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Ash cloud dampens Singapore demand for Australia/New Zealand
Linda Haden, Singapore, June 16, 2011

SOME Singapore travel agents are expecting a short-term drop in bookings to Australia and New Zealand due to the ash cloud from the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano in Chile, as airlines plying the routes between the three countries continue to see service disruptions.


Alica Seah, senior vice president (marketing & public relations), CTC Travel, said: “Some of our tour groups as well as independent travellers have been affected by the ash cloud. It will take about a week or so for us to gain a clearer grasp of the situation, but we expect that new bookings will not be made in the next two weeks.”


Margaret Low, managing director, Airelated Travel, said: “More than a week ago, we had a couple of enquiries, but none of them have turned into actual bookings. There have been zero bookings since the ash cloud, and travellers seem to be adopting a wait-and-see attitude.”


Singapore Airlines (SIA) was today forced to divert its SQ297 Singapore-Christchurch flight to Auckland. The return flight, SQ298 from Christchurch to Singapore, was also unable to operate as planned.


SIA said in a statement on its website that accommodation has been arranged for affected customers in both Auckland and Christchurch.


The airline added: “At this time, all other flights to and from New Zealand and Australia are operating.”


Qantas’ services to and from New Zealand were non-operational today. The airline said in a statement on its website that its New Zealand operations for June 17 would be confirmed by this evening.


Aside from a few cancelled flights due to the ongoing disruptions across its network, the majority of Qantas’ domestic (Australian) services were operating as scheduled, and are due to operate as per normal on June 17 and 18.


Jetstar’s services between Singapore and Auckland, which were cancelled earlier today, have now resumed, with their first flight leaving from Singapore this evening.


The low-cost carrier’s Perth-Singapore flights are operating as planned.


All the carrier’s domestic (Australian) services are running as per normal, and no changes are expected tomorrow.


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