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Old July 23rd, 2004, 03:27 AM   #281
huaiwei
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JULY 23, 2004

Airlines scramble for pilots and planes

Shortage of both as more budget carriers enter the market; some companies have even resorted to poaching staff

By Karamjit Kaur


BUDGET airlines around the region, rushing to take to the skies this year, could run into some turbulence in their search for aircraft and pilots. Both are in short supply. More than 10 low-cost carriers have already taken off or will do so in Asia this year and the aircraft of choice for many has been the Airbus 320.

They are hard to come by, said the region's leading aircraft leasing company, Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise (Sale). As a result, as one airline executive put it, 'budget carriers are going all around the world hunting for planes and when we find them, we worry that our competitors will be on to the same source too'.

The news is not any better when it comes to pilots. The general rule is eight pilots per aircraft and where the airline's advertisements have failed to show results, carriers have resorted to poaching. Experienced crew from main line and rival budget carriers said they had even been wined and dined in discreet head-hunting sessions.

It is a sign of the times, said the managing director of the Sydney-based Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, Mr Peter Harbison. 'It is always an issue when we get bursts of very rapid growth, for supply to match demand and this applies to not just aircraft and pilots but also other resources like ground handling services.'

For planes, the problem could last a while, said a spokesman for Sale. 'In our core Airbus 320 market, we have reached the point where, industry-wide, there are no more new aircraft available this year and fewer than 15 due to come off lease from all lessors combined.' He added: 'We will have only two new aircraft available for lease next year.'

The A320 family (A318, A319, A320 and A321) is the most popular Airbus model in the Asia Pacific, with 21 delivered in the first six months of this year, most of it going to airlines in China. Both Valuair and Singapore Airlines-backed Tiger Airways, which starts flying next quarter, have opted for the single-aisle A320, which seats up to 180 passengers.

Valuair hopes to add two aircraft every year to its fleet while Tiger's plan is to have up to 12 planes by 2006. Sources say Qantas' new start-up here, which also starts operating by year-end, has also picked the A320. Other airlines that fly the same aircraft include SilkAir and India's Air Deccan.

Leasing a new single-aisle Airbus costs about $489,000 a month. But with new planes in short supply, carriers might have to settle for older aircraft coming off lease, said Sale's spokesman. 'The supply and demand equation today has changed very significantly compared to a year ago.'

Tiger, however, contends that it has no problems getting its share, possibly because of its pedigree. Chief executive Patrick Gan said: 'Who would you want to lease your aircraft to? The credentials of the lessee and who its shareholders are, are very important and they do not come any better than this (Tiger). I am getting calls from leasing companies.'

But as for finding pilots, he said there are fewer of them around relative to the number of new airlines coming up. He made it clear, however, that Tiger did not poach.

According to its website, captains in Tiger are paid a flat salary of between $14,000 and $16,000. Mr Gan would not say how many pilots the airline had hired so far but confirmed that 'a few' had been seconded from SIA temporarily. Mr Jimmy Lau, executive director of Valuair, which has 16 pilots, said: 'We have enough who come to us willingly. We do not need to go around pinching from other airlines.'

One target for airlines looking to hire A320 pilots would be SilkAir. It has 95 pilots and will hire more as it plans to increase its fleet from 10 planes now to 16 by 2008. Even with the recently sealed deal that gives SilkAir pilots a higher salary and more rest days, some of them have left for budget carriers.

One who made the switch after eight years in SilkAir said: 'It is truly a different world, a more relaxed one.'

DEMAND OUTSTRIPPING SUPPLY...

'It is always an issue when we get bursts of very rapid growth, for supply to match demand and this applies to not just aircraft and pilots but also other resources like ground handling services.'
- Mr Peter Harbison, managing director of the Sydney-based Centre forAsia Pacific Aviation

...BUT SUPPLIERS STILL COME CALLING

'Who would you want to lease your aircraft to? The credentials of the lessee and who its shareholders are, are very important and they do not come any better than this (Tiger). I am getting calls from leasing companies.'
- Mr Patrick Gan, chief executive of Tiger Airways
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Old July 27th, 2004, 02:45 PM   #282
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EasyJet and Ryanair expand into central and eastern Europe!!

