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Old September 13th, 2004, 10:00 PM   #381
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Monday August 30, 03:41 PM

EasyJet to cut routes



COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Low-cost carrier easyJet will cut routes from Copenhagen because of high costs and from Milan for lack of attractive slots but will add services to and from Estonia and Latvia, it says.

EasyJet, which operates out of a low-cost base at Luton near London, said on Monday it was cutting services between Copenhagen and Newcastle and Bristol because the Danish state passenger tax and overall cost at Copenhagen's Kastrup airport made it more profitable to seek growth elsewhere.

"We are closing these routes to show the most expensive airports they need to lower their costs if they want to take part in passenger growth of low-cost carriers," easyJet said in a statement.

Copenhagen Airports, which operates Kastrup, said it was sorry to see the tail end of easyJet's Newcastle and Bristol business -- currently at one flight per destination a day -- but said it was unable to renegotiate contracts without the consent of all of its customers.

EasyJet said services between Tallinn and Berlin would begin at the end of October, between Tallinn and London's Stansted airport in early November and between Riga and Berlin in mid-November.

The firm said that these services, easyJet's first to the Baltic states, were possible thanks to Estonia's and Latvia's entrance into the European Union in May.

The firm also said it will stop flying to Milan's Linate airport from London's Stansted in October, blaming the lack of slots at the airport.

"It is a problem of lack of available slots," said Toby Nicol, the head of corporate communications at easyJet.

"The problem is that we have negotiated (with the airport) and it hasn't worked. The airport should have been closed down years and years ago," he added.

Linate, a small airport close to Milan's city centre, is dwarfed by the city's more modern Malpensa airport.

The cut will take easyJet's London-Milan services from two flights a day to one, Nicol said.

EasyJet and other low-cost carriers such as Dublin-based Ryanair have complained about airport charges as they seek to cut costs due to intense competition and rising fuel costs.
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Old September 14th, 2004, 02:50 PM   #382
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Time is GMT + 8 hours
Posted: 14 September 2004 1735 hrs

A-Sonic buys 25% stake in new Chinese budget airline
By Derek Cher, Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE : Singapore's A-Sonic Aerospace has teamed up with Guangdong China Travel Service and China Xpress to launch a new budget airline in China.

The company will invest about S$5.4 million in cash for a 25 percent stake in the joint venture.

The new venture is seeking approval to run the low-cost carrier from Guangzhou, in the southern province of Guangdong.

A-Sonic says it will have exclusive rights to the repair and overhaul, management services and fleet maintenance of the carrier's fleet.

It will also handle aircraft and engine leasing, giving the company an added revenue stream.

"We do not expect any material financial impact on our financials because we will only start operations in the second half of 2005," said Janet Tan, chief executive of A-Sonic.

"We aim to be profitable 18 months after our operations and depending on the market perception of us being a premium foreign joint-venture airline who offers domestic range of airfares," she said.

A-Sonic will fund its stake purchase with internal resources and net proceeds from its IPO.

A fourth shareholder with a 19 percent stake has yet to be disclosed.

But it is likely to be freight forwarder and cargo handler Airocean Group.

Airocean's chief executive Thomas Tay said his company will "announce a decision very soon."

A-Sonic says it will focus on China's domestic market before going regional.

The company is also bidding for an indirect stake in Australian low-cost carrier SkyWest.

Going forward, A-Sonic says it plans to establish inter-airline connectivity between SkyWest and airlines in China. - CNA

Copyright © 2004 MCN International Pte Ltd
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Old September 14th, 2004, 02:52 PM   #383
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Time is GMT + 8 hours
Posted: 14 September 2004 1942 hrs

Thai AirAsia offering Singapore-Phuket flights for just 29 cents
By Asha Popatlal, Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE : Budget air fares have plunged so low they are now even cheaper than an MRT ride. Thai AirAsia is offering a special promotional deal of just 29 cents for a Singapore-Phuket flight, excluding taxes.

But there is a catch.

The special fares are for one-way travel from Singapore to Phuket, and only for online bookings.

Bookings for the Thai Air Asia deal start at midnight on Tuesday and end on September 30.

Travel must be made between 5 November 2004 and 26 March 2005.

And once the special fares are gone, fares start at S$49.99 one way.

