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Old October 6th, 2004, 05:25 AM   #441
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Europe's Airlines Dreading the Winter

By ALAN COWELL and HEATHER TIMMONS
29 September 2004
The New York Times

LONDON, Sept. 28 -- When European airline executives look across the Atlantic at the industry's woes in the United States, they see a reflection of their own problems, but it is not an identical image. They have some troubles that are all their own.

In recent times, European full-service airlines have confronted the double whammy of a global slowdown before and after Sept. 11, and a relentless challenge by an ever-increasing number of low-cost rivals. In the process some full-service European airlines, like the venerable Swissair and Sabena, have gone out of business. Alitalia is being split in two and is accepting a $490 million rescue package to avoid liquidation. Yet others have merged or are talking of merging.

The low-cost carriers, led by easyJet and Ryanair, have embarked on brutal price wars, just as record high oil prices are cutting into profits. And, underlying the industry's woes is a sense that the era of high fares sustaining profligate operating costs is well and truly over.

The combination of the competitive pressure that low-cost carriers are going to bring to the industry this winter, the current high price of fuel, and the traditionally lower sales during the season ensures that ''a significant number'' of European airlines are going to suffer, said Chris Avery, an analyst with J.P. Morgan in London.

Particularly vulnerable are the dozens of start-up airlines that entered the market over the last few years, hoping to become the next low-cost success story, he said. Many of these airlines ''will not survive through the winter,'' Mr. Avery said.

Perhaps anticipating the fallout, British Airways sold its stake in Qantas this month and said it planned to use the $:425 million ($768.7 million) it raised to strengthen its balance sheet for acquisitions in Europe.

Just in the last few days, a series of events have again illuminated the ferocious competition in the European airline business as carriers seek to avoid the kind of turmoil roiling the industry in the United States.

Last week, Michael O'Leary, the pugnacious chief executive of Dublin-based Ryanair, the Continent's biggest low-cost airline, unveiled a plan to offer in-flight entertainment consoles at a cost of around $9 a flight to lure passengers as the no-frills carrier readies for what he called a ''blood bath'' of price-cutting. He also announced the opening of several new routes to Spain, with prices starting at less than $4 before airport taxes.

Two days later, easyJet, Ryanair's biggest rival, coupled a scale-back in its fleet expansion plans with an announcement that it would open new routes for the first time from Britain into Ireland -- Ryanair's home base -- another sign of the tooth-and-claw competition for passengers.

EasyJet and Ryanair are facing some stiff competition from a host of copy-cat competitors. A total of 67 low-cost airlines now operate in Europe, many of them start-ups replacing others that have already failed, according to industry figures. With names like Wizz Air, Snowflake, SkyEurope, Germanwings and Globespan, they are channeling an influx of new capital from private equity funds, banks and established airlines to try to attract passengers.

Some of Europe's full-service airlines, like British Airways, are facing such fierce price competition from low-cost carriers that they are now offering discounted fares of their own. While the fares are not quite as low, tickets booked several months in advance for specific, unchangeable dates can lower fares on expensive European routes like London-Zurich to around $60 before taxes compared with $900 for a full-fare, fully flexible ticket on the same route.

The challenge from the low-cost rivals is obvious enough. In Germany alone, Lufthansa is competing against more than 10 low-cost carriers whose share of the domestic German market has risen to over 17 percent from virtually zero in 2002, according to industry figures. Indeed, low-cost airlines are forecast to carry some 80 million passengers in Europe this year, a big increase over the 47 million passengers flown last year, according to the European Low Fares Airline Association.

In response, Lufthansa has announced that it will increase capacity on European flights by 4 percent this winter and by 6 percent on the long-haul flights, where low-cost carriers do not generally compete.

The low-cost carriers' ascendancy could hardly have come at a worse time for full-service carriers, reeling from the global slowdown in the industry since 2000, compounded by the impact of Sept. 11. some airline executives argue that in contrast to carriers in the United States , the European airlines cannot shelter behind Chapter 11 protection from creditors, and thus are forced to solve their problems, merge or go under.

That shakeout has forced the disappearance of some airlines and their replacement by successors created in rescue packages. Among those still standing, Air France merged with KLM, the Dutch carrier, and there is talk of deals in the offing between British Airways and Iberia, the Spanish carrier.