EasyJet have just launched new routes to Krakov and Warsaw in Poland which adds to their other destinations in Central Europe (Prague, Budapest, Ljubljana). Prague is a route EasyJet inherited when they bought Go. Budapest and Ljubljana were launched on May 1st 2004 to coincide with the EU's eastwards expansion. Just 2 months later and Poland's two leading cities have been added to the list. This expansion brings Easyjet into direct competition with embryonic low cost airlines from the region itself such as SkyEurope (Hungary/Poland/Austria) Wizzair (Hungarian), and Air Polonia (Polish). Ryanair have also finally opened a route beyind the former Iron Curtain to Riga in Latvia. Ryanair have also opened up nine routes from London Luton. Central/Eastern Europe and London have never been so accessible for each other.

Just a travel tip - if you want to get from London to Moscow for very little money then order an Ryanair (MBNA) credit card from the Ryanair website which entitles you to a free return flight anywhere on the Ryanair network. Fly to Riga for free and then take the bus to Moscow or St Petersburg.

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Old July 27th, 2004, 05:40 PM   #283
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Tuesday July 27, 10:09 PM
Ryanair unveils eight more European routes, three new destinations

LONDON (AFP) - Ryanair announced plans to launch an additional eight routes helping to serve three new destinations, giving the Irish no-frills airline a network of 161 routes across 17 European countries.

Ryanair said seven of its new routes would serve Santander and Zaragoza in northern Spain and Riga, the capital of Latvia, a former Soviet bloc state which in May become one of ten new members to join the European Union.

Ryanair said it would begin operating its new routes between September 20 and December 1.

The budget airline will fly to Riga from Essex's London Stansted airport, Frankfurt Hahn in Germany and Tampere in Finland. Flights to Santander will leave from Stansted, Rome Ciampino and Hahn.

Stansted, which provides Ryanair's main base in Britain, will serve also flights to Zaragoza. In addition, Ryanair will begin operating flights from Rome Ciampino to Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

"With the addition of eight new routes and three new great destinations we can bring even more choice to European consumers," Ryanair's chief executive officer Michael O'Leary said.

"It is notable that for the first time Ryanair's low fares will now be available in northern Spain, and in Latvia," he said, adding that the airline would carry more than 27 million passengers in 2004.

The airline's latest announcement came less than a week after it launched plans for nine new European routes from Luton airport, Bedfordshire.

Ryanair is to add services from Luton to Rome and Venice in Italy, Barcelona Girona, Barcelona Reus and Murcia in Spain, Nimes and Dinard in France, Esbjerg in Denmark, and Stockholm, it announced last Thursday.
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Old July 29th, 2004, 01:38 PM   #284
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Business Times - 29 Jul 2004

Valuair to expand fleet, targets routes to China

SINGAPORE - Budget carrier Valuair plans to lease two more planes in 2004, doubling the size of its young fleet, with the intention of expanding the airline's reach to include routes to China, its chief executive said on Thursday.

'We are very happy with (business), that's why we have taken on two more planes,' Jimmy Lau said.

The new, leased Airbus A320s - which can carry up to 150 passengers - will be with the company by the end of the year, and could be used to add routes between the city-state and China, Lau said.

'It would be extending the routes towards anywhere along coastal China ... That would be our first target,' he said.

Valuair started operations in May, serving Bangkok, Thailand, the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, and Hong Kong, on China's southern coast.

The company is one of several low-cost airlines that have sprung up in the region in recent years, trying to emulate the success of budget carriers in the United States and Europe.

Copyright © 2004 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old July 30th, 2004, 07:05 AM   #285
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Actually, No frills airlines = low cost with no meal (you have to pay for the meal inflight), lowcost airline = very cheap ticket (still with meal?)

and what regular airline stands for? normal ticket price with meal?

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Old August 2nd, 2004, 09:26 AM   #286
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Haha.....I wont actually say there is a "low cost" category, because "Low Cost," "Budget," "No frills," etc usually refer to the same airline sector? Afterall, these budget airlines tend to be called Low Cost Carriers, a more formal name for them?

