Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines will jointly launch a third daily flight between Auckland and Singapore from later next year, boosting capacity on the route by up to 40 per cent.
The joint venture partners say they are adding more than 165,000 seats a year between the two cities in response to strong demand from Kiwis travelling north and even stronger demand from tourists heading for New Zealand.
Singapore Airlines will at times use its Airbus A380s, which are undergoing an interior overhaul, including introducing new luxury features in first class suites.
Air New Zealand will use its new configuration 787-9 aircraft, which have more premium economy and business premier seats than its current 787-9 fleet.
Simon Turcotte, Singapore Airlines' New Zealand general manager said all cabins have been performing well.
"There's been strong demand across the board but there's no doubt the premium cabin is strong on this route and we're meeting this demand," he said.
There's been strong demand across the board but there's no doubt the premium cabin is strong on this route and we're meeting this demand
The additional flight, along with a revision of existing schedules, will shorten connection times and improve connectivity through Changi Airport in Singapore.
The new service will operate daily during the peak northern winter season from October 28 next year to March 30, 2019, and five times a week during the northern summer season (March 31, 2019 to October 26).
During peak months the airlines will jointly operate a total of 35 return services a week between Singapore and New Zealand, including daily Christchurch and four times a week Wellington flights.
Under their joint venture alliance which took effect in January, 2015, the airlines will continue to operate one daily return service each on the Auckland-Singapore route, with a third service operated by Singapore during the northern winter season and Air New Zealand during the northern summer. The alliance has a year to run and the airlines would apply to extend it, said Turcotte.
Singapore Airlines will operate a mix of Airbus A380s and Boeing 777-300ERs, depending on the season.
The airline last moth unveiled a $1.2 billion upgrade of its A380s which feature suites that can have a double bed.
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Auckland Airport's general manager of aeronautical commercial, Scott Tasker, said the new services could inject $136.6 million a year into the New Zealand economy.
"With three flights spread across the day, travellers will have better choices of flights to and from Auckland including further options for seamless flight connections through Singapore Airlines' hub in Singapore."
Air New Zealand chief strategy, networks and alliances officer, Nick Judd, said the new service and revised schedules would be especially appealing to travellers to and from Europe, India and Southeast Asia.
Changi had been named the best airport in Skytrax surveys for the past five years.
Connection times through the airport, which has undergoing a massive expansion, would now be cut to three hours or less.
Changi has been facing intense competition from Middle Eastern airports but the extra service from New Zealand follows Qantas' decision to revert to Singapore as a stopover for its London-bound A380 flights.
The airport is trying to lure more travellers with a range of offers including $21 worth of vouchers for transit passengers to use at airport stores and a stopover package offering accommodation and entrance to major attractions from $52 per person twin-share.
The extra capacity is also part of Air New Zealand's and Singapore Airlines' strategy of fighting back against powerful Middle Eastern carriers which have picked up market share on long haul flights to Europe.
The new joint service and revised flight schedules are subject to regulatory approvals and tickets will be available over the next few weeks.
Singapore Airlines doesn't traditionally get into heavy fare discounting and Turcotte said he couldn't comment on where prices were heading.
''Our main focus here is on providing consumer benefits - providing connectivity.''
The airline's Wellington-Canberra-Singapore service has been a tough haul but he said it remained committed to it.
''We're committed to the route and that is done within the context of our three gateways in New Zealand.''
Pressure from Middle Eastern and Chinese carriers had sent Singapore into a first quarter loss this year but it rebounded to a profit of $249 million in the three months ended June.
Singapore Airlines has operated to New Zealand for more than 40 years launching services to Auckland in 1976, Christchurch in 1986 and Wellington in 2016