Air NZ and Singapore Air

January 17th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Kiwis can expect cheaper flights and more choices as a result of a deal between and Singapore Airlines, which is also expected to boost local tourism.

The deal announced yesterday, which is subject to regulatory approval, will enable Air NZ to resume flights to Singapore for the first time in eight years.

It will also have access to the Singaporean carrier’s huge regional market and much of its worldwide network.

It will take more than half of the flights operated by Singapore Airlines to New Zealand and revenue would be shared between the airlines from all flights on the route.

Singapore Airlines will operate its larger Airbus A380 on flights to New Zealand for the first time.

A good agreement for both airlines. It is noticeable that Air New Zealand is doing so well, while Qantas is struggling so badly that it is looking at selling its airpoints scheme.

25 Responses to “Air NZ and Singapore Air”

  1. CHFR (348 comments) says:

    This has created quite a buzz in the travel industry as this is the alliance many of us have wanted to see. It is quite significant when you consider Singapore Airlines Asia, Africa and Europe network and gives another stopover option.

    Qantas in the meantime gives you Dubai, Dubai and pay through the nose for anywhere else.

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  2. anonymouse (891 comments) says:

    Cue more outrage from Qantas CEO Alan Joyce on Foreign Government owned airlines colluding to attack Australia’s “finest”

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  3. Yogibear (439 comments) says:

    Its a good move. Hopefully the competition provided by Emirates and Etihad on many of the key routes will be enough to convince regulators, because right now, Qantas isn’t much competition.

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  4. mister nui (1,073 comments) says:

    This is all a pre-cursor to AirNZ announcing new routes to South America, becoming a hub for transit from SA through to Asia.

    Oh, and the only reason the AirNZ airpoints program is not for sale, is that they couldn’t give the piece-of-shit-worst-program-in-the-world away….

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  5. Chris2 (915 comments) says:

    I recently needed to fly Auckland-Texas return. The Qantas fare was $600 cheaper than Air New Zealand. Price matters and Qantas got my money.

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  6. Lance (3,817 comments) says:

    Last time I did that to LA the Qantas flight in both directions was friggin abominable. Never again.
    But shit flight vs cheap is acceptable to some I suppose.

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  7. alwyn (509 comments) says:

    As I understand it one of the Auckland – Singapore flights SIA currently offer will be replaced by an Air NZ crewed flight.
    Has anyone seen any reference as to which flight is going to become AirNZ?
    I regularly fly the SQ285/SQ286 return flight. If this one goes I shall be Very p**d off.
    I don’t care about the SQ281/SQ282 combination.
    Singapore offer a much better experience than do the Air NZ crewed flights.

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  8. CHFR (348 comments) says:

    alwyn I suspect it will be 281/282 that Air NZ takes over as there would be no reason for SQ to have an A380 arrving at midnight. The late night flight will suit Air NZ quite well.

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  9. Tautaioleua (431 comments) says:

    I agree with alwyn. The Air NZ international crews are almost always middle-aged or even older. I would like to see younger crew members instead.

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  10. alwyn (509 comments) says:

    Now, now Tautaioleua. Restrain yourself. That wasn’t what I meant at all.

    The problem with the Air NZ crews on an long flight, particularly an overnight one, is that they all disappear after serving the meal. It is difficult to even get a drink of water without hunting down a crewmember in one of the galleys.
    SIA on the other hand have a stewardess going round the plane with a tray of drinks about every 20 minutes all night.
    They also remember to come back with another drink if you ask for one. The Air NZ crews? No way.

    CHFR. Thanks, I hope you are rght.

    I wonder if we will get codeshare flights across the Tasman? That would really be nice if I could get some miles on the Krisflyer scheme with reasonably priced flights. At the moment I tend to run out with about 48,000 actual flight miles per year and miss out on the Gold status by just a couple of thousand.

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  11. dirty harry (735 comments) says:

    Agree with Tautaioleua..I dont know whos in charge of hiring the o’seas aircrews on Air NZ but they are below par especially when you see whats floating around on Emirates , SQ , Air Asia etc…first class stunners that can actually fit down the aisles and bring you a beer on demand.

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  12. mister nui (1,073 comments) says:

    I did a flight on AirNZ just after New Year, AKL-BNE, and the crew was horrifically old, most appeared as though it was a struggle for them to remain vertical.