Virgin Express, a Belgium-based discount airline owned by Sir Richard Branson, is in talks with SN Brussels Airlines, the successor to Sabena. Both are under pressure from Ryanair's operations at Charleroi in Belgium. And Alitalia, the beleaguered state-owned Italian carrier, which just last Friday announced a major overhaul aimed at staving off liquidation, has also spoken of partnerships with Air France and Lufthansa of Germany.

Lufthansa itself has reportedly been eyeing the successor to Swissair, Swiss International Airlines, known as Swiss. ''This is just speculation, and we don't comment on this issue,'' said Stefan Schaffrath, a Lufthansa spokesman.

Add rising fuel costs to the already roiling mix. Jet fuel traded at about $1.49 a gallon in northwest Europe last week, according to Jet Fuel Intelligence, up from about 83 cents a gallon at the beginning of the year.

There is one bright spot here, though. Unlike their American counterparts, European airlines have managed to pass along some of the rising fuel charges directly to consumers. British Airways, KLM and Lufthansa are among the airlines that have added several euros per flight segment to cover the cost of fuel.

Compared with American carriers, European airlines also more consistently use oil price hedging, the purchase of securities to lock in low fuel prices. But hedging varies widely from company to company, and few airlines seem to have predicted the prolonged high prices: Swiss, for example, sold its fuel hedges in March to raise money. Ryanair has hedged fuel prices only till the end of October. The company says that it can counteract any profit loss by cutting costs, a strategy that analysts expect other already lean airlines to follow.

''The issue is how much do fuel costs dent into the earnings recovery?'' said Nick van den Brul, an airline analyst for BNP Paribas in London. The rising price of fuel ''neutralizes the effect of cost-cutting,'' Mr. van den Brul said.

At the same time, both Ryanair and easyJet have said they will continue to cut prices even though that will eat into profit. Ultimately, Mr. O'Leary has forecast, the two giants of the low-cost business will compete on an ever greater number of routes to take market share from the smaller no-frills airlines and from the full-service airlines.

''What we have seen is a structural shift in revenue,'' said Chris Tarry, an independent airline analyst in London. ''People are not prepared to pay as much as they did to travel, so the challenge is to get costs out of the business.''

The cost pressures on the big airlines have already had an impact. In August, British Airways discovered that a combination of absenteeism and cost-saving staff reductions had left it short of personnel to operate check-in counters at Heathrow Airport outside London. In a chaotic week, around 100 flights were canceled and over 10,000 passengers were stranded, damaging the airline's image for reliability.

Some executives have suggested that the challenge from the low-cost airlines will be less severe than Mr. O'Leary predicts. Jean-Cyril Spinetta, the chairman of Air France, for instance, has said the low-cost carriers are limited to around 10 percent to 15 percent of the market because they do not fly long-haul routes.

Those routes are often made more lucrative by high business-class fares. Indeed, British Airways once based its strategy exclusively on winning high-ticket business travelers, a strategy it was forced to abandon by the low-cost carriers.
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Old October 6th, 2004, 12:14 PM   #442
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OCT 6, 2004
KL, S'pore hoping to boost air links
Both countries should look at enhancing air cooperation to boost tourism and business, say Premiers Lee and Abdullah

By Reme Ahmad

KUALA LUMPUR - Singapore and Malaysia yesterday raised hopes that more low-cost and other airlines could fly between the two capitals.

Both prime ministers, at the end of their meeting, said the neighbours should look at enhancing air ties as these could boost tourism and business traffic.

Visiting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that when he landed at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Monday evening, he saw many red and white 'tail colours' of no-frills carrier Air Asia.

'There would be other airlines, too, starting up.

'I think there is opportunity for the industry and for the two countries because the more linkages for the two countries, I think the greater the benefits for tourism, for business,' he said.

The KL-Singapore route is among the top 10 busiest in the region.

Said Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi: 'We will allow our airlines to talk to each other and find ways and means how they can also cooperate. We can promote both Singapore and Malaysia together.'

No details were given. But it was understood that Malaysia is keen to allow more low-cost carriers to ply the route between the two capitals now dominated by Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Malaysia Airlines (MAS).

Data from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines showed that from April 2002 to March 2003, the route was the fourth most popular between Asian cities, carrying 1.9 million passengers. Almost all of them flew SIA and MAS.

The most popular route is Hong Kong-Taipei, followed by Bangkok-Singapore and Seoul-Tokyo.

One big question left unanswered is why should SIA and MAS allow other airlines to elbow into the lucrative route that both have monopolised.

