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Old September 20th, 2004, 10:46 AM   #401
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Time is GMT + 8 hours
Posted: 20 September 2004 1455 hrs

Valuair to begin flights from Singapore to Perth

SINGAPORE: Singapore-based budget carrier Valuair will begin flying to the Western Australian capital of Perth in December and is looking to open routes into China, the airline said.

Valuair's public relations manager, Nilesh Pritam, said that although prices have yet to be set for flights to Perth, the airline was aiming to continue its policy of being 40 percent cheaper than the major airlines.

Valuair was the first budget carrier to begin operating from Singapore in May this year and already flies to Bangkok, Jakarta and Hong Kong.

Pritam said the airline had chosen to expand its operations to Perth, a five-hour flight away, ahead of other destinations because of the city's popularity with Singaporeans for holidays, living and studying.

"The number of Singaporeans living there are tremendous," Pritam said.

Singapore Airlines and Qantas are currently the only airlines to fly between Singapore and Perth with normal return fares priced at about 800 Singapore dollars (475 US dollars).

On Valuair's China ambitions, Pritam said the airline was looking at Shanghai and the southern city of Guangzhou although no plans had yet been confirmed.

- AFP

Copyright © 2004 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved.
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Old September 20th, 2004, 11:14 AM   #402
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SEPT 20, 2004
Hype Or Reality?
Study to be done on budget airlines
Follow-up to 2002 CAAS study will determine chances of success in Asia and how carriers might benefit local economy

By Karamjit Kaur

TO SEPARATE the hype about low-cost carriers from the reality, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) has commissioned one of the most detailed studies into the growth potential of the budget airlines.

To be completed by early next year, the findings will provide an insight into how the carriers can benefit the local economy and boost tourism and other related industries.

The Straits Times understands that the study is also an attempt to determine how successful budget airlines will be in the region and the routes they will most likely want to fly.

When contacted, a CAAS spokesman said only that the data-gathering is routine and meant to help the authority make 'informed evaluations'.

He did not disclose details on the specifics of the proposed study, which will be carried out by a management consultancy.

A tender, which closed on Sept 8, attracted more than 10 bids from local and foreign parties, which are now being evaluated.

Its the second CAAS study on low-cost airlines. The first was done in 2002 to 'assess the prospects' for budget airlines in Asia, said the spokesman, adding that 'since then, there have been significant developments in the low-cost carrier market in Asia'.

The findings of the 2002 study were confidential, he added.

Analysts said it was a good time for the second study, seeing as how Asia is now home to more than a dozen budget airlines including Malaysia's AirAsia and India's Air Deccan, when there were none a few years ago.

In Singapore alone, two started flying this year - Valuair and Tiger Airways - and a third, backed by Australia's Qantas, will start operating in December.

The study will also give CAAS a better fix on how budget carrier operations can help Singapore retain its air-hub status. To lure the carriers here, a dedicated terminal for low-cost airlines will be built at Changi Airport by 2006.

Despite the phenomenal growth in budget carriers in the region in the last few years, experts are divided over whether they will be as big in Asia as they are in the United States and Europe.

While experts from the Sydney-based Centre for Asia-Pacific Aviation have no doubt low-cost carriers in Asia are here to stay, others feel that Asian governments are slow in dismantling the restrictive regimes that control the distribution of air traffic rights to carriers.

This difference in views is one reason the CAAS study is significant, said a source in one of the companies bidding for the project.

He said: 'So far, we have just been hearing people's views and thoughts, but this project, the first of its kind in Asia, is an attempt to visit the issue in a more systematic manner and come up with projections.'

Copyright @ 2004 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
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Old September 20th, 2004, 11:18 AM   #403
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This story was printed from TODAYonline

Budget flights to KL? Don't count on it

Monday • September 20, 2004

I refer to the letter, "Why no budget Singapore-KL route?" (Sept 17).

It is a misconception to view a short-haul flight, such as the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur route, as highly lucrative simply because of the high airfares charged.

Major operating costs at airports, such as landing and parking fees and ground handling charges, are levied on each flight irrespective of the flight's duration.

Expressed in terms of unit costs, these are disproportionately higher for short-haul routes than for long-haul routes.

