ACT News


First tickets for Singapore Airlines flights from Canberra to Wellington snapped up

An "IT glitch" hasn't stopped tickets being snapped up for the first commercial international flights departing from Canberra.

Due to "small hiccup", flights for the new Capital Express service linking Canberra with Singapore and Wellington, New Zealand listed on Singapore Airlines website on Monday morning mysteriously vanished only hours after ticket sales opened.

Economy flights were advertised from $469 to Wellington and from $650 to Singapore but later in the day, links to the Canberra flights deals instead directed visitors to the company's flights bound for Perth.

Flights between the three cities were still listed on third party websites.

Karl Schubert, Singapore Airlines public relations manager for the southwest pacific, said on Monday afternoon one IT glitch they were aware of had been fixed.


"There was a slight hiccup at one stage but that has now been rectified. As far as I'm aware there's no other issues at this stage," he said.

A handful of travellers who got in early were able to bag a bargain flight on the carrier's website before the deal vanished.

Canberra man Robin Poke managed to grab a ticket through the Singapore Airlines website on the first flight from Canberra to Wellington on September 21.

He booked his flights early on Monday morning before the deal disappeared.

"My daughter, Gemma, lives and works in Wellington, and she's delighted I'm on the flight. As a result she and her husband are hoping to join me on the return flight on September 30," he said.

Mr Poke, who  is the president of the ACT Olympic Council, said he experienced no issues when booking and even received email confirmation.

But there was one surprise when it came to the fares - it was cheaper than advertised.

"The funny thing was the initial cost was something like $440 and suddenly the cost went down and Gemma said 'oh this is bizarre'. It came down about $30."

This will be Mr Poke's 10th trip to Wellington - and one which will shave a lot of travelling time off.

"It's a notable day for Canberra. For the guys like Stephen Byron who've been lobbying for so long, it's a great reward for their efforts," Mr Poke said.

"It saves going up to Sydney and back down to Wellington. They'll probably break open the bubbly over the Tasman Sea."

Singapore Airlines chief executive Goh Choon Phong announced last Wednesday that flights from Singapore would arrive in Canberra on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 8.35am from September 21, pending approval by federal regulators.

Passengers travelling on to the New Zealand capital will depart from Canberra at 9.50am.

Mr Schubert said while it's too early to make any "clear, definitive statement" on how sales are going, he said interest thus far has been a strong indicator.

"What we announced last week were certainly competitive prices and the reaction we got from the market reflected that, there were a lot of excitement about that. That excitement has translated into the early signs of indicating strong ticket sales." he said.

"What our prices show is that we're serious about wanting to encourage traffic and develop the route ... it's not an ad-hoc service and we certainly are in it for the long term. Our ultimate aim is to grow the traffic and make the route a success and our pricing has certainly reflected that."

And while he could not say whether the bubbly would be flowing as the first flight crossed the Tasman, he did say there were special plans laid for the inaugural journey.

"We're looking forward to welcoming them on board," he said.


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