Singapore Airlines confirms return to Cairns

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has confirmed Cairns will officially become part of the SIA global passenger network  from 28 March 2022, when SQ203 touches down at Cairns Airport at 17:25 local time.

Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, SIA’s regional wing, SilkAir, operated daily services to the Queensland holiday hotspot and gateway to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. However, with the integration of SilkAir into SIA in 2021, the route will become the sixth Australian destination in the SIA global network.
Since December 2020 Cairns has been a part of the SIA cargo network with the airline operating its Airbus A350-900 aircraft as a cargo-only service.

Across 50 flights SIA has helped to export more than 450 tonnes of lobsters, tropical fish and other essential items to key destinations around the globe, including Singapore, Amsterdam, Bangkok, London, New York, Paris and Tokyo.

Between April 2020 – October 2021, SIA operated more than 1,100 passenger aircraft carrying cargo-only flights across Australia, along with an additional 1,550 freighter-only flights, ensuring Australia’s connectivity to key trade channels across the globe. These services helped to import almost 110,000 tonnes of cargo,
which included almost 4,300 tonnes of medical supplies, essential pharmaceuticals, and PPE as well as 47 shipments of COVID-19 vaccinations, totalling more than 8.7 million doses.

Regional Vice President South West Pacific, Mr. Louis Arul, welcomed the addition of Cairns to SIA’s Australian passenger operations and said the reinstatement of services was another sign that the recovery for international air travel was moving in the right direction.

“We are very excited to welcome Cairns to the SIA passenger network from 28 March and the opportunities this service presents in supporting the return of international tourism to Australia,” Mr. Arul said.

“Over the past 12 months our relationship with Cairns Airport has strengthened with the operation of our cargo-only services and we are very proud to have been able to support the region with essential cargo capacity and connectivity while the borders remained closed.

“With Australia’s borders opening to international tourists from 21 February, we are excited by the opportunities the reinstatement of passenger services to Cairns delivers from the end of March.

“Just as we’ve done over the past two years, we will work collaboratively with Cairns Airport and the Queensland government in supporting the return of international tourists and the continued recovery of the tourism sector and wider Queensland and Australian economy.”

SQ203/204 will be operated by Singapore Airlines’ narrow-body Boeing 737-800NG, featuring 12 Business Class and 150 Economy Class seats along with the ability to connect to the inflight KrisWorld network through your web browser on your personal mobile or tablet for complimentary access to a curated selection
of inflight entertainment options.

The maiden SIA flight to Cairns, SQ203, will depart Changi Airport at 08:45 local time and arrive in Cairns at 17:25 local time. The return flight will depart the following day at 18:15 local time, arriving at Changi Airport at 23:00 local time.

From Wednesday, 30 March the service will operate three times a week every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, on a turn-around basis.

North Queensland Airports CEO, Richard Barker, welcomed the announcement and said he was looking forward to working closely with Singapore Airlines to re-grow the region’s international visitors.

“The return of direct services from Singapore will provide vital connectivity to bring visitors from Europe, India, North-East and South-East Asia to the Cairns region, with an easy transit via Singapore Airlines Changi hub”, Mr. Barker said.

“Singapore Airlines has remained committed to our region throughout COVID, with a weekly freighter service, and the return of passenger services reaffirms the great partnership that we have developed over the past seven years”, added Mr. Barker.

The addition of the three-times weekly service to Cairns from 28 March will bring SIA’s total number of flights from Singapore to Australian destinations to 99 a week based on SIA’s current flight schedule.