I suspect the reason that Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Malaysian Airlines offer so many flights on this route is two-fold. One is because they must serve the travelling public. The other is that the route is a feeder service for their trunk-route flights.

In this regard, I recall a statement made by Mr Lim Chin Beng, the chairman of Valuair and the former deputy chairman of SIA, that given the opportunity, he would prefer to operate flights to Penang rather than to KL.

Tham Kim Fay

Copyright MediaCorp Press Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old September 20th, 2004, 11:47 AM   #404
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Budget carrier to fly Singapore-Perth route
Singapore-based budget carrier Valuair will begin flying to Perth in December.

The airline says it is also looking to open routes into China.

Valuair's public relations manager, Nilesh Pritam, says that prices have yet to be set for flights to Perth.

However, the airline is aiming to continue its policy of being 40 per cent cheaper than the major airlines.

Valuair was the first budget carrier to begin operating from Singapore in May this year and already flies to Bangkok, Jakarta and Hong Kong.

Mr Pritam says the airline has chosen to expand its operations to Perth, a five-hour flight away, ahead of other destinations because of the city's popularity with Singaporeans for holidays, living and studying.

"The number of Singaporeans living there are tremendous," Mr Pritam said.

Singapore Airlines and Qantas are currently the only airlines to fly between Singapore and Perth with normal return fares priced at about $A680
http://www.abc.net.au/wa/news/200409/s1203197.htm
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Old September 20th, 2004, 12:18 PM   #405
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ugh they're a little late.
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Old September 20th, 2004, 12:31 PM   #406
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heirloom
ugh they're a little late.
Better late than never.....

At least now we have another alternative........
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Old September 20th, 2004, 04:52 PM   #407
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great news... hopefully we can get airasia fly here from KL.... :P
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Old September 21st, 2004, 12:42 AM   #408
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How long does it take from KL to perth??
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Old September 21st, 2004, 04:22 AM   #409
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around 6 hours or so
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Old September 21st, 2004, 05:33 AM   #410
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OMG OMG OMG!!! This is the best news for Perth international aviation in decades! This is WAAAYYYY overdue. Fu#% Qantas!!!
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Old September 21st, 2004, 12:27 PM   #411
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Business Times - 21 Sep 2004

A-Sonic clears hurdle for stake in Aussie carrier

It now looks to linking up SkyWest with its planned China airline

By VEN SREENIVASAN

AFTER initial obstacles, Singapore investment firm CaptiveVision Capital's (CVC's) takeover bid for SkyWest has become unconditional, paving the way for mainboard-listed A-Sonic Aerospace to buy into the Perth-based low cost carrier.

A recent deal for A-Sonic to acquire 32 per cent of CVC for an indirect stake in SkyWest hinges on CVC accumulating at least 50 per cent of SkyWest shares.

'This is great news,' said A-Sonic's chief executive Janet Tan. 'Once the takeover is complete, we can explore linkages with our China low cost carrier. We can establish interline connectivity between the two airlines.'

A-Sonic said yesterday CVC's cash offer of 20 Australian cents per share closes on Oct 18.

Last week, A-Sonic announced a partnership with three other parties to set up a Guangdong-based low cost carrier.

A-Sonic will take a 25 per cent stake, while China's state-owned Guangdong China Travel Service Holdings Ltd (GCTS) will hold a majority 51 per cent stake.

The third party is China Xpress Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed China Credit Holdings Ltd (formerly known as Heng Fung Holdings), which will hold a 5 per cent stake.

Singapore-listed express courier and logistics company, AirOcean will take a 19 per cent stake in the venture.

Ms Tan envisages a pan-Asian low cost carrier linkup between SkyWest and the China start-up within the next few years.

SkyWest, set up in 1963, is Western Australia's largest regional airline. It ferries passengers and cargo to 14 destinations with a fleet of seven Fokker F50 and F100 turbo prop planes.

But the jewel in its crown is the its high-capacity Air Operator's Certificate issued by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority of Australia, which effectively gives it the right to run international flights with over 100 passengers.

The takeover bid by CVC, and therefore A-Sonic, was earlier thrown into doubt when just a day after its announcement in early June, SkyWest's board resisted the move and recommended that shareholders reject CVC's takeover bid, saying that it was 'inadequate, opportunistic and not in the best interests of SkyWest shareholders'.