This would then make it comparable to other offers on the market, such as Tiger Airways' fares of between S$40 and S$140 one way for Phuket, starting next week, and SilkAir's S$88 return deal that is on till end October. - CNA

Copyright © 2004 MCN International Pte Ltd
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Old September 15th, 2004, 02:11 PM   #384
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Business Times - 15 Sep 2004

Tiger Airways launches $2 return flight to Bangkok

SINGAPORE - Tiger Airways, Singapore's newest budget airline, launched commercial services to Bangkok on Wednesday with a round trip fare of just two dollars.

Although the discounted tickets are promotional fares, the rock-bottom rates underscore the fast-rising competition in the region's no-frills sector.

'Low cost is the key to success,' Chief Executive Patrick Gan told reporters at a launch ceremony at Changi Airport. 'We will maintain that as our driving force.'

The promotional rate covers one-third of the seats during the airline's first week to each of its three destinations; the remainder will go for between $40 and $140.

The one-way $1 fares apply during Tiger's first week of flying to Bangkok and the same rates will also be good for flights to the southern Thai town of Hat Yai from Sept 22, and the resort island of Phuket from Sept 29.

The popularity of low-cost air travel has started to gain momentum in Asia in recent years, as carriers here seek to match the success of budget airlines in the United States and Europe.

Tiger Airways is an offshoot of national flag-carrier Singapore Airlines.

Its shareholders include the Ryan family, founders of leading Irish discount carrier Ryanair, and Temasek Holdings, a Singapore investment agency.

Copyright © 2004 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old September 15th, 2004, 04:17 PM   #385
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Time is GMT + 8 hours
Posted: 15 September 2004 2021 hrs

Price war among low-cost carriers unsustainable: MarketShare
By Derek Cher, Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE : The price war between low-cost carriers in Singapore won't be sustainable; rather, these carriers will be competing more on destinations in the longer term, according to research firm MarketShare.

In its survey on low-cost carriers here, half of the 300 Singaporeans polled say they will only fly with budget carriers if the price is over 40 percent lower than full-service carriers'.

Competition is heating up among low-cost carriers in Singapore as airfares are slashed to rock-bottom prices.

AirAsia is offering the cheapest promotional air tickets ever seen in this region -- 29 cents to Phuket -- and last week it offered Bangkok flights at 49 cents.

But research firm MarketShare doubts such price wars will last much longer.

"The price war is really about the early days of low-cost carriers in the Singapore market. It's about gaining market share, gaining awareness. I don't think the price wars are sustainable in the longer term," said MarketShare executive director Anthony Venus.

"You'll start to see the other low-cost carriers in the market will begin to compete on a much more segmental approach, whether by destination or recreation, and target customers that way."

MarketShare's survey found the impact of budget carriers on the airline industry here is not as great as in Europe and the US.

That is because the difference in operating costs between full service and low cost carriers here is much smaller than elsewhere.

In fact, MarketShare says full-service carriers are putting up a good fight, offering promotional fares that can sometimes match budget carriers'.

And forget about customer loyalty; MarketShare says this doesn't exist for low-cost leisure travellers.

They will be heading to where fares are cheaper when travelling on budget carriers. Flight timing is also an important factor that they will consider.

MarketShare says airlines are now targeting a new breed of consumers -- impulse travel shoppers.

It expects to see another five to 12 new low-cost carriers in the Asia Pacific over the next three years.

"In Singapore specifically, I don't foresee any more entrants into the market. There is some question as to whether the market can sustain four or may end up with just three carriers. That remains to be seen," Mr Venus said.

For low-cost carriers to succeed, MarketShare says they have to induce consumers to purchase tickets in advance.

It believes these carriers will soon target business travellers and tie up with tourism boards to offer special travel packages.

Singaporeans' most popular destinations on low-cost carriers are Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Phuket, the survey found.

MarketShare expects 68 percent of people will travel more often due to budget air travel.

The number of people travelling by air more than once a year will also double.

MarketShare says low-cost carriers will also open up a market for budget hotels and have some negative impact on the high-end hotel market. - CNA

Copyright © 2004 MCN International Pte Ltd
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Old September 16th, 2004, 11:21 AM   #386
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Business Times - 16 Sep 2004

Budget airlines hike demand for cheap accommodation

By VINCE CHONG

BUDGET carriers are boosting demand for budget accommodation, but local hospitality players are confident the expected growth in travellers will be enough for all hotel types.

About 40 per cent of consumers surveyed said they would spend less on hotels with the arrival of budget airlines, while the number of people who travel twice a year almost doubled.

This, said Anthony Venus, executive director of Asia-Pacific market research firm MarketShare, in an industry conference yesterday, will drive growing demand for lower-end budget accommodation.