    However, I disagree with Alwyn on the attentiveness of NZ crew vs. SQ crew at the front end of the plane. My preference is to be left alone, but be there when I need something, which is exactly what I get from NZ. However, on SQ, I find they’re never there, as they’re too busy on the stupid PA warning of turbulence, just when you’re trying to get to sleep. NZ never use the PA when people are sleeping.

    I understand it is to be SQ281/282 that NZ will takeover, this works well for those of us travelling further afield, I personally like flights that depart after 10:30pm, but that’s me.

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  13. Jim (601 comments) says:

    alwyn – completely agree. Air NZ staff idea of “the customers’ experience” seems to be to survive the experience and get back on the ground with as little personal inconvenience to themselves as possible.

    There are exceptions of course, but when SQ and NZ last shared that route the difference in service was pretty stark. I was a weekly flier for a year or two – enough to notice a different pattern of crew behaviour.

    There also appear to be real differences in Air NZ “health and safety” rules. At one stage my mum had injured her back and was unable to raise her arms above her head. The Air NZ crew refused to help put her bag in the overhead locker for “health and safety reasons”. “We are not allowed to lift fliers bags into the lockers”. Thankfully the gentleman in the adjacent seat was there to help.

    She encountered no such “health and safety” rule on SQ, OZ, KE. All were sympathetic and helpful.

    Similarly, 6-7 years ago when my kids were new and we travelled as a family I became accustomed to the practice of pushing the stroller all the way to the air bridge. I recall the first flight like that where SQ check-in told us to put the baby back in the stroller and the crew will take care of it (the stroller) at the plane. Awesome. It turns out that was common practice in USA and Asia.

    That was until one time we flew to NZ (on SQ) and then later went to board a flight to Australia on Air NZ. Just like everywhere else we left toddler in stroller. The Air NZ business-class check-in aunty snipped “you can’t take that on the plane: health and safety regulations.” She then went on to say we’d have to take it to the odd-sized freight desk (it was a tiny umbrella-style fold-up)

    I explained that it can’t be regulations because SQ lets us push it to the gate at AKL. She snipped back “oh they have different rules”. It was quite a bizarre and unpleasant introduction for us – blissfully unaware of these Air NZ quirks.

    Reflecting on all of that I began to wonder if “health and safety” was simply an excuse to avoid lifting a finger.

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  14. hmmokrightitis (1,910 comments) says:

    I have the misfortune of flying out of the provinces and from there internationally. My average AKL return is around $300 off peak. My business partner flys AKL-WNG and his? Around $140 off peak. Bastards.

    I try not to use AirNZ long haul, their service sucks, even up the pointy end. Their Premium economy seats are a joke if youre more than 5 foot 6. AirNZ are a budget airline, with great marketing. Their service vanishes after meals, but then I dont mind a walk and a hunt, and often a chat in the galley with the TD’s. But pretending AirNZ is a full service airline is a joke.

    But for all their faults, they leave QANTAS in their dust. That poor bloody airline, killed by the unions, is a hollow shell of what it used to be.

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  15. Chinarugby (128 comments) says:

    Don’t we all just love to offer our airline experiences!

    For the record:

    – Air NZ crew have been directed by Air NZ to test lift a passenegr cabin bag to get a feel for it’s heaviness – they will pack it overhead if its well under 7kg weight – if its well packed (ie heavy) at most they will help the passenger to lift the bag together or yes politlely decline to do the lifting. If you bring a heavy bag you should expect to be able to pack it overhead like other folks.

    Most of the male crew will put the bag overhead but man people are packing those bags waaaay heavy – and the airlines will investigate crew each injury and if they find crew were lifting bags (in spite of the H&S) and this caused the injury – hmmmm – tea and bikkies with the manager!

    Air NZ have a dominating H&S management team who set clear rules and crew must abide – it’s not really crew being unhelpful they are hammered with H&S directives constantly. Air NZ track every crew injury (as does other airlines) and the incidence of injury from twisting, bending etc in such a confined space if actually pretty high for any airlines crew – and as is known back injuries are hard to recover from and can be re occuring. It’s a cost to the airline hence the imposition of ‘over the top’ H&S rules.

