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Canberra Raiders tackle the Auckland Nines from Canberra Airport

Key officials of the Canberra Raiders team flew Singapore Airlines’ Capital Express service direct from Canberra Airport to New Zealand to be part of the team as the Raiders tackled the NRL’s Auckland Nines series last weekend.

Rather than flying via Sydney Airport, coach Ricky Stuart, the club’s chief executive Don Furner and marketing manager Jason Mathie, chose to fly across the ditch direct from Canberra to Wellington Airport, clearing border control before a taking a connecting flight up to Auckland.

Mr Stuart said flying on the Capital Express saved the trio valuable travel time.

“This was the first time we’ve travelled to New Zealand direct from Canberra Airport for a game and we were all thrilled at the connectivity and simplicity,” Mr Stuart said.

“When passing through both airports, there was virtually no queues to clear Quarantine and Customs. The whole experience was much quicker than going up to Sydney which saved us some valuable time which we could put towards more preparation before the games.”

While their flights were quick and seamless in both directions, Mr Stuart said they enjoyed their Wellington experience.

“For our Auckland Warriors match later in the season, we’re looking at taking the whole team to New Zealand from Canberra Airport. The morning departure across to Wellington works great for us. Then it’s an easy connection up to Auckland,” Mr Stuart said.

Canberra Airport’s Managing Director, Stephen Byron, said recent load factors on the Singapore services remains solid.

“Our latest data shows average loads on Singapore services are in the mid-80s. This is a very strong result for a new service. It is also pleasing to see continued strengthening of services to New Zealand which is becoming more popular,” Mr Byron said.

Singapore Airlines began services at Canberra Airport from Singapore and Wellington in September 2016 and has since carried more than 50,000 ­­passengers between to the two international capitals.

“It is reassuring to see there has been a fairly even balance in the number of inbound and outbound passengers. This shows that the flight times work in both directions. And as Ricky has pointed out, if you are travelling to New Zealand, stepping on to a Singapore Airlines’ flight from Canberra Airport can save you lots of time rather than going through the often congested and busy Sydney Airport,” Mr Byron said.