"Normal" airlines which charge very low fares are just that......cheap regular airlines!
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Old August 2nd, 2004, 11:45 AM   #287
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btw guys, i am in changi airport now hehe, waiting for my flight to jakarta with a340-500, i will give you guys flight report and pictures from melb-sin-jkt later

ciao

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Old August 2nd, 2004, 11:48 AM   #288
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Haha! Enjoy your time at the airport dude!
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"My Settlement of Singapore continues to thrive most wonderfully - it is all and everything I could wish and, if no untimely fate awaits it, promises to become the Emporium and the pride of the East" - Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, 10th September 1820
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 08:43 PM   #289
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Thanks dude, Very dissapointed with SQ decision to change A340 with MEGATOP! because the flight was very full.....arghh i was really sad when i saw the big jumbo was my plane

but overall, services and etc, SQ is very improving now..the SQ girl from melbourne is actually my friend lol..so it was fun...

i saw one tiger airways sitting there alone..picking up some passengers? (do they start flying now?)

funny thing is when i saw 2 sg cops, my head was suddenly remember you huaiwei

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Old August 3rd, 2004, 11:55 PM   #290
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David-80
Thanks dude, Very dissapointed with SQ decision to change A340 with MEGATOP! because the flight was very full.....arghh i was really sad when i saw the big jumbo was my plane

but overall, services and etc, SQ is very improving now..the SQ girl from melbourne is actually my friend lol..so it was fun...

i saw one tiger airways sitting there alone..picking up some passengers? (do they start flying now?)

funny thing is when i saw 2 sg cops, my head was suddenly remember you huaiwei

cheers
They changed the plane at the last minute or what? I can feel your pain.

Good to see some improvement in SIA service during such a low period...in what ways did you see an improvement btw? As for tiger airways...no I doubt it is doing anything there!

Oh..and the cops. I doubt they are regular cops thou?
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Old August 4th, 2004, 08:25 PM   #291
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Quote:
They changed the plane at the last minute or what? I can feel your pain.
I dont know but when i asked the ground staff, thats the reason they gave me

Quote:
Good to see some improvement in SIA service during such a low period...in what ways did you see an improvement btw? As for tiger airways...no I doubt it is doing anything there!
SIA services are much much better now in everything, the girls always smiling to me and my mom and they even offered my mom double blanket and even more meal! but the big smiling thing is really a plus for me

I dont know, but i saw tiger's plane with stairs and so many people there..maybe they did test flight...its very expensive to lease and keep the jet until december! i wonder how much money they have

Quote:
Oh..and the cops. I doubt they are regular cops thou?
Oh. i dont think so..they use blue uniform like in your pic

cheers
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Old August 6th, 2004, 04:39 PM   #292
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Time is GMT + 8 hours
Posted: 06 August 2004 1637 hrs

Abacus signs deal to sell tickets for budget carrier Valuair
By Chan Hwa Loon, Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE : Asia's biggest airline ticket agent Abacus International will start selling tickets for Valuair.

This will be Abacus' first deal with a budget carrier.

Abacus says its 10,000 travel agents in the region will start booking flights for Valuair this month.

And Abacus says it expects other low-cost airlines to follow suit.

It will charge Valuair and other budget carriers a lower price than full-service airlines, such as Singapore Airlines, because budget carriers do not need services like seat allocation.

Valuair says many of its passengers buy their tickets through travel agents and the airline does not want to alienate them by not providing them that avenue.

It also says the tie-up with Abacus will enable it to have further code-sharing arrangements with other airlines. - CNA

Copyright © 2004 MCN International Pte Ltd
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Old August 6th, 2004, 05:38 PM   #293
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August 06, 2004
Valuair picks SIA veteran as CEO after year-long search

By Chua Kong Ho

WHEN he quit his post as Singapore Airlines’ senior vice-president for cabin crew in May, Mr Sim Kay Wee (pictured) said goodbye to a 34-year career with the national carrier.



He had joined the airline fresh out of school in 1970 as a management trainee.

Now, three months after his surprise resignation, the 55-year-old has traded familiar Airline House for the HDB Hub in Toa Payoh, where Valuair has its offices.

Valuair, the Singapore discount carrier started by former SIA boss Lim Chin Beng, named Mr Sim as chief executive yesterday after a year’s search.

Said Mr Sim: “I have the opportunity now to help this airline grow and nurture a culture I strongly believe in – that of a business with a heart for its employees and (to) treat them as members of a family.”