    Anyway out of interest to Jim who raised the issue of unhelpful crew not lifting his mum’s bag into an overhead locker – dude why did you expect crew to do it? are you suffering an injury which precluded you from helping?- shouldn’t you be the one helping your mum? and why did you stand by as another passenger helped mum?

    We all help one another – so the businessman was very kind AS A ONE OFF – to help mum but ask him to do it twenty or thirty times on every flight – you may find he may soon politely decline!

    Other comments about wanting only to see young crew – well what can you say – guys always want young flight attendants so they can oogle them ( a great expereince for the flight attendant – flight after flight, day after day, year after year lecherous men who don’t realsise THEY are past it coming onto the flight attendant with tired, crappy pointless comments) nothing new there. However comments about older crew being inherently inferior to younger crew I think is unfair. Age doesnt determine usefullness, attentiveness, professionalism – attitude does.

    Young crew – granted they look better and cuter – are actually relatively inferior to older crew from the airlines perspective (they are cheap which is great!). This whole gnerational attitude to work that 25 year old generally possess makes for a world of issues for the businesses.

    Thier take it or leave it casual attitude, their high absenteesism and sickness levels and their snippy entitled attitudes are proving real problems for the airlines. So yes, they look hot but are proving low quality hires – alot of older crew run circles around young crew.

    Oh and by the way next time your older parent drops on an aircraft suffering stroke, heart attacks, severe asthma, anaphylaxis etc – I think I’d rather have an expereinced older crew on hand than a group of hot looking 20 somethings – but then again at least I may die looking at hot bird.

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  16. Jim (601 comments) says:

    “to Jim who raised the issue of unhelpful crew not lifting his mum’s bag into an overhead locker – dude why did you expect crew to do it? are you suffering an injury which precluded you from helping?”

    Perhaps because I was not on the flight, but waiting for her to arrive – where I promptly heard the story.

    For the record she did not tell me whether or not the crew was attractive or young.

    I didn’t mention that either.

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  17. Tautaioleua (431 comments) says:

    Chinarugby, have you not seen the list of the top 10 airlines for 2013?

    The vast majority of them offer younger crews but continue to win awards for excellence. This throws cold water on your suggestion that older crews are more reliable and more attentive.


    Air New Zealand won overall but did not win the award for excellence in long haul flights for the Asia Pacific region. That award went to Singapore Airlines where the average flight attendant is twenty two.

    You’ll also notice that American airlines, notorious for middle-aged flight crews, haven’t made the top 10 for more than a decade now. There’s a message in there somewhere, and it’s just for you.


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  18. Chinarugby (128 comments) says:


    Dude – nice piece of cherry picking info to suit your point!

    Which specific survey? – there are numerous and some more representative that others. Air NZ

    Air NZ crew, like any other can be more consistent and do a better job of course. My point again is age is not a sole determinant of service levels.
    If that were so my crew on a recent Easy Jet flight from Barcelona to London should have been oustanding given they were probably aged 20 20 20 and 20. Ther were utter crap and in between chewing thier gum in the ‘service’ ignored their passengers completely – service is about attitude not age.

    Airline of the Year – 2012 Air Transport World Global Airline Awards
    Airline of the Year – 2010 Air Transport World Global Airline Awards
    Wallpaper Magazine – Best Full Service Airline
    Best Cabin Staff Australia/NZ Region – 2009 World Airline Awards, Skytrax
    Best Passenger Service Award – 2008 Air Transport World magazine awards
    Best Airline to the South Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand in December 2007 by Business Traveler Magazine in the US
    Australasia’s Leading Business Class Airline at the 14th Annual World Travel Awards 2007
    Australasia’s leading airline;- 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 World Travel Awards
    Best Cabin Staff Asia/Pacific Region 2011 World Airline Awards, Skytrax
    Best Pacific Airline – 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004 TTG Annual Travel Awards
    Best Airline to the Pacific – 1994, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001Travel Weekly Globe Awards

    The Telegraph Readers Awards 2012 voted Air New Zealand the third-best long-haul carrier in the world.

    American Airlines crew are not middle aged they are geriatric and have never deserved any awards – please don’t compare any airline to that lot.

    ATW is considered in the industry’s to be the highest award.

    Jim – ok you weren’t on the flight fair enough and your second comment re old/young crew. I was addressing other peoples comments as you had made no reference to this matter.