The budget accommodation sector, defined as establishments offering a daily rate of $80 or below, has been growing in Singapore ever since low-cost airlines announced their arrival.

But as Stelios Haji-Ionannou, founder and chairman of easyGroup, said in the same event yesterday, Asia shouldn't underestimate the growth of the market as expected with the arrival of low cost carriers (LCCs). The group is parent of European LCC EasyJet - among the first airlines to sell directly to consumers mainly through the Internet. Mr Haji-Ionannou, too, expressed interest in setting up a chain of budget hotels in Asia.

Talking to BT over the phone, Orchard Parade Holdings executive director Wee Kheng Jin agreed that the mainboard-listed group's hotels will not be affected by the increasing number of budget outfits.

Among its assets is the revamped mid-market, 186-room Albert Court Hotel.

'It's only a matter of time before its occupancy grows to the current market average of 80 per cent since it just finished renovating,' Mr Wee said.

'Things will be better with LCCs because there will be more travellers.'

Hotel occupancies in Singapore have returned to an average of 80 per cent after some establishments fell close to single-digit figures during Sars last year.

Hubert Viriot, senior associate of hotel consultants HVS International, agreed that there will be a general positive impact on the leisure accommodation sector.

For starters, there should be an increased number of weekend stays, with the bulk of visitors to Singapore expected to come from Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Hong Kong.

'It's still a bit too early to see how business will turn out for the hotels but generally speaking, the three- and four-star hotels could see themselves taking 50-60 per cent of total demand from LCC travellers,' Mr Viriot said.

'Those who want to spend $20-$40 a night will have their budget accommodation choices while there will always be those who will spend more. There will be induced demand coming into the market in the next couple of years.'

Official figures from the Singapore Tourism Board show that there are over 115 budget accommodation here. It has also been reported that dormitory-style accommodation targeted at backpackers have been springing up at a rate of at least one a month across the island.

Even listed Cathay Organisation Holdings has branched out into the sector with Hangout Hotels, which opened in mid-April and is already considering expansion.

Holiday Inn Park View general manager Dinky Puri added that LCCs can only add value to the industry.

'It's all about numbers,' he said

Copyright © 2004 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old September 16th, 2004, 11:22 AM   #387
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Business Times - 16 Sep 2004

Tiger Airways' maiden flight takes off for Bangkok

By VEN SREENIVASAN

TIGER Airways took off on its inaugural flight yesterday, pledging to beat the lowest fares offered by its low-cost rivals.

The Airbus 320 aircraft with 160 passengers left for Bangkok in the afternoon to join what is turning out to be an increasingly savage battle for the potentially huge air travel market over the skies of East Asia.

Yesterday's passengers, who were seen off by Minister of State for Finance and Transport Lim Hwee Hwa, included some who had bought their tickets at the promotional $1 price which Tiger offered last week.

In all, the low-cost carrier (LCC) offered 3,000 of these tickets to its three Thai destinations of Bangkok, Phuket and Hatyai.

But its offer was met with an immediate response from rival Thai AirAsia - the Thai subsidiary of the Malaysian LCC - which countered with an offer of 5,000 tickets from Singapore to Bangkok at 49 cents each. And on Tuesday, AirAsia offered 3,000 seats to Phuket at 29 cents.

Tiger is the second Singapore-based LCC after Valuair, and Singapore's fourth airline player.

But it will soon be joined by Qantas associate Jetstar Asia which starts regional flights from Singapore in November.

Meanwhile, Thai Airways associate Nok Air is said to be preparing to fly to Singapore within the next few months.

Tiger's chief executive Patrick Gan said his airline was prepared for the fare battle.

'We led the market with our $1 fare offer to Bangkok, Phuket and Hatyai. We have set an aggressive pace and our competitors have since tried to play catch up.'

He added that Tiger would respond to AirAsia's challenge at an appropriate time: 'We will let them sweat a little bit.'

Mr Gan has said that Tiger's fares would be pegged at about 40 per cent below those of its LCC rivals.

Tiger plans to carry about 200,000 passengers by the end of this year and be profitable by the end of the first year of operations.

The carrier, which will soon fly to cities in Indonesia and Vietnam, anticipates 25-35 per cent growth each year for the next five years.

The airline has signed up with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) to use the $45 million LCC terminal to be built at Changi Airport. The single-storey terminal will be ready in early 2006, and will not have aerobridges.

Tiger is 49 per cent owned by Singapore Airlines, 24 per cent by US-based Indigo Partners, 16 per cent by Tony Ryan of Ryanair and 11 per cent by Temasek Holdings.

