Singapore Airlines ramps up Virgin cooperation

Courtesy Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines (SIA) is ramping up – or is it amping up – its cooperation with Virgin Australia, a move aimed at countering the competition posed by rivals Qantas and Emirates Airlines teaming up.

The two airlines announced codeshare expansion to cover more destinations in Australia, Asia and Europe, giving SIA customers access to 32 Australian cities. More is to come in SIA’s patchwork strategy, as the Singapore flag carrier plans to extend the agreement to include trans-Tasman flights between Australia and the New Zealand cities of Wellington, Queenstown and Dunedin. SIA is already flying from Singapore to Auckland and Christchurch.

Courtesy flight.org

In Q1 2013 Virgin’s customers will be able to fly from the Australian east coast to Europe and additional cities in Asia via SIA’s Singapore home and hub, with connections on the SIA/SilkAir networks, adding to current codeshare arrangements on SIA flights to Europe from Adelaide, Darwin and Perth. In total, Virgin will gain access to 64 Asian and 12 European destinations.

At the same time, SIA is increasing its efforts to promote tourism in Australia, signing agreements with six tourism organisations that would see an investment of more than A$5 million (US$5.176) this year in marketing campaigns and promotional activities. Key target markets include the United Kingdom, Germany, India, Indonesia and Singapore.

Australia remains an important market for SIA, which has for decades been a key player on the kangaroo route. With Qantas shifting its hub for European flights from Singapore to Dubai, an interesting question would be whether Virgin could step into the void created by its rival. Meantime, shoring up confidence, Changi Airport reported that passenger traffic to and from the Middle East continued to rise double-digit every month this year. That’s the other challenge facing SIA – competition from Middle East carriers such as Emirates and Qatar Airways.

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About David Leo
David Leo has more than 30 years of aviation experience, having served in senior management in one of the world's best airlines and airports. He continues to maintain a keen interest in the business, writes freelance and provides consultancy services in the field.

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