Canberra welcomes Singapore Airlines

By Jennifer Rajca
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Singapore Airlines to fly to Canberra

Singapore Airlines has announced it will operate international flights to and from Canberra.

The world is now on Canberra's doorstep - and there's no need for a "demeaning" Sydney stopover.

Residents of the national capital from September will be able to travel direct to Singapore and Wellington on Singapore Airlines' new "Capital Express".

For $650 Australians will be able to pick up an economy seat to Singapore and return, with Wellington flights starting from $469.

The four-day-a-week service is the first regular international operation in and out of Canberra.

Airport chairman Terry Snow says Wednesday's announcement is the realisation of a dream for his family.

"We called ourselves the Canberra International Airport - we cut it out recently because it was a bit of a joke - but we called ourselves (an) international airport because that was our aspiration," he said.

Mr Snow said it was fantastic locals could now avoid a stop-over before flying overseas.

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"Canberra is relieved we do not have to have the embarrassing, inconvenient and demeaning experience of going through Kingsford-Smith," he said.

Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong said the service reflected the close ties between Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

"We're excited about the prospects of our new 'Capital Express' route," he said.

Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss welcomed the announcement, saying the capital-to-capital service opens up a "new dimension" of travel.

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"I'm sure that this initiative will certainly be embraced by the people of Canberra," he said.

Mr Truss also praised the Snow family, who had taken the national capital's airport from almost an "embarrassment" to an international facility.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr described the announcement as a "game-changer" for the capital.

"The rest of the world is finally on our city's doorstep," he said.

"It connects two cool, little capitals (with Singapore)."

The airline will use a retrofitted Boeing 777-200 with 38 business-class seats and 228 economy-class seats.

The Capital Airport Group plans to spend $25 million creating an airport lounge for the airline.

Tickets go on sale from Monday, January 25.