In her send-off address, Mrs Lim said that Singapore welcomed LCCs and would cater to their needs and business models.

She added that Singapore was also committed to pursuing more liberal air services agreements with countries in the region so as to promote the proliferation of such air services.

'With a more liberalised air services regime in the region, the potential multiplier effects on regional economies would be tremendous, and will bring about economic growth and social integration for the region.'

With Tiger in action, Changi airport is now served by 73 airlines with more than 3,500 flights to over 160 cities in more than 50 countries.

Copyright © 2004 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old September 16th, 2004, 11:27 AM   #388
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Business Times - 16 Sep 2004

Budget airline trend may hit travel agents

Most low-cost carriers often sell direct to consumers online: researcher

By VINCE CHONG
AND VEN SREENIVASAN

THE advent of low-cost carriers (LCCs) will hit traditional tour operators and boost the budget hotel industry, according to a report yesterday by travel research firm, MarketShare.

It said travel agents have to focus less on airfare and more on accommodation and other land-based services because LCCs invariably sell direct to the consumer, often online.

'Smaller agencies will be marginalised, and consolidation will speed up,' said MarketShare executive director Anthony Venus.

'Some agents will work towards specialisation, such as tours to exotic locations, or spa-only and medical trips.'

A previous MarketShare report showed that the Asia-Pacific's outbound online travel market will be worth more than US$16 billion by 2006, up from a forecast US$12.6 billion this year. Singapore is expected to contribute US$640 million to the pie, up from a forecast US$500 million this year.

But traditional tour agencies do not appear overly worried by the prospect of losing business to online ticketing. Typically, an agent marks up about 15 per cent on air tickets, while earning about 10 per cent on selling land content.

Alicia Seah, SA Tours business development assistant general manager, said that LCCs had created a new market. 'More people will get hooked and will travel more frequently and impulsively. Tour operators like us will benefit too from this triggered boom in intra-regional travel.

'While pure ticketing agents might be impacted, other agencies will still have to provide land content like transportation and hotel bookings.'

Jenny Low, Holiday Tours and Travel marketing manager, agreed. 'Even without ticketing business, we can still play to the volume of travellers which will mean greater demand for land content. People still need places to stay, to sight-see.'

Travel agents also see LCCs reverting to higher fares once they have grabbed enough market and brand attention via rock-bottom prices.

The Pacific Asia Travel Association has predicted that the outbound travel market in Singapore will be worth US$5 billion in 2004. From this, MarketShare expects 10 per cent, or US$500 million, to come from online bookings.

But MarketShare found that for LCCs to attract travellers, ticket prices had to be significantly cheaper.

In a poll, it found that one in two respondents would only consider travelling with LCCs if the airfare was more than 40 per cent lower. And one in three would do so if the discount was 30 to 40 per cent. Which leaves just one in six willing to fly LCCs at smaller savings.

The survey also found that LCCs would boost demand for budget hotels, and have 'some impact' on the high-end hotel market. It found that 9 per cent would spend more on hotels and 39 per cent would spend less.

Copyright © 2004 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old September 16th, 2004, 11:39 AM   #389
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Time is GMT + 8 hours
Posted: 16 September 2004 1548 hrs

S'pore freight forwarder Airocean buys stake in China budget carrier

SINGAPORE: Singapore freight forwarder and cargo handler Airocean Group Ltd said Thursday it will acquire a 19 percent stake in a new low-cost carrier in China.

Airocean emerged as the unnamed "strategic foreign party" that the other shareholders had mentioned on Tuesday when they announced plans to establish the budget carrier to be based in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong.

A joint venture company, with a registered capital of 80 million yuan (9.6 million US), will be set up to manage the new airline.

The other partners in the joint venture are Singapore-listed aerospace component supplier A-Sonic Aerospace Ltd. and Chinese partners Guangdong China Travel Service (Holdings) Ltd. and China Xpress Pte Ltd.

A-Sonic Aerospace, through its wholly-owned unit JANCO International Pte Ltd, will take up a 25 percent stake in the joint venture, while Guangdong China Travel will have 51 percent.

China Xpress, a consumer finance services provider, will own five percent.

Separately, Airocean said its unit EVS Holdings Pte. Ltd. and A-Sonic's JANCO International will start a Hong Kong-based courier venture targetting the Chinese market.

Airocean's chief executive Thomas Tay said the purchase of the 19 percent stake in the Chinese budget carrier will complement the courier business.

Tay said he hopes to capture five percent of China's international courier market within the next three years.

"Based on unofficial figures, the size of the international and domestic express courier markets in China in 2003 was approximately 1.4 billion US dollars and 14 billion US dollars, respectively," Tay said.

A-Sonic's chief executive Janet Tan cited Chinese government estimates showing that cargo and mail air traffic in the country is expected to grow to 2.5 million tonnes tons this year from 2.2 million in 2003.

"Growth in air cargo and mail is a good proxy to the courier business," Tan said.

A-Sonic had said earlier that the low-cost carrier, to be based in Guangdong's capital city of Guangzhou, will begin operation in the second half of 2005 initially within China. - AFP

Copyright © 2004 MCN International Pte Ltd
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Old September 16th, 2004, 05:53 PM   #390
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This story was printed from TODAYonline

Budget mindset Low-cost airlines changing way S'poreans fly

Thursday • September 16, 2004

Tay Tsen-Waye
[email protected]

SINGAPORE'S newest budget airline, Tiger Airways, made its maiden flight to Bangkok yesterday almost 90 per cent full and with about one-third of its passengers having paid just $2 each for a round-trip ticket. On the ground, many more were logging on to Thai AirAsia's website in hopes of securing one-way tickets to Phuket for 29 cents.

With low-cost carriers (LCCs) offering such cheap fares to destinations such as Bangkok, Phuket, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong, the skies have never looked friendlier for consumers. But beyond the bargains, the budget carrier phenomenon is changing the way Singaporeans travel.

For one thing, they are travelling more often, as Singapore-based research firm MarketShare found when it conducted a consumer survey on the impact of LCCs earlier this month. The survey showed that 68 per cent of the 300 respondents have taken more trips since Changi Airport opened to LCCs. And nearly 81 per cent plan to travel twice or more per year, almost double the 44 per cent who did so previously.

But almost half said prices would have to drop by more than 40 per cent compared to those of full-service carriers before they would consider travelling on an LCC.

And how do travellers plan to spend the money they save on airfares? More than 60 per cent said they would use some of the money to shop during their trips.

Low-cost travel would also open up the market for budget hotels. Only nine per cent of those surveyed said they would use the money to pay for higher-priced accommodations, while 39 per cent said they would look for cheaper places to say.

But all good things must come to an end, according to MarketShare executive director Anthony Venus.

"The price wars can't go on forever. LCCs will start targeting various consumer segments based on destinations, recreational activities and unique interests," he said.

Copyright MediaCorp Press Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old September 17th, 2004, 10:50 AM   #391
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Business Times - 17 Sep 2004

Budget airfare or guerilla warfare?

By JAIME EE

WELL done, my budget carrier comrades! Keep up this pseudo price war for a little while more and we will soon build up the world's largest army of civilian guerillas!

I can't believe how clever we have been at recruiting this army. These suckers really think they're getting a bargain holiday when they're actually undergoing special training to overcome intense physical discomfort.

First, we cramp them into small seats. We deprive them of food under the guise of no-frills flights, and charge them high prices for bad food to discourage them from eating. We severely limit their baggage allowance so they will learn to travel light, because real guerillas don't go around with Samsonites.

We submit them to sensory deprivation tactics by not showing any inflight movies - so they get used to staring ahead at bright lights for long lengths of time, in case they are captured and tortured for information. We hone their combat skills by not having assigned seats - we pick out the best potential candidates by choosing those who get the aisle and window seats. Those who end up in the in-between seats will probably be discreetly terminated - they will be offered even cheaper flights on planes with no seat-belts. And by the way, we're working on eventually introducing flights with no toilets.

Sometimes, we test the recruits' tenacity by making them travel through rugged terrain by bus or unreliable means of transport, to get to a designated location to board their cheap flight. We blame it on landing rights but we're really just oh, masochistic.

We are able to recruit thousands of candidates in just one sitting online - with just a simple gimmick of $1 to 29-cent airfares. We ensure their co-operation by offering them exactly what they want - a good bargain, and they, in return, are willing to make the necessary sacrifices. That, is of course, the Singapore Way.

But first things first. We're just in the first phase of training now, with our short-haul flights. Soon, we will increase the intensity of the training with longer flights. And once the guerillas are ready, we will unleash them into cities of the world where they will destroy the retail industry by demanding huge discounts en masse, causing stores to go belly up and forcing other people to come to Singapore to shop.

And all this while, these bargain hunters will be merrily thinking they're the ones getting the better of us. After 29-cent flights, what next? Heck, we might even pay people to fly - and get ourselves an army for peanuts. Brilliant!