Meanwhile, the two premiers yesterday signed a new agreement to avoid double taxation and prevent avoidance of income tax payment.

The existing deal, signed in 1968 and amended by a supplementary agreement signed in 1973, has been in force for more than 30 years.

'Since then, economic circumstances and policies of the two countries have changed. The terms of the new agreement reflect these changes.

'The new agreement will also further strengthen the economic relations between the two countries,' said a statement issued by Singapore's Ministry of Finance.

Copyright @ 2004 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
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Old October 6th, 2004, 02:25 PM   #443
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^
More news on this topic.......

Business Times - 06 Oct 2004

Budget airlines could benefit from closer ties

By EDDIE TOH

GREATER cooperation in the skies could be one feature of the renewed pledge to enhance relations between Singapore and Malaysia, leaders of the two countries said yesterday.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in Malaysia as part of his introductory visit to Asean, said the two nations should expand existing ties and explore new opportunities in industries that are moving and changing.

Flanked by Malaysian Premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi at a joint news conference after the two leaders had met at Putrajaya, Mr Lee cited aviation as one area in which the two countries should work together.

'Last night I came in at Sepang. Many different tail colours, red and white. I said that's not MAS, that's AirAsia,' Mr Lee said.

Other airlines are starting up too, he said. 'These are opportunities for the industry, and also for the two countries because the more linkages between the two countries, I think the greater the benefits for tourism and business.

'These are areas we should work on to expand, new areas of cooperation between our two countries, and new areas of cooperation with third countries.'

Mr Abdullah also pledged to cooperate on the aviation front, as part of a wider agenda to help enhance bilateral and economic relations.

Mr Lee noted that major cross-border investments were already taking place. He cited Malaysia International Shipping Corporation's acquisition of American Eagle Tankers from Singapore's Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) and Malaysian conglomerate Sime Darby's purchase of a half-stake in Singapore's Island Power last year.

'We are very happy to have them coming,' he said. 'There is no need for anybody to look over their shoulders, because our government encourages it, and I believe the Malaysian government also encourages that. I'm very happy that such projects can proceed because it's to the benefit of both countries.'

Analysts said the pledges on aviation cooperation could be a boon for the region's growing budget airline business.

Existing players include AirAsia, which is controlled by Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes; Tiger, which is partly owned by Singapore Airlines and Temasek Holdings; Valuair, which is controlled by industry veteran Lim Chin Beng and Jetstar Asia, which is partly owned by Qantas Airways and Temasek.

No budget airline flies the Singapore-Malaysia sector yet because of regulatory hurdles, airline executives say. AirAsia, for instance, flies to Singapore via its Thai hub.

Executives also point out the KL-Singapore route - a highly profitable sector due to high traffic - is monopolised by MAS and SIA.

A Malaysian daily newspaper recently noted that the cheapest way to fly between KL and Singapore was via Bangkok, describing it as a 'nonsensical detour of 2,500 km'.

Copyright 2004 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.


OCT 7, 2004
S'pore-KL route may see cheaper tickets, more seats, shorter queues
Leaders of both governments looking at opening up protected skies; commuters hope for quick action on S'pore-KL route

By Karamjit Kaur

RELIEF may be in sight for those who fly between Singapore and Malaysia - whose constant bugbears are the high fares and limited seats - now that the two countries are talking of expanding and improving air links between them.

Reports that prime ministers Lee Hsien Loong and Abdullah Ahmad Badawi are keen to open up the routes to boost tourism and business traffic have left travellers interviewed hopeful, while airlines said they are only waiting for the two governments to say 'Go' to act.

The route that frequent commuters hope will receive immediate attention is the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur one - one of Asia's most protected and the fourth busiest - which had more than 1.9 million passengers between April 2002 and March last year, according to the latest figures from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines.

Ironically, the cheapest way to fly from Singapore to the Malaysian capital today is via Bangkok - a detour of 2,500km.

This is because budget airlines have pushed down the price of flights from Singapore to Bangkok. In one promotion, a one-way ticket to the Thai capital was going for 49 cents. From there, it can cost as little as $43 to get to KL.

Alternatively, flying budget carrier Tiger Airways to Bangkok and switching to no-frills AirAsia to KL would cost about $160 return, even without the promotional fares.

That is even cheaper than the Singapore-KL shuttle provided by Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Malaysia Airlines (MAS), which costs $189 return and for which travellers could have to queue for several hours at the airport for a seat.

