Singapore Airlines is closing its hyped Capital Express route, reshuffling flights to Wellington and Canberra.
While it will continue to offer services to both cities, from the end of April its four-times-a-week visits to Wellington will travel to Melbourne before continuing to Singapore.
The Canberra service undergoes arguably a greater change, with the flights becoming a triangular service, from Sydney, to Canberra to Singapore, then back to Sydney.
The hyped Capital Express route was funded by ratepayers. We were giving Singapore Air $9 a passenger. A deal which was meant to remain secret.
They thought this $9 a passenger subsidy would allow Singapore Air to offer the service and it would become so popular it would become a daily service.
While demand between Wellington and Canberra was limited – at times the flights were so empty that passengers were required to change seats to ensure weight was evenly balanced on take-off – demand was apparently strong between both cities and Singapore, meaning some flights were sold out between Canberra and Singapore.
I hope WCC learns a lesson from this.
The move may be embarrassing for civic leaders in Wellington. The establishment of the flights saw the signing of a sister-city agreement, celebrated with an elaborate party in July 2016, which cost ratepayers $51,000.
Probably not though.