Copyright © 2004 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old September 17th, 2004, 10:56 AM   #392
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SEPT 17, 2004
A-Sonic, Airocean plan express courier service
They will incorporate company in Hong Kong to tap into the China market, using planes from their proposed budget airline

By Azhar Khalid

FRESH from announcing plans to operate a budget airline in China, A-Sonic Aerospace and Airocean Group yesterday said that they also intend to start an express courier service company, using the same aircraft.

At a joint press conference yesterday, both mainboard-listed companies announced that they will incorporate a company in Hong Kong called Express Courier (China), with a paid-up capital of US$3 million (S$5.1 million).

The companies said China's express courier market was huge, with a relatively small number of players.

And by using aircraft from the proposed budget airline, they would get an even better return on their investmentsm, they said.

Airocean, through its subsidiary EVS Holdings, will take a 70 per cent stake in the new company, and A-Sonic subsidiary Janco International will hold the remaining 30 per cent.

Express Courier, which is expected to start operations early next month, will deal mainly in delivering smaller packages weighing less than 30kg within China and internationally.

The new company will have three offices in Dalian, Shenyang and Qingdao for a start.

However, it plans to open up as many as 100 offices over the next two years.

It will also be tying up with China's leading state-owned travel company, Guangdong China Travel Service Holdings (GCTS), to use the latter's 500 outlets as pickup and drop-off points for the parcels.

GCTS is the same China company that has joined hands with the A-Sonic and Airocean in the venture to operate the China-based low-cost carrier.

Airocean's chief executive, Mr Thomas Tay, is upbeat about the prospects for the courier business in China and expects the company to bring in total turnover of about US$70 million over the first three years.

'The express courier market in China is huge and growing. Based on unofficial figures, the size of the international and domestic courier market last year was about US$1.4 billion and US$14 billion respectively,' he said.

Airocean, which had kept mum over speculation that it would also be taking a stake in the four-party venture to operate a budget airline in China, confirmed yesterday that it would be investing about $4 million to acquire a 19-per-cent stake in the yet-to-be-named airline company.

On Tuesday, A-Sonic had announced that it would be taking a 25 per cent stake in the low-cost carrier company, together with GCTS and Hong Kong's consumer credit firm, China Xpress.

A-Sonic's chief executive, Ms Janet Tan, said that forming Express Courier provides 'a strategic fit' to the budget airline company.

'When we run an airline, we want to be sure that the load factors are good. Apart from filling it up with passengers, the courier service will help us fill the belly of the planes,' she said.

Copyright @ 2004 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
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Old September 17th, 2004, 05:51 PM   #393
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babystan03
SEPT 17, 2004
A-Sonic, Airocean plan express courier service
They will incorporate company in Hong Kong to tap into the China market, using planes from their proposed budget airline
Hmmm....they seem ambitious..... Hopefully they fly to Changi soon.....
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Old September 17th, 2004, 05:55 PM   #394
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babystan03
Business Times - 17 Sep 2004

Budget airfare or guerilla warfare?

By JAIME EE

WELL done, my budget carrier comrades! Keep up this pseudo price war for a little while more and we will soon build up the world's largest army of civilian guerillas!

I can't believe how clever we have been at recruiting this army. These suckers really think they're getting a bargain holiday when they're actually undergoing special training to overcome intense physical discomfort.

First, we cramp them into small seats. We deprive them of food under the guise of no-frills flights, and charge them high prices for bad food to discourage them from eating. We severely limit their baggage allowance so they will learn to travel light, because real guerillas don't go around with Samsonites.

We submit them to sensory deprivation tactics by not showing any inflight movies - so they get used to staring ahead at bright lights for long lengths of time, in case they are captured and tortured for information. We hone their combat skills by not having assigned seats - we pick out the best potential candidates by choosing those who get the aisle and window seats. Those who end up in the in-between seats will probably be discreetly terminated - they will be offered even cheaper flights on planes with no seat-belts. And by the way, we're working on eventually introducing flights with no toilets.

Sometimes, we test the recruits' tenacity by making them travel through rugged terrain by bus or unreliable means of transport, to get to a designated location to board their cheap flight. We blame it on landing rights but we're really just oh, masochistic.

We are able to recruit thousands of candidates in just one sitting online - with just a simple gimmick of $1 to 29-cent airfares. We ensure their co-operation by offering them exactly what they want - a good bargain, and they, in return, are willing to make the necessary sacrifices. That, is of course, the Singapore Way.

