm.