Singapore further enhances its position as a hub for the Southwest Pacific region

Singapore Changi Airport reported a 4.7% increase in passenger traffic to and from the Oceania/Southwest Pacific region for 2017 to 6.394 million. Total traffic at Changi was up 6% to 62.2 million. Oceania therefore accounted for 10.3% of total traffic.


Summary:

  • Singapore-Oceania passenger traffic increased by 4.7% in 2017 to 6.4 million;
  • Singapore-Australia traffic was up 4% as Qantas and Singapore Airlines expanded;
  • Singapore-Australia traffic will increase further in 2018 driven primarily by Qantas;
  • Singapore-New Zealand and Singapore-Fiji traffic will also increase in 2018.

There are currently nonstop flights from Singapore to 13 destinations in Oceania, including nine in Australia, two in New Zealand, one in Fiji and one in Papua New Guinea. Eleven airlines serve the Singapore-Oceania market: Air Niugini, Air New Zealand, British Airways, Emirates, Fiji Airways, Jetstar Airways, Jetstar Asia, Scoot, Qantas, Singapore Airlines and SilkAir.

British Airways and Emirates operate from Singapore to Australia with fifth freedom rights. British Airways serves Sydney from Singapore, while Emirates serves Brisbane and Melbourne.

Changi reported a 4% increase in traffic to Australia for 2017. It did not provide a growth figure for Fiji, New Zealand or Papua New Guinea but Fiji traffic increased significantly on very a small base. Fiji Airways launched two weekly flights to Singapore in May-2016 and 2017 was therefore the first full year of the new route.

Singapore will experience further traffic growth in the Oceania market in 2018 as Qantas adds capacity from Australia in conjunction with the resumption of Singapore-London flights. Qantas is upgrading Melbourne-Singapore from 10 to 14 weekly flights at the end of Mar-2018. Sydney is already served twice daily but one of the flights is being upgraded from A330s to A380s in early Mar-2018. Qantas is also adding capacity on Perth-Singapore as it introduces a new schedule with 14 weekly year-round flights.

The increases from Qantas more than offset reductions by Jetstar in the Singapore-Australia market. As Blue Swan analysed in a recent report, Jetstar Airways is reducing Melbourne-Singapore from four to two weekly flights, while Jetstar Asia is suspending Perth-Singapore, which is currently served daily.

See related report: Jetstar responds to parent Qantas’ resumption of Singapore-London service by reducing capacity to Singapore

According to BITRE data, Qantas traffic in the Australia-Singapore market was up 7.4% to 825,000 in the fiscal year ending Jun-2017. Qantas added capacity on the Melbourne-Singapore and Perth-Singapore routes in FY2017. Jetstar Airways traffic in the Australia-Singapore market declined by 5.2% to 147,000 in FY2017 and Jetstar Asia traffic declined by 1.5% to 246,000 but overall Qantas Group traffic was still up.

Singapore Airlines (SIA) is also adding capacity to the Southwest Pacific region this year. SIA is upgrading Canberra-Singapore from four weekly flights to daily at the beginning of May-2018. At the same time SIA is introducing four weekly flights on a Wellington-Melbourne-Singapore routing. SIA now serves Wellington as a tag to Canberra.

SIA is also adding a second daily flight to Auckland in late Oct-2018, extending the Air New Zealand-SIA joint venture on Auckland-Singapore to three daily flights. Both airlines now serve the route daily. Air New Zealand will operate the additional flight in winter months, starting in Mar-2019, while SIA will operate it during summer months.

SIA’s traffic in the Australia-Singapore market was up 2% to 3.1 million in FY2017, driven primarily by the launch of services to Canberra. Australia traffic from SIA low cost subsidiary Scoot increased by 3.2% to 643,000 while regional subsidiary SilkAir traffic grew by 16.6% (but on a very small base) to 93,000.

Traffic in the Singapore-Fiji market should also once again grow in 2018 as Fiji Airways is introducing later this year a third weekly frequency on the Singapore-Nadi route.

Oceania is by no measure the fastest growing region for Singapore. Changi reported a 12.8% increase in South Asia traffic, an 8.7% increase in Europe traffic and a 5.6% increase in Southeast Asia traffic in 2017 compared to the 4.7% increase for Oceania.

However, Oceania remains a strategically important market for Changi. New and expanded links within Southeast Asia, to South Asia and to Europe improve Changi’s position as a hub and the airport’s ability to attract more traffic from the Southwest Pacific region.