The two carriers charge $304 for a confirmed round-trip ticket.

They have a virtual monopoly on the route as a result of a 32-year air services agreement between the two countries. This restricts competition on the route, leading to SIA and MAS operating eight out of 10 flights, or 154 out of the 184 flights a week.

Sri Lankan Airlines, Air India and Japan Airlines provide the remaining 30 flights.

In contrast, 12 airlines fly the Singapore-Bangkok route and 13 fly to Jakarta from Changi Airport.

It is the same story of limited seats and high fares from Singapore to Penang, East Malaysia and Langkawi, the only three other destinations in Malaysia with direct links to the Republic.

Businessman Rosli Buang, 45, who has a furniture business and travels in the region frequently, echoed others when he said: 'With so much travel and business between the two countries, more routes should be opened up to more airlines, so that travellers can benefit.'

Tiger Airways' chief executive officer Patrick Gan is all for this, saying: 'The fact that both leaders agree that air links should be greater is a very positive step.

'Malaysia has many attractive destinations for budget travellers and we look forward to the opportunity to fly there. In the end, it is the passenger who wins.'

Valuair's chief executive officer Sim Kay Wee said: 'Should air rights between the two countries become available, cities such as KL, Penang and those in East Malaysia would certainly appeal to us.'

On whether it would welcome competition on the Singapore-Malaysia route, a spokesman for SIA would only say: 'SIA is a competitive airline and is always ready for competition.'

Copyright @ 2004 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.

Last edited by babystan03; October 7th, 2004 at 11:33 AM.
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Old October 7th, 2004, 11:40 AM   #444
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October 07, 2004

All budget travellers want is a good bargain

By Chua Kong Ho

YOU know it's getting a bit silly when journalists from big international news networks ask shareholders what their fuel-hedging strategy is for a proposed airline that will take at least several more months to start operations.

But the confirmation that this whole low-cost carrier business is taking on the vestiges of a bubble - remember dot.com? - is when the consultants start getting their claws in and issue growth predictions.

Both happened in the last few weeks.

Some other notable developments: Tiger Airways joined Thai AirAsia and Valuair as the third low-cost carrier to fly to and from Singapore.

Qantas Airways also unveiled its 49 per cent-owned low-cost carrier, Jetstar Asia, to the media. Jetstar Asia expects to receive its air operator's certificate next month and start operations in December.

With so many airlines competing for the wallets of consumers, which is the fairest of them all? Which offers the best value for money? Which has the best service? The best in-flight food? The friendliest flight attendants?

Truth be told, does anything besides price matter? After all, low-cost carriers are making inroads into a "commoditised" market for short-haul travel.

Aiding their foray is the fact that air travel is no longer seen as a luxury only few can afford and is lumped together with bus rides and MRT trips, albeit over a longer distance.

If consumers care only about price, then it's good news for Tiger Air and AirAsia, which have made it clear that their focus is on offering the lowest fares.

But this may not be as favourable to Valuair, which is branding itself as a more comfortable ride compared to the no-frills carriers.

Valuair has been trying to put some distance between itself and no-frills carriers as it plumps its "some frills" concept.

Valuair's marketing campaign now focuses on promoting its leg space, extra luggage allowance and free meals, but not price.

Will this work? Singaporeans brought Tiger's website down with 5.5 million hits on the first day. The thing that did the trick was its $1 flights to Thailand.

And while competing airlines can whinge about multi-tier fare structures not being transparent, the fact is that there are customers who do get these low fares, which they then tell their friends about and this subsequently generates more excitement about bargains.

Valuair and others who offer a different proposition have to work hard to overcome the advantage of those airlines which focus on dirt cheap prices.

Of course, other factors such as departure and arrival times are also important as the low-cost carriers battle it out.

Nobody wants to end up in Bangkok's Don Muang Airport at 12am, especially since the nightspots now all close at 1am.

Or for that matter touching down in Changi Airport and having to shell out a $3 airport charge and 50 per cent more for the midnight surcharge for a taxi ride into the city.

But in this subset of the aviation arena where the low-cost carriers are competing, going by the responses to the deals offered to the public so far, low price appears to be the overriding attraction.

