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Singapore Airlines celebrates 30 years in the Garden City

7 October 2016

Singapore Airlines celebrates 30 years in the Garden City

Singapore Airlines is today celebrating the 30th anniversary of its inaugural flight to Christchurch, marking a longstanding commitment to New Zealand’s South Island.

On Wednesday 8 October 1986, SQ388, a Boeing 747-200, touched down at Christchurch International Airport creating history as the first international long-haul carrier to fly to the Garden City.

Initially operated as a weekly service that returned to Singapore via Auckland, the past 30 years have seen the service grow to a daily flight, providing the Canterbury region access to Singapore Airlines global network of 101 destinations in 34 countries.

Since launching the new service Singapore Airlines has remained strongly committed to Christchurch and the South Island and in its 30th year will set a new record, operating 401 flights to the city thanks to 35 round trip supplementary flights in the peak summer season.

Singapore Airlines General Manager, New Zealand, Simon Turcotte said Singapore Airlines is incredibly proud of our strong legacy in bringing the world to the beautiful South Island, and opening up Singapore and the world beyond to Mainlanders.

“Over the past 30 years, Singapore Airlines has provided greater access to and from Christchurch and the surrounding region, and in doing so has made a significant contribution to inbound South Island tourism,” Mr Turcotte said.

“We are very proud to have been able to grow the flights from weekly to daily, and in this our anniversary year set a new record of more than 400 flights to Christchurch.

“This achievement would not have been possible without the tremendous support from the travelling public, local travel agents and Christchurch International Airport.

“We sincerely thank everyone for their support and look forward to continuing our strong community ties with the South Island for many years to come.”

In 1986, Singapore Airlines flew 33 aircraft to 51 cities in 34 countries. Today, it operates 104 aircraft and, with regional wing SilkAir, flies to 101 destinations in 34 countries.

In 1986 just 57,000 New Zealanders visited Singapore, while in 2015 more than 118,000 ventured to the Lion city, an increase of more than 107% per cent.

Similarly, New Zealand’s inbound tourist arrivals has grown from just over 733,000 in 1986, to more than 3 million people in 2015.

A timeline of Singapore Airlines in Christchurch
1977: Singapore Airlines opens its Christchurch sales office
1986: First flight to Christchurch, weekly service (Boeing 747-200, SQ388)
1988: Service increases to twice weekly
1992: Third weekly Christchurch service begins
1995: Service increases to four times a week
1999: Flights increase to five times a week (Airbus A340)
2002: Introduces Boeing 777-200ER with Space Beds in Raffles Class
2004: Daily service to Christchurch launches
2013: Supplementary flights for peak season begin
2014: New generation Economy and Business Class on refitted Boeing 777-200ER launches
2016: Celebrates 30 years of flying to Christchurch – flying over 400 flights between Christchurch and Singapore.


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