Then on June 25, SkyWest chairman Pat Ryan also told shareholders in a statement that the value of SkyWest's shares was significantly above 20 Australian cents, 'a belief reinforced by the 24 (Australian) cents preferred value attributed to SkyWest by independent expert PricewaterhouseCoopers'.

SkyWest also sacked its CFO, Craig Lovelady, over the alleged leaking of confidential financial information to CVC.

CVC then cleared a major obstacle early this month when the Australian takeover review panel gave its go-ahead for the acquisition.

Interestingly, one of CVC's shareholders is Crescent Venture Partners, a substantial shareholder in Malaysian-based budget airline, AirAsia.

Copyright © 2004 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old September 21st, 2004, 12:31 PM   #412
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Business Times - 21 Sep 2004

Asia's protectionist forces may not survive low-cost blitz

They are fighting a losing battle as more players emerge to cash in on the region's new hunger for travel

By VEN SREENIVASAN

THE dogfight over the skies of South-east Asia has hit a new level of intensity with Singapore Airlines' associate, low-cost carrier (LCC) Tiger Airways, starting services to three Thai destinations during the past week.

Fares have fallen to ridiculous levels, LCC websites have been swamped, and more people are scrambling into planes than ever before in this region.

Ah yes, it's a great time to be a traveller in Asia. But how long is this party going to last?

The growth of the LCC market in this region is still at an embryonic phase. In Europe, this phase began around 1990 and lasted until 1997 as several dozen players emerged on the market. Even today, there are about 50 LCC operators still in business across the continent (though only a handful actually make money).

Right now, there are about half-a-dozen LCC players operating in Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Then are a handful - mainly domestic players - in other areas such as India and the greater China region.

There could be as many as 30 LCC start-ups emerging in this region in the next few years, driving ticket prices further down and 'commoditising' air travel.

Asia has the ideal conditions for LCCs: high economic growth and large population. South-east Asia has the same population as Western Europe. Yet only 10 per cent of its people have been inside a plane. The numbers look good.

But there is one obstacle - and a big one at that - standing in the way of growth: protectionism. Most countries in the region still jealously guard their national carriers, and hence by extension, their commercial airspace. The Singapore-Thailand routes are the busiest in the region because the two countries have inked a free-skies agreement.

But that is not the case everywhere. The starkest example is the busy and lucrative Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route. It is probably the worst-kept secret in the business that LCCs like Valuair and AirAsia would love to be able to fly this route. But they don't stand a whisker of a chance, given the vice-like grip on available slots by the national carriers of both countries. The result: fares of over $130 for a 45-minute flight, double the one way fare from Singapore to Bangkok.

Another problem is the lack of a pan-regional body to police anti-competitive practises. In Europe, the EU Commission has the necessary watchdog to ensure that legacy carriers do not engage in predatory pricing practices.

The experience of Europe and the US shows that growth of LCCs has really been largely fuelled by conducive regulatory environment. The 1997 deregulation of the European skies, accompanied by Brussel's close watch over anti-competitive practises in the industry, drove the LCCs' 'growth phase' between 1998 and 2002. This has yet to happen in much of Asia.

But protectionist forces are fighting a losing battle. The emergence of the first few LCCs has already whetted the appetite for travel. And more new players are emerging to capitalise on this hunger for travel.

In short, supply is fuelling demand. Given the growing volume of business and tourist traffic in the region, protected routes and protectionist policies are anachronisms which are way past their time.

Copyright © 2004 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old September 21st, 2004, 06:16 PM   #413
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Check out another take on that KL-Sg route, this time in The Star. Check out the graphic maps and charts!



Friday September 17, 2004

KL-Singapore eludes low-cost airlines

BY K.P. LEE AND B.K. SIDHU


LOW-cost airlines in Malaysia and Singapore are eyeing what could potentially be one of their most lucrative routes, between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. 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 Singaporean 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 one Singapore dollar 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 S$1, a fare Thai AirAsia proceeded to beat with its 49 Singapore cents offer.

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

The KL to 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.


Tony Fernandes CEO AirAsia: I am not sure (about starting a Singapore service). Well, may be we might consider Singapore if the option is available. But I still think Johor's Senai Airport is the better way for us to get to the Singapore market. It is a low-cost alternative to Singapore, because it's cheaper to operate from while passengers pay less in airport charges.