But first things first. We're just in the first phase of training now, with our short-haul flights. Soon, we will increase the intensity of the training with longer flights. And once the guerillas are ready, we will unleash them into cities of the world where they will destroy the retail industry by demanding huge discounts en masse, causing stores to go belly up and forcing other people to come to Singapore to shop.

And all this while, these bargain hunters will be merrily thinking they're the ones getting the better of us. After 29-cent flights, what next? Heck, we might even pay people to fly - and get ourselves an army for peanuts. Brilliant!

Copyright © 2004 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
What a hilarious article!!!
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Old September 18th, 2004, 01:24 PM   #395
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Business Times - 18 Sep 2004

Budget carriers eye lucrative KL-S'pore route

But protectionist govt policies saving it for SIA, MAS for now

(KUALA LUMPUR) Low-cost airlines in Malaysia and Singapore are eyeing what could potentially be one of their most lucrative routes, between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, says a report in The Star.

The only problem is that flying the highly travelled and short 50-minute sector, which analysts say is ideally suited for budget airline operations, may have to remain a pipe dream.

The protectionist policies of both the Malaysian and Singapore governments that restrict competition on the route - one of Asia's busiest - to a virtual monopoly whose returns are shared between the two incumbent flag carriers Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines, means that the now commonly available bargain fares sold by AirAsia within Malaysia, or tickets of $1 like that offered by Tiger Airways between Singapore and Bangkok, would probably never be seen between the two cities.

'No budget airline talks openly about flying the KL-Singapore route because they see it as impossible. You can wait till the cows come home but the flag carriers on both sides are deeply entrenched,' an aviation analyst told StarBiz yesterday.

The recent scrapping of the Market Development Programme (MDP) cartel would have no impact on the route, he said. Fares may be falling on flights to Bangkok or Jakarta, but the Malaysia-Singapore route seems non-negotiable. And this is at the expense of air travellers, he added.

A survey of the latest airfares is revealing. A confirmed ticket to Singapore from KLIA - a distance of some 300km - costs RM222 one way. Yet, the cheapest ticket on AirAsia to Bangkok, a distance of 1,250km, will set one back by less than half at RM99.99.

If one is lucky enough to get a ticket, the cost of flying the Singapore-Bangkok route on the Republic's new low-cost airline Tiger Airways is an incredible $1, a fare Thai AirAsia proceeded to beat with its 49 cents offer.

Ironically, the cheapest way to fly between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore is via Bangkok, a nonsensical detour of 2,500km.

The KL-Singapore route has consistently been among the top 10 in the region in the number of passengers carried. For the year to March 2003, it was the fourth busiest route in the region with 1.9 million passengers, based on statistics from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA). Virtually all the passengers on this profitable route are carried only by the two national airlines.

The fact that there is so much business and tourism between Malaysia and Singapore, both countries professing to practise liberal policies on air routes and with close cultural ties, almost demands the question: why are low-cost carriers not allowed to operate?

Transport ministry officials declined to comment, while both MAS and SIA said this was a government-to-government matter, refusing to comment on whether they would welcome competition.

A government official who declined to be named said the argument for maintaining the status quo dated back to 1972 when the national airlines of Malaysia and Singapore were created from Malaysia-Singapore Airlines.

The aspirations of the two countries for their airlines were different then, he said.

But now, even with Malaysia embracing competition elsewhere, there are considerations like KLIA's status, which the government wants to develop as an airline hub. By giving more access to Singapore's airlines to Kuala Lumpur or other Malaysian airports, the role of KLIA could be eroded with traffic routed via the larger connectivity found at Changi, he said.

Some analysts, nevertheless, said this was a short-sighted approach that extended well beyond just airfares. 'It is just delaying the inevitable. Malaysia has to be open to competition and this means playing on a global field,' said an analyst.

'Can you imagine the impact of, say, an open skies policy with Singapore on business and tourism in Malaysia?'

It is the bigger picture that needed to be looked at, he added. The opening up of air routes has always created better opportunities and richer communities.

And some budget airlines are just waiting for the word 'go' from the governments to start.

Although neither Tiger Airways and Valuair have applied for routes in Malaysia, both said they would be interested in flying here should they be allowed to do so.

'Those are real hot routes,' said a spokesman for Valuair, Singapore's first budget airline that operates daily flights to Bangkok, Hong Kong and Jakarta from the island republic.

Tiger Airways, which started operations on Wednesday, said it too was keen, in line with its plans to expand aggressively in the region.