Copyright Singapore Press Holdings, 2004. All rights reserved.
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Old October 7th, 2004, 09:26 PM   #445
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monkey
Rolling 12 month passenger totals to August 2004:
EasyJet = 23,879,509
Ryanair = 25,452,041

Percentage increase in passengers since August 2003:
EasyJet = 19%
Ryanair = 20%

Load factor (ie percentage bums on seats) in August 2004:
EasyJet = 84.4%
Ryanair = 92%
Rolling 12 month passenger totals to September 2004:
EasyJet = 24,343,649
Ryanair = 25,758,285

Percentage increase in passengers since September 2003:
EasyJet = 25%
Ryanair = 17%

Load factor (ie percentage bums on seats) in September 2004:
EasyJet = 86.9%
Ryanair = 87%
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Old October 7th, 2004, 10:56 PM   #446
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That news on the KL-Singapore sector is definitely the thing to watch now. Ironic that the two markets, one a pioneer of Asian LCC aviation, and the other one of the most fledging one, still cant even fly a single LCC flight to each other's markets despite being neighbours!
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Old October 8th, 2004, 12:39 AM   #447
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huaiwei
That news on the KL-Singapore sector is definitely the thing to watch now. Ironic that the two markets, one a pioneer of Asian LCC aviation, and the other one of the most fledging one, still cant even fly a single LCC flight to each other's markets despite being neighbours!
Hopefully the leaders of the two countries now will put things right..........

But then Airasia's boss will still whine about the cost of changi.......
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Old October 8th, 2004, 12:28 PM   #448
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This story was printed from TODAYonline

Budget airlines

Friday October 8, 2004

As the number of budget airlines in Singapore and the region continues to grow, travellers could be forgiven for not being able to tell one low-cost carrier from the other. With this is mind, Valuair answers some frequently-asked questions about budget carriers and how it distinguishes itself from its rivals.

What is a budget airline? How different is it from a regular carrier?

Full-service carriers (FSCs) provide all the frills and are for people who want the "champagne and caviar" style of service. Budget airlines are low-cost carriers (LCCs) which offer no-frills service and target budget travellers. Valuair hopes to set itself apart from other budget airlines by providing a comfortable journey at affordable prices.

Do budget airlines assign seating, serve meals, provide in-flight service and in-flight entertainment?

Budget airlines usually do not assign seating or serve meals. Passengers have to bring their own food or pay for food and drinks during the flight. In-flight service and entertainment are kept to a minimum. Valuair's aircraft feature leather seats with 32-inch pitch (like those of full-service airlines), assigned seating, light meals with tea and coffee, 20kg baggage allowance and a transparent fare structure.

Within the budget airline industry, there are differences in positioning. What are these differences? Why is there a need for them?

Even for budget airlines, there are different segments of travellers. Those which provide the no-frills service are suited for the low-end market such as backpackers.

However, Valuair sees itself as a "mid-frills" budget airline which targets travellers who do not mind paying a little more for comfort and some frills.

These could be leisure travellers, families with kids or Small- and Medium Enterprise (SME) businesspeople who do not want to pay for "champagne and caviar" but still wish to arrive at their destinations in good form for meetings.

Valuair sells its tickets by categories that is the same fare is pegged to all 162 seats on the aircraft.

What is the future of budget airlines, especially in Asia?

Budget airlines are here to stay. Asia is made up of countries within a five-hour flying radius so there is great potential for growth.

If you look at the population of Asia and compare it with those of Europe and the United States (where there are many more players), it is clear that the market has the capacity to support more players.

However, for an Asian LCC to grow, it must operate on longer international routes unless it operates in China or India, which have huge domestic markets. Asian LCCs, therefore, have to compete with full-scale carriers instead of surface transport.

Eliminating service and comfort on a flight that could last up to four or five hours may not work.

This article was contributed by Valuair.

Copyright MediaCorp Press Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 05:56 PM   #449
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Go Eire,Ryanair is a nice and succesful airline!!!
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Old October 8th, 2004, 07:27 PM   #450
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The New Paper - 09 Oct 2004

Budget airlines - low fares, low impact

By Alvin Chiang
[email protected]

SURE you can buy an air ticket to Phuket for less than the bus fare to Orchard Road.

But if AirAsia's 29-cent one-way tickets to Phuket are a dream come true for bargain-loving Singaporeans, why isn't everyone jumping at the offer?

Surprisingly, the budget airlines' low, low fares haven't sent tourism soaring in Singapore and Thailand.

