Virgin, Singapore Airlines expand codeshare agreement

Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines have expanded their codeshare agreement, which could help travellers from Australia's east coast who are connecting in Singapore.

Under the expanded agreement, Virgin Australia, from the first quarter of 2013, will add its code to SIA flights from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne to Singapore and beyond Singapore to cities in Europe, the UK and additional cities in Asia.

At the same time, SIA will place its code on all of Virgin Australia's 32 domestic destinations, effective immediately.

SIA also hopes in the coming months to expand its partnership to include trans-Tasman flights between Australia and the NZ destinations of Dunedin, Queenstown and Wellington.

Currently, Virgin Australia codeshares on SIA flights to Europe and the UK from Adelaide, Perth and Darwin.

The changes mean Virgin Australia passengers will also be able to travel to Europe and Asia from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane on the SIA and SilkAir networks.

The codeshare agreement should also make booking a smoother process.

Meanwhile, Garuda Indonesia says it will start services to Brisbane from next August.

Garuda on Tuesday said it would operate a Boeing 737-800 aircraft six times a week from Brisbane to Jakarta and Denpasar (Bali).

The airline currently serves three Australian ports - Melbourne, Sydney and Perth - and last flew to Brisbane five years ago.

Garuda Indonesia vice president for Australia and Southwest Pacific Bagus Siregar said passenger numbers between Australia and Indonesia had grown 20 per cent in the first half of calendar 2012.

"We have also seen a significant growth in demand in Queensland, particularly in the leisure sector," he said in a statement.

Garuda Indonesia president and chief executive Emirsyah Satar flagged further increases in its domestic and international network in the period ahead, given the airline was expected to add 24 new aircraft to its fleet in 2013.

Currently, Qantas's low-cost unit Jetstar and Virgin Australia fly between Brisbane and Denpasar.