“Those are real ‘hot’ routes,” said a spokesperson 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.


Patrick Gan CEO Tiger Airways: The status of air traffic rights between Malaysia and Singapore is an area of ongoing dicussions 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.

AirAsia, which is still awaiting permission from Singapore’s Transport Ministry to set up operation in the city-state, was sceptical the Singapore Government would ever agree to it flying there from KLIA. But its chief executive officer Tony Fernandes said such a route could be considered if the possibility opened up. “Maybe,” he said.

In the meantime, Fernandes said the airline was developing Johor’s Senai Airport as the alternative entry point into the republic, an option not currently open to the Singapore carriers.


Sim Kay Wee, CEO Valuair: Malaysia is a destination we would definitely be keen on flying to. Should air rights between the two countries become available, cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Penang and those in east Malaysia would certainly appeal to us.
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Old September 21st, 2004, 07:19 PM   #414
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skywest isnt an LCC.. it is just an Intrastate airline for WA.. used to be owned by Ansett.... hopefully they will fly international soon...... Batavia airlines is already doing so from the North West of WA to indonesia i think
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Old September 21st, 2004, 11:11 PM   #415
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Wednesday September 22, 3:35 AM
Ryanair, easyJet prepare for low-cost 'bloodbath'

LONDON (AFP) - Ryanair and easyJet, Europe's two leading low-cost airlines, are on a mission to reinvigorate their businesses in the face of increasingly fierce competition from traditional carriers and new entrants.

The two carriers have helped transform European air travel by offering cheap fares on short-haul routes in Europe, but their success story has soured of late amid cut-throat competition in the no-frills sector.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary warned the World Low Cost Airlines Congress here Tuesday "there will a bloodbath in Europe this winter" in the budget air sector.

"The bloodbath will reach all the companies," said O'Leary, who has previously predicted that only one or two large low-fares airlines will be left flying the skies of Europe in the medium term.

The Dublin-based carrier has warned investors it expects its revenue per passenger to plunge by 20 percent in the three months to September, the second quarter of its financial year.

Ryanair shares have tumbled by about 45 percent since mid-January.

Meanwhile arch-rival easyJet has seen its share plunge by over 60 percent over the same period, a victim of what its chief executive Ray Webster has described as "unprofitable and unrealistic" pricing by airlines in Europe.

The airlines' margins and profits are under pressure from reductions in fares as well as soaring fuel costs.

Competition in the sector is intensifying. In 2000 there were just five low-cost airlines in Europe. Now there are 49, according to Wolfgang Kurth, president of the European Low Fares Airline Association and chief executive of TUI's no-frills carrier Hapag-Lloyd Express.

Webster told the conference that low-cost airlines could take advantage of short-haul routes likely to be neglected by the larger, established carriers.

"The real growth is to link major catchment zones to main routes. It's a market big airlines will have deserted in the next five or 10 years to focus on the point-to-point, transatlantic or long haul flights," he said.

For O'Leary, "our growth is not determined by who we are competing against. Our growth is determined by which airport where we fly to. Our strategy is to keep prices down."

Though both bosses say they are unfazed by the competition, they have been back to the drawing board in recent weeks to tinker with their business models.

Ryanair has been looking for ways to introduce new services they can use to boost revenues while keeping fares low.

The Irish airline said Tuesday it intends to introduce inflight entertainment on all its flights, but customers will have to pay for the privilege at an introductory price of seven euros per flight.

The company has already squeezed costs by using Internet-only booking and under-used, out-of-town airports, and is even considering banning large luggage.

Meanwhile easyJet, which was set up by British entrepreneur Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who still owns about 40 percent of the airline, has been revamping its fight programme.

Last month the carrier said it was halting flights to Zurich because of "ludicrous" fees at the Swiss airport.

"Innovation is fundamental," said Webster.

"We have to be prepared when the industry will go ex-growth and when we won't be registering 20 percent passenger growth over a month. It will eventually happen. It could be in five or 10 years," he added.