Before joining Valuair, the University of Singapore graduate held senior management positions at Singapore Airlines, from public affairs to market planning, human resources to airport services, and marketing to managing SIA’s 6,800 strong cabin crew division.

He also spent 17 years overseas working in cities such as London, Bangkok and Manila and countries such as Japan and Brunei.

Speaking of his appointment, Mr Sim said: “No doubt one of the first questions I can expect people to ask me is why I left SIA and joined Valuair. Well, when I left SIA, I was thinking of leading a more sedentary lifestyle.

“Over the last 34 years, I have been involved in the airline business contributing to the early startup of SIA and saw it grow into an established brand name in the marketplace. Then, this call from my old boss, Mr Lim Chin Beng, came.”

Mr Lim, who was managing director of Singapore Airlines from 1972 to 1981 and its deputy chairman until 1991, persuaded the avid golfer and swimmer to come on board and run the airline.

Said Mr Lim: “We chose Kay Wee for the job largely because of his extensive airline experience and his belief in fostering a company with a heart.”

Mr Sim will be leading Valuair into battle with low-cost competitors Tiger Airways, AirAsia and the unnamed Qantas carrier.

Valuair, which pitches itself as a quality budget carrier and is sandwiched between Tiger’s stripped-down model and SIA’s full-service offers, currently flies to Jakarta, Bangkok and Hong Kong.

As for his plans for the airline, Mr Sim said Valuair is moving into the next phase of development, “with exciting things lined up on our radar screen, like the lease of two new aircraft by year-end, new routes to open and most importantly, keen competition to tackle from new low-cost airlines in Singapore”.

Copyright © 2003 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old August 6th, 2004, 07:33 PM   #294
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So when valuair merges with Tigerair, I suppose those members will become SIA employees again?
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Old August 6th, 2004, 07:36 PM   #295
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huaiwei
So when valuair merges with Tigerair, I suppose those members will become SIA employees again?
Is Valuair "smiling ahead" for that to happen??
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Old August 8th, 2004, 02:17 AM   #296
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Quote:
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Ryanair and EasyJet have both released amazing figures for June 2004. Ryanair's passenger growth has been 24% since June 2003 and EasyJet's an even more impressive 28%!! Ryanair's load factor (ie percentage bums on seats) has risen to an incredible 87% (up from 79% June last year) and EasyJet's has held steady at an equally impressive 86%. Ryanair boast of having carried more passengers than BA in UK/Europe for the 6th month running and of better punctuality and fewer baggage losses than any other airline in Europe.

Rolling 12 month passenger totals to June 2004:
EasyJet = 22,877,710
Ryanair = 24,586,768

Percentage increase in passengers since June 2003:
EasyJet = 28%
Ryanair = 24%

Load factor (ie percentage bums on seats) in June 2004:
EasyJet = 86%
Ryanair = 87%
July 2004 figures - more good news for the world's fastest growing airlines:

Rolling 12 month passenger totals to July 2004:
EasyJet = 23,404,812
Ryanair = 25,028,520

Percentage increase in passengers since July 2003:
EasyJet = 19%
Ryanair = 22%

Load factor (ie percentage bums on seats) in July 2004:
EasyJet = 84.3%
Ryanair = 90%

Ryanair has also announced a Q1 profit increase of 21%, a net margin of 18%, as traffic grows 28%. From their site:

Ryanair, Europe’s No. 1 low fares airline, today (Tuesday, 3rd August 2004) announced record profits for Q1 ended 30 June 2004 of €53.1m. Passenger volumes grew by a record 28% to 6.6m passengers whilst yields declined by 6% during the quarter and, as a result, total revenues rose by 23% to €302.8m. Unit costs fell by 4% and in turn the net margin after tax remains stable at an industry leading 18%.

Last edited by Monkey; August 8th, 2004 at 02:33 AM.
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Old August 12th, 2004, 11:29 AM   #297
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Time is GMT + 8 hours
Posted: 12 August 2004 1211 hrs

Budget carrier Valuair to partner Abacus

SINGAPORE : Singapore's Valuair will be a partner of Abacus by the end of the month, making it the first budget carrier to join the region's biggest ticketing and reservations service provider, Abacus said Thursday.

The two firms have exchanged a letter of intent and Valuair bookings will be integrated into Abacus' network of 10,000 travel agents by the end of August, the statement said.