True, there was such a rush for Tiger Airways' $1 one-way tickets to Bangkok, Phuket and Hat Yai that the airline's website crashed on Aug 31.

But figures from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) showed no dramatic increase in passengers bound for Thailand.

In fact, when AirAsia started flying from here to Bangkok in February, the number of people going to Thailand from Singapore on all flights took a dip.

That month, 100,988 travellers departed for Thailand, a 17.4 per cent decrease compared to January.

That could be due to the bird flu crisis.

But the three budget airlines - AirAsia, Valuair and Tiger Airways - flying between the two countries have not boosted travel since then.

Mr Robert Khoo, CEO of the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (Natas) said: 'We would have liked to see the budget carriers attracting 'new' travellers (from Singapore).

'Instead (budget carriers) have taken traffic from other carriers as well as from other destinations.

'This isn't good for the industry.'

Bargain hunters are simply switching to budget carriers from traditional carriers like Singapore Airlines.

AirAsia's 29-cent tickets, which had to be bought by Sep 30, are valid from Nov 5 - when the flight to Phuket starts - till Mar 26.

AirAsia's publicity and promotions senior executive Jeamie Lee said a third flight will be 'added shortly' to the Singapore-Bangkok route.

Ms Lee said: '(The fact we're adding a third daily flight) speaks volumes, as we are already competing against some 15 other airlines (on the same route).'

AirAsia started with a daily flight to Bangkok in February but began flying twice a day within a month.

Ms Lee said about 85,000 people had so far flown on AirAsia to Bangkok from Singapore. On average, each flight was 90 per cent full.

BIG AIRLINES NOT SUFFERING

But traditional carriers are not down and out.

Many Singaporeans still prefer them, said three hotels in Bangkok.

Novotel Siam said about half of its hotel guests from Singapore arrived on SIA flights.

Its spokesman said Singaporeans make up about 80 per cent of all guests.

Traditional carriers like Cathay Pacific and Thai Airways are also popular with its guests.

Indra Regent Hotel said budget carriers are 'not popular' among its guests, while Four Seasons Hotel said most of its guests are businessmen or corporate clients who don't travel on budget airlines.

Novotel Siam added many Singaporeans travel to Bangkok on tour packages booked through travel agents.

These travel agents still rely heavily on traditional carriers, said Novotel Siam's spokesman.

Mr Khoo agreed.

He said: '(Travel) agents prefer to work with premium carriers as their seats and fares are confirmed well in advance.'

A SilkAir spokesman said most of the people who bought its $88 promotional return tickets to Phuket were 'based in Singapore'.

SilkAir, the regional arm of SIA, offered the cheap rates early last month after the launch of Tiger Airways' flights to Phuket.

Only 900 seats were available at this rate and passengers must travel by the end of October.

The airline did not disclose the number of tickets sold but said 'sales have always been encouraging on this (Singapore-Phuket) route'.

Normally, Silkair charges about $300 for a return flight to Phuket.

SilkAir will continue to provide services like complimentary hot meals and inflight entertainment to keep abreast of the competition, its spokesman said.

There is little doubt travellers are the biggest winners with the competition introduced by budget airlines.

Building quantity surveyor Koon Tak Hong, 24, said: 'It's because of the budget airlines' cheap fares that I'm now planning to go for two to three holidays a year.

'I flew to Kuala Lumpur on AirAsia last December.

'I would not have gone if the air tickets were not so cheap.'

TRAFFIC FROM BANGKOK

While budget airlines may not have increased the number of Singaporeans going to Thailand, has it attracted more Thais to Singapore?

Mr Khoo does not think so.

He said: 'The Thais themselves are already travelling much more now because of growing affluence.

'Whether budget carriers will further escalate this growth is yet to be seen.'

A one-way flight from Phuket to Singapore costs about $37.50 on AirAsia.

AirAsia charges at least $55 one-way from Bangkok to Singapore.

Price cuts in Thailand too

LIKE the return budget flights between Singapore and Thailand, the price cuts work both ways too.

To compete with Tiger Airways, AirAsia introduced an 11-baht ($0.49) one-way fare from Bangkok to Singapore.

This was the same price as the promotional one-way ticket from Singapore to Bangkok.

AirAsia's non-promotional fares from Bangkok to Singapore start from $19.99.

The price war started after Tiger Airways introduced $1 flights to Thailand.

Like Singaporeans going to Thailand, Thais can buy $1 one-way tickets to visit Singapore. The promotion lasted a week from Sep 15.