Tiger Airways CEO Patrick Gan: 'The status of air traffic rights between Malaysia and Singapore is an area of ongoing discussions between the two governments. How that status might evolve over time is up to the two parties.

'Our objective is to enable more people to fly more often, and so we would always be interested in new destinations and additional frequencies, including Malaysia.'

Copyright © 2004 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old September 18th, 2004, 05:59 PM   #396
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Guys I heard that KL - SIN route is the most unprofitable route for both SIA and MAS, which i dont know why. I also heard, the reason why SIA and MAS keep the route is for the goodwill of relationship between Malaysia and Singapore.

The same with SIN - Bali route isnt profitable but Bali route helped by the influx of european tourist that are coming to Bali after visiting Singapore. Australian airlines - Qantas budget carrier for international route is flying from Singapore to Sabah and Bali

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Old September 19th, 2004, 02:21 AM   #397
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David-80
Guys I heard that KL - SIN route is the most unprofitable route for both SIA and MAS, which i dont know why. I also heard, the reason why SIA and MAS keep the route is for the goodwill of relationship between Malaysia and Singapore.

The same with SIN - Bali route isnt profitable but Bali route helped by the influx of european tourist that are coming to Bali after visiting Singapore. Australian airlines - Qantas budget carrier for international route is flying from Singapore to Sabah and Bali

cheers
SIA and MAS charge S$145(S$304 return) for a 50mins flight(at a distance of just 300km, compared to Sg-Bkk where return ticket can be as low as S$138),and it's one of the busiest route in the region(according to the news article).

Unprofitable?? That sounds quite weird to me. Where did you hear about it btw?? I'm a little puzzled here........
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Old September 19th, 2004, 09:11 PM   #398
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babystan i heard it from my friend who has sources inside SIA. I know the seats are quite full but the yield isnt profitable, like it doesnt cover the cost of operation, turn over and ground operation. The same case with Garuda on their AMS-CGK route which they fault is by promoting buy one get one free. I was also puzzled 1st i hear that but after i got long explanation then i understand myself.

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Old September 20th, 2004, 12:41 AM   #399
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David-80
babystan i heard it from my friend who has sources inside SIA. I know the seats are quite full but the yield isnt profitable, like it doesnt cover the cost of operation, turn over and ground operation. The same case with Garuda on their AMS-CGK route which they fault is by promoting buy one get one free. I was also puzzled 1st i hear that but after i got long explanation then i understand myself.

cheers
Thanks for the explaination.......
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Old September 20th, 2004, 08:27 AM   #400
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SEPT 20, 2004

Bangkok-style price war looms for Singapore-Perth flights

By Karamjit Kaur


AIR fares to Perth, one of the hottest destinations Down Under for Singaporeans, are on the brink of tumbling as drastically as those for Bangkok. Budget carrier Valuair hopes to start flying to the western Australian city by early December.

The airline has already received the official nod from the relevant Singapore authorities to fly once a day to Perth, and is now waiting for the green light from Australia's civil aviation authorities.

The chief executive officer of Singapore's first low-cost start-up, Mr Sim Kay Wee, told The Straits Times: 'We've submitted the application and all the relevant documents, and have been told it takes about two months to process. We checked on the status recently and everything is in order, so we don't expect any problems.'

Singapore and Australia have a liberal air services agreement that allows their airlines to fly unlimited times to each other's cities. Currently, Singapore Airlines and Qantas are the only carriers that service the Singapore-Perth route, flying 28 times a week.

According to prices quoted by travel agents, a round trip ticket generally costs more than $700, including taxes and other surcharges. Mr Sim declined to discuss fares, but promised that Valuair's rates will be lower than that.

If history repeats itself - as when the airline, set up by SIA veteran Lim Chin Beng, started flying to Bangkok, Jakarta and Hong Kong earlier this year - travellers can expect the big boys to slash their rates to Perth when Valuair enters the market.

Mr Sim said the Singapore-Perth service is highly likely to be a popular one, as apart from the Australian city being a hot holiday destination, many Singaporeans study there too. Valuair will also be tying up with the Singapore Tourism Board to promote the Republic as a place to visit for Australians living in Perth.

Housewife Angela Choong, 45, was excited by the news. She said: 'Most of the budget airlines now fly to either Bangkok or Jakarta. It's great that Valuair wants to go somewhere different and out of South-east Asia.'

What next after Perth? Mr Sim said: 'Hopefully, Shanghai and Guangzhou in China.'
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