Ryanair shares were 0.96 percent higher at 4.21 euros in Dublin Tuesday while easyJet was down 2.26 percent at 140.75 pence in London.
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Old September 22nd, 2004, 12:30 AM   #416
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Wow, surprised to see JKT - SIN which has more than 25 flights a day doesnt even on the chart and also Indonesia - Singapore, which serves daily by silkair, jatayu, Singapore airlines, Australian airlines,Garuda, Riau airlines,Bouraq, Merpati from over 10 cities. I wonder why.

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Old September 22nd, 2004, 12:33 AM   #417
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Quote:
hopefully they will fly international soon...... Batavia airlines is already doing so from the North West of WA to indonesia i think
Yeap, you're right Batavia Airlines serve north west of wa to Indonesia 4 times a week. Anyway, Airasia also plan to fly from KL to Perth via Bali. Which they might cooperate together with Airasia Indonesia (the new join company for Indonesian domestic market, due of launching early 2005)

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Old September 22nd, 2004, 03:21 AM   #418
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Note the rapid roll out of new routes to cities in the 10 new EU member states:


Ryanair destinations:




EasyJet destinations:






The London perspective


Ryanair from London Stansted:




EasyJet from London Luton:




EasyJet from London Stansted:




EasyJet from London Gatwick:

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Old September 22nd, 2004, 07:50 AM   #419
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David-80
Wow, surprised to see JKT - SIN which has more than 25 flights a day doesnt even on the chart and also Indonesia - Singapore, which serves daily by silkair, jatayu, Singapore airlines, Australian airlines,Garuda, Riau airlines,Bouraq, Merpati from over 10 cities. I wonder why.

cheers
It suppose it is because most of these airlines are small, and the total capacities are relatively small too since they use smaller planes, despite having high frequencies?

Anyway, that chart does finally conclude some stuff I have bee nspeculating about. Just look at the unusually high traffic between Hong Kong and Taiwan, or that between it and Taipei in particular. Goes to show how much politics can skew the numbers to this extent!

Oh and btw, those data from for the year ending March 2003. Who noes if there will be substaintial impacts to the charts by now with the explosion of LCCs in this year!
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Old September 22nd, 2004, 12:45 PM   #420
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Business Times - 22 Sep 2004

Valuair plans $400-$450 return fare to Perth

But online e-ticket specialist's price is as low as $382

By VEN SREENIVASAN

(SINGAPORE) Return flights between Singapore and Perth will be offered at $400-$450 by Singapore budget carrier Valuair when it starts services to the West Australian city in early December.

Valuair, which already flies to Bangkok, Hong Kong and Jakarta, will be the first international budget airline to service Perth. And it expects strong demand.

'Perth has always been a very popular destination for Singaporeans, not only students but also for visiting friends and relatives, as more Singaporeans choose to make Perth their second home,' Valuair CEO Sim Kay Wee said yesterday.

But Valuair will be up against stiff competition. For a start, online e-ticket specialist Zuji was advertising Singapore-Perth return tickets from as low as $382 yesterday.

Qantas and Singapore Airlines, which together operate about 30 flights a week between Singapore and Perth, charge return fares of about $650.

But Seah Hiang Hong of Kim Eng Research said: 'SIA and Qantas also sell fares to Perth for as low as $450 off-peak, so the impact (of Valuair) won't be all that great.'

A fare fight from the big boys cannot be ruled out either. When Valuair launched promotional fares of $138 to Bangkok and $300 to Hong Kong in May, SIA countered with return fares of $168 and $368 respectively. Cathay matched Valuair's $300 return price to Hong Kong, and Indonesia's Garuda has been offering $283 return fares to the Chinese territory.

Valuair spokesman Nilesh Pritam said the Perth flights will start after the airline takes delivery of two more Airbus A320 aircraft by early December, bringing to four the number of leased A320 planes in its fleet.

Valuair will sell three categories of tickets. And besides allocated seats, it will give a passenger baggage allowance of 20kg per person and will serve hot meals on board.

Having raised $33 million so far from private investors such as Asiatravel.com, BLU Inc, Khattar Holdings and Wulthelam Holdings, Valuair has set its sights on an initial public offer within the next couple of years to raise $50 million to lease more aircraft.

With Perth just four hours' flying time from Singapore, Singaporeans account for almost 14 per cent of West Australia's international visitors - the state's second biggest source of foreign arrivals.

Copyright © 2004 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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