Cairns Airport Receives Capacity Boost 

Cairns Airport Receives Capacity Boost 
Ank Kumar, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Singapore Airlines does it again: expanding its footprint to Australia by flying the A350 to the Australian coastal city of Cairns.

This comes after the South East Asian carrier now flies four daily flights to Perth. Singapore Airlines’ move has been touted as “a testament to the region’s recovery”.

A Boost In Capacity

Cairns Airport Receives Capacity Boost 
Photo Credit: Harrison Rowe/AviationSource

The airline has confirmed the Airbus A350-900 widebody aircraft will be deployed between Singapore and the city of Cairns four times per week from March 2024 for the very time.

The airline currently flies the route with the Boeing 737-8 service, which is more than 50% less in capacity than what the A350 offers.


This will mean bringing extra seating capacity for the Singapore – Cairns route inevitably. 

The star alliance carrier currently brings 1,540 seats per week to the Australian city, and with the A350 in service, this will increase to 2,424 seats per week as of the end of March 2024.

This is right in time before the easter travel. 

Post-Pandemic Era More Hopeful

Cairns Airport Receives Capacity Boost 
Photo Credit: Jamie Clarke/AviationSource

Richard Barker, Cairns Airport Chief Executive Officer, stated that the additional seats will be ideal for the airline to bolster the post-pandemic recovery.

The airport’s top man stated: “These upgraded flights are a win for both travelers and local industries, who will benefit from the increase of visitors to our region.”

He furthered: “Singapore Airlines has an extensive global network and, since returning to Cairns in early 2022, has been very popular with inbound visitors but also Cairns locals traveling overseas on holidays or to visit friends and relatives.

The larger aircraft boasts 40 business class seats and 263 in the economy, meaning we have a great opportunity to attract high-spending visitors to our region, either traveling for leisure or for business events such as those hosted by the Cairns Convention Centre.”

Deriving from what the airport’s chief has said, the Cairns inbound/outbound traffic is not limited to holiday traffic, but those with business agenda on their travel itinerary and the visiting friends and family traffic are also prominent. 

Louis Arul, Singapore Airlines Regional Vice President South West Pacific, stated: the operation of the Airbus A350-900 is a historic moment for Cairns airport and that Singapore Airlines is proud to make ‘that’ moment.

He stated: “The A350-900 aircraft’s arrival on 31 March marks the first time a 303-seater SIA wide-body aircraft will operate a scheduled passenger flight on the Singapore-Cairns route.”

The Cairns traffic is not only limited to passenger traffic, but cargo as well, he furthered: “Over the course of 2021, SIA supported local producers through the Government’s IFAM program, deploying the A350-900 on cargo missions only”.

Cargo traffic with the A350-900 from Singapore Airlines gave a lifeline to the airport’s economic activity. 

He added: “Deploying the widebody, 303-seat A350-900 for passenger services in 2024 is a testament to Cairns’ recovery as a destination and its appeal to international visitors.”

“The increase in capacity, for both passengers and cargo, will support the local tourism industry as well as local producers, and I am excited to see the aircraft land on 31 March.”

The Domino Effect for Cairns…

Arne Müseler /, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, via Wikimedia Commons

With greater capacity increase comes positive economical effects.

In fact, the Assistant Minister for Tourism Industry Development and Member for Cairns, Michael Healy, warmly welcomed the added capacity into Cairns.

This is a great sign of economic recovery for the Tropical North Queensland region: Mr. Healy stated:

“Getting more services back running from our Asian neighbors is a real boost for the state’s tourism operators.” 

Economic Benefits

Just as the Domino effect stated, the added capacity “Importantly the widebody aircraft will open up opportunities for the region’s exporters to target additional markets and presents a further opportunity for investment in the region.”

“This expansion of seats by Singapore Airlines is yet another successful outcome through the support of the $200 million joint government and industry Attracting Aviation Investment Fund.”

Size Does Matter, after all…

The deployment of the A350-900 means greater cargo traffic between South East Asia and Asia, allowing businesses of all sizes to capitalize on such.

Local seafood and fresh produce exports can now fly in greater amounts to and from South East Asia and beyond. Singapore Airlines is now on a roll. Its footprint in Australia is becoming greater than ever. 

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By Indy Udol 6 Min Read
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