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  19. Tautaioleua (431 comments) says:

    World’s best airlines 2013

    1. Emirates
    2. Qatar Airways
    3. Singapore Airlines
    4. ANA All Nippon Airways
    5. Asiana Airlines
    6. Cathay Pacific
    7. Etihad Airways
    8. Garuda Indonesia
    9. Turkish Airlines
    10. Qantas

    Best cabin staff

    1. Cathay Pacific Airways
    2. Asiana Airlines
    3. Malaysia Airlines
    4. EVA Air
    5. Singapore Airlines
    6. ANA All Nippon Airways
    7. Garuda Indonesia
    8. Qatar Airways
    9. Hainan Airlines
    10. Thai Airways

    The World Airline Awards are determined by passenger surveys conducted by research firm Skytrax, who surveyed more than 18 million passengers.

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  20. Chinarugby (128 comments) says:

    Ok – thats a well recognised award howwever industry wise ATW is consider the peak award and some of those airlines do indeed foster very good service standards.

    Asian airlines do have good staff – they are recuited young and gotten rid of young and have a functional but pleasant approach to service – they do not value nor practice what we may consider the friendly conviviality you will often find in an Australasian airline – so be it.

    Slightly off topic but service standards are, in part, maintained by a healthy mix of fear – most especially with Chinese based airlines – one written complaint from a passenger can spell termination – who wouldn’t play the yes sir no sir three bags full sir service game when that sits in the background?

    It can’t be overlooked by those of us familair with the industry that most Asian airlines forbid worker collectives and unions. Crew are regularly reminded that there is an endless supply of people to fill thier shoes and their contract terms are onerous (I have plenty of direct business experience with Asian airlines contracts).

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  21. mister nui (1,073 comments) says:

    Chinarugby, the problem I have with many of the crew that are well past their best-before-date, is that they are generally grumpy about having to work, they certainly do not appreciate that they’re in a service industry anyway. In reality, they’re nothing more than a waiter/waitress at a restaurant, who has a bit of First Aid training. Many of them think that they’re far too important to service passengers needs, and the fact they’re on an aeroplane is just to get them to another destination that they can do some shopping – rather inconvenienced by the 300 or so passengers they are PAID to look after.

    Whereas , the younger ones, in my experience, are there to have fun and enjoy their job. Maybe the old 5-tooths need putting out to pasture….

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  22. Chinarugby (128 comments) says:

    Mister Nui – yeah sure thats true for some crew indeed (and they should bugger off) but again I just don’t think its entirely age related. Some crew have forgotten that they are sky waiters and I think they have self elevated their status!

    Some of my worst hires were young under 25 year olds – their attitude to life often sucks and it really flows through to their work, they turn over pretty fast which was a blessing. Often we would work hard to retain older crew cos they simply did a better job – they were true service professionals.

    Some young crew are gold as are some oldies – just cos they don’t look hot anymore is not reason to want them out 🙂

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  23. Jim (601 comments) says:

    Chinarugby – I’d agree on putting professionalism before looks. Generally though I haven’t seen any systematic issue with the flight crew on top-tier Asian carriers. The SQ crews are typically very professional. Up front they tend to be older and more experienced too.

    I can imagine a pack of twenty-somethings from Glenfield might be another story altogether.

    The only crew that I have every had a conversation with were Air NZ and Qantas. On Air NZ I was once asked about a book I was reading and the hostess then proceeded to take the vacant seat next to me and chit-chat for a while, explaining how her husband would *never* read a book like that. Not entirely unpleasant but not exactly what I wanted either. Overall though the ‘friendly helpfulness’ of Air NZ is extremely variable and seems to be much more at the whim of the staff. I prefer consistently good over generally shirty with the occasional flash of inspiration.

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  24. Tautaioleua (431 comments) says:

    The problem with older staff is that they’re seasoned travellers and so they’re not as bubbly and energetic as the young and restless.

    I travel often and young flight attendants are always better at remembering things like handing your suit back after a long haul flight, and to bring that pen that you asked for at the beginning of the flight to complete your declaration form.

    They’re also more likely to engage in small talk and to go the extra mile. Older flight attendants have a “been there, done that” attitude to service and it’s incredibly mechanical.

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  25. Chinarugby (128 comments) says:

    Jim – agree with your points, Tautaioleua agree with all except the last line – I suppose now we are splitting hairs!

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