CAIRNS business leaders are hopeful the introduction of daily SilkAir flights in the Far North will eventually lead to parent company Singapore Airlines putting wide-bodied aircraft on the lucrative route to Asia.
SilkAir and Cairns Airport management as well as passengers and crew celebrated the start of daily flights between the tropical north and Singapore today.
Seat numbers have been increased by about 40 per cent per week with the introduction of the new flight schedule.
Cairns Chamber of Commerce president Nick Loukas said SilkAir’s alliance with Singapore Airlines was “vitally important” to the region because of the scope to travel anywhere in the world with the airline.
SilkAir will soon rebrand as Singapore Airlines and provide visitors and locals more options for travel between Cairns and Europe, India, South East and North Asia.
“This is vitally important because in a sense it’s a model that’s already proven to be working,” Mr Loukas said.
“SilkAir one of huge success stories of the Far North over the past 10 years.
“There is an absolute direct correlation between the amount of people coming here and spending money and the health of local business and that reflects through the rest of the economy.
“The simple things for Cairns at the moment is we need more seats on planes coming here. Some of the airlines coming in haven’t been full.
“Confidence in the business community equals increased passenger numbers.”
Mr Loukas said he hoped Singapore Airlines’ continued success lead to growing flights and “hopefully wide-boded aircraft in the future”.
Wide-bodied planes are able to carry freight from the region, as is the case with Cathay Pacific planes.
That capacity will cease from October when the airline stops operating from Cairns.
Cairns Airport chief executive Norris Carter said he was delighted to see the expansion of services from Singapore Airlines subsidiary SilkAir and said the move would “provide more options for international visitors to the Tropical North”.
Daily services with SilkAir from Cairns to Singapore will be offered on flight MI 811.
The airline’s expansion coincides with the fourth anniversary of services to the Far North.
Singapore Airlines regional vice-president South West Pacific Philip Goh said the increase in frequency was encouraged by the support shown by the community in Far North Queensland.
A celebration was held at the T1 International Terminal Departures area this morning.
CREDIT- CAIRNS POST