Non-promotional fares by Tiger Airways to Bangkok, Phuket and Hat Yai cost between $40 to $140.

But we can only wait and see if the price cuts have increased travel both ways as CAAS would only have the travel figures for September later this month.

Copyright 2004 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old October 9th, 2004, 12:58 AM   #451
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Ryanair plans to triple its Boeing 737-800 fleet over 5-10 yrs
7 October 2004
AFX International Focus

PARIS (AFX) - Ryanair Holdings PLC chief executive Michael O'Leary said the low-cost airline plans to treble the size of its fleet of Boeing Co 737-800 aircraft over the next 5-10 years.

'Over the next 5-10 years we will double and treble the size of our fleet of 737-800s. We will only compete in those markets where we can fill 737-800s and the smaller markets we will leave to somebody else, and the bigger markets we will leave to somebody else,' he said at a news conference.

O'Leary said he 'welcomes' the subsidies row between Airbus Industrie and Boeing Co, after the US decided to file a formal case with the World Trade Organization alleging that the EU gives billions of dollars in unfair state aid to the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co NV unit.

'The more they're fighting the more they're competing against each other. The more there's competition between Airbus and Boeing, the better it is for airlines and the better for passengers,' he said.

Last year more than 10 pct of Ryanair's total costs went towards air traffic control, he said.

'It's an enormous figure. The equivalent number in the US is zero, they don't pay for the service in the US,' he said.

He also said Ryanair does not plan to take advantage of future privatisations of French regional airports by making direct investments.

Asked whether Ryanair would invest in regional airports he said: 'If they needed financial help we would be quite happy to talk to them about that. But we are not investors in airports.'

'Would we buy an airport or invest in an airport? No, we'd expect the local authority or local region to develop the airports. We will happily put in the aircraft, the flights, the fares and the jobs,' he added.

Privatising regional airports is a 'natural progression' he said, adding the 'future of airports lies not in public but in private ownership.'

The French government has said it plans to privatise around 10 regional airports which have annual traffic over over 1 mln passengers.

The government also plans to change Aeroports de Paris, the state-owned Paris airports operator, into a private company, paving the way for a sale of the company's stock to private investors in 2005.

Ryanair is in talks with Marseille airport about establishing routes to and from the airport, he said.

'Marseille is investing their own money into developing the low-cost facility and we're talking to them about developing routes to and from that facility,' he said.

O'Leary said the company has no plans to repay the 4 mln eur for the use of publicly-owned Charleroi airport south of Brussels that the European Commission later declared to be illegal.

'We don't receive any subsidies for Charleroi... the decision of the EU is wrong, but we believe it will be overturned on appeal later this year,' he said.

'Will we give back the money? No. We will be writing back to the (European) Commission some time in the next three or four weeks explaining why we have no money to give them back,' he said.

Ryanair would be 'delighted' if the case were fought in the Irish courts, he added.

O'Leary said he is confident the merger between Belgian airline SN Brussels Airlines and Virgin Express will have 'no impact' on Ryanair's business.

'If two higher fare airlines marry in a market where we are already the lowest fare airline by some considerable distance, it won't have any impact on our business,' he said.

He reiterated Ryanair will not follow its rivals' lead by slapping fuel surcharges on passengers due to rising fuel prices.

'We have a much lower cost base than other airlines... We are simply going to absorb the increase in fuel prices and make less profits this year if that's what we have to do but we won't have fuel surcharges,' he said.
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Old October 9th, 2004, 11:11 AM   #452
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nephasto
Ryanair is going to fly 2 daily flights to Porto(from Stanstead), from January 2005!!!
Cool! I shall be booking!!
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Old October 9th, 2004, 01:22 PM   #453
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Budget Airlines in Singapore Changi Airport......