"We are delighted to have Valuair on board, and look forward to helping them dramatically increase their distribution footprint in Asia while maintaining their position as a value carrier," Abacus chief executive Don Birch said in the statement.

At present, tickets for Valuair flights are sold online, through phone bookings or at its main office.

Valuair, started by a former Singapore Airlines managing director, made its maiden flight in May and is the first budget airline to base itself out of Singapore. - AFP

Copyright © 2004 MCN International Pte Ltd
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Old August 12th, 2004, 04:44 PM   #298
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Business Times - 12 Aug 2004

Qantas says its Asian offshoot will lease Airbus A320s

SYDNEY, Australia - Australian flag carrier Qantas said on Thursday that its Singapore-based Asian budget offshoot has signed a deal to lease eight Airbus planes when it starts flying later this year.

The carrier, which has yet to be named, will start operations flying four Airbus A320s, the new airline's chief operating officer Con Korfiatis said in a statement.

The first plane is scheduled for delivery by the end of October, Mr Korfiatis added.

After the first four planes are delivered, four more A320s will be phased in later.

No financial details of the deal were released.

The airline, which will be majority owned by Qantas but based in Singapore, has applied for its Singapore Air Operator's Certificate and will apply for traffic rights to a ring of Asian cities within five hours travel time from Singapore.

Qantas will hold a 49.9 per cent stake in the airline, while Singapore government investment arm Temasek Holdings will hold 19 per cent. Singapore businessmen Tony Chew and FF Wong will own 21.1 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively.

Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon has suggested in the past that the Asian offshoot will most likely be called Jetstar Asia.

Qantas recently established a domestic budget carrier called Jetstar, which took to the Australian air on May 25, challenging local budget carrier Virgin Blue, which controls about 30 per cent of the domestic market.

Copyright © 2004 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old August 12th, 2004, 05:12 PM   #299
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about that abacus valuair deal news, that explains, why when i tried to book valuair from melbourne it doesnt show up in the travel agent's computer...

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Old August 13th, 2004, 04:21 PM   #300
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AUG 14, 2004
$25 return ticket to Tokyo - thanks to fierce airfare war
By Serene Goh

AIRFARES have hit a new low, and not just among budget carriers. When SA Tours Mega Travel Sale opens at 10am tomorrow, a total of 25 pairs of return tickets to Tokyo are up for grabs by the first 25 buyers there - at $25 per person for travel between Sept 1 and Nov 17.

The ANA Airlines promotion beats such recent lows as Dutch carrier KLM's $99 ticket to Jakarta.

Previous lows on full-service carriers plying similar distances as that of ANA to Tokyo had bottomed at $888 to $988 per person.

Now, however, competition between full-service and budget carriers is resulting in price wars.

'Full-service airlines have lowered their airfares to compete with low-cost airlines,' SA Tours' assistant general manager of business development, Ms Alicia Seah.

As examples, she cited 'never before' lows on popular routes to Bangkok and Hong Kong on full-service airlines at about $230 and $333.

The SA Tours sale will be held at Suntec Singapore Exhibition Hall 402, and ranks among seasonal travel blow- outs that promise bargains.

Other fairs include those of Chan Brothers Travel (Aug 22 at Suntec Exhibition Hall 402; preview at Suntec City Tropics Atrium tomorrow) and the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (Natas).

The three-day Natas fair, from Sept 24, also includes big-name agents CTC Holidays and Ananda Travel.

These events usually occur twice a year; in March/April and August/September, to capture June and year-end school holiday makers.

Rapidly dipping prices, agents note, have made Singapore's travellers more impulsive.

'Long weekends have become gold mines on the calendar and the reasons for travel have become increasingly tied to the pursuit of individual whims and fancies,' said Ms Seah, adding that buyers are aged anywhere from 25 to 65 years old.

Indeed, the 25-year-old SA Tours expects a turnout of about 30,000 people this weekend, who could spend as much as $9 million - a 15 per cent jump in sales over this time last year.

Natas' chief executive officer, Mr Robert Khoo, said that if the uptrend persists, the travel industry could return to its 2002 state of health.

But he stopped short of calling the trend a boom, saying: 'It would be a while before we can reach 2000 levels, that is, pre-Sept 11.'

Copyright @ 2004 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
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