Valuair


Tiger Airways
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Old October 10th, 2004, 08:11 PM   #454
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Ireland rulz!!
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Old October 11th, 2004, 09:34 PM   #455
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Cool!!! You manage to catch them all in one day??
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Old October 12th, 2004, 12:27 AM   #456
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I don't believe in Valuair's offering. The fact that prices on all seats are the same could be an attraction to cost cutting business passengers who need to book at the last moment but it's a gamble. I think they have strayed too far from the budget model with their meals and entertainment. They are also wrong to claim that they are pioneering the LCA model in international markets. The US budget sector is primarily domestic but Europe's is extremely international. Have they seen how many small countries there are in Europe? Ryanair fly to 17 different countries and EasyJet to 18!! Tiger and AirAsia look like the players to watch. I flew AirAsia myself between Bangkok and Singapore a few weeks ago when I found the quoted price to be cheaper than Valuair's. I don't know how much leisure travel there is in Asia but I would guess that there's a lot of potential in ferrying people to and from Thailand from the surrounding region. Thailand is the most popular tourist destination. Flights won't just go to Bangkok but to Phuket, Pattaya, Krabi and Chiang Mai too. Flights to Siem Reap near the Angkor Temples could be another target as well as destinations in Vietnam such as Haiphong (gateway to Ha-Long-Bay), Saigon, Hue, Nha Trang, and Hanoi. The Philippines could also attract tourist traffic as well as Filipinos moving around to and from work elsewhere in Asia. ASEAN should take the lead in deregulating and forcing a single competitive airspace. Traditional carriers such as Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific should focus on long haul. They will lose the short-haul market. At least British Airways can still feed from Europe into its Heathrow hub because the budget carriers operate out of the other London airports which are too far from Heathrow to provide time-efficient connections. If budget airlines share the same airports as their full-fare brethren then the expensive airlines have no chance of competing. They can offer headline grabbing discounts but only on a few seats. They cannot maintain their higher service levels and compete on cost. Passengers will simply surf through several sites and book the cheapest fare they can find. The full fare airlines can only afford to offer competitive fares on the first handful of seats. Everyone booking after they have been snapped up will find that only the genuine budget carriers, with their pared down cost structure, can consistently offer lower fares.
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Old October 12th, 2004, 12:58 AM   #457
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huaiwei
Cool!!! You manage to catch them all in one day??
Yup.......I was hoping that I could catch all four in December when I have the time.......
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Old October 14th, 2004, 06:59 AM   #458
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monkey
I don't believe in Valuair's offering. The fact that prices on all seats are the same could be an attraction to cost cutting business passengers who need to book at the last moment but it's a gamble. I think they have strayed too far from the budget model with their meals and entertainment. They are also wrong to claim that they are pioneering the LCA model in international markets. The US budget sector is primarily domestic but Europe's is extremely international. Have they seen how many small countries there are in Europe? Ryanair fly to 17 different countries and EasyJet to 18!! Tiger and AirAsia look like the players to watch. I flew AirAsia myself between Bangkok and Singapore a few weeks ago when I found the quoted price to be cheaper than Valuair's. I don't know how much leisure travel there is in Asia but I would guess that there's a lot of potential in ferrying people to and from Thailand from the surrounding region. Thailand is the most popular tourist destination. Flights won't just go to Bangkok but to Phuket, Pattaya, Krabi and Chiang Mai too. Flights to Siem Reap near the Angkor Temples could be another target as well as destinations in Vietnam such as Haiphong (gateway to Ha-Long-Bay), Saigon, Hue, Nha Trang, and Hanoi. The Philippines could also attract tourist traffic as well as Filipinos moving around to and from work elsewhere in Asia. ASEAN should take the lead in deregulating and forcing a single competitive airspace. Traditional carriers such as Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific should focus on long haul. They will lose the short-haul market. At least British Airways can still feed from Europe into its Heathrow hub because the budget carriers operate out of the other London airports which are too far from Heathrow to provide time-efficient connections. If budget airlines share the same airports as their full-fare brethren then the expensive airlines have no chance of competing. They can offer headline grabbing discounts but only on a few seats. They cannot maintain their higher service levels and compete on cost. Passengers will simply surf through several sites and book the cheapest fare they can find. The full fare airlines can only afford to offer competitive fares on the first handful of seats. Everyone booking after they have been snapped up will find that only the genuine budget carriers, with their pared down cost structure, can consistently offer lower fares.
Interesting.....but dismantling the aviation pacts between Southeast Asian countries seems to be as much a huddle, since there are 11 governments to come to an agreement, compared to just one in order to enter the huge Chinese market, for example?

While we are flying to Bangkok on the cheap, it still costs about 4 times or more just to get to Kuala Lumper which is 3-4 hours away by car!

Anyway, valueair, as you say, actually does have its benefits, especially when fixing a travelling date is a problem, and for the confused lot who have no idea how fluctuating pricing works, or simply prefer to have a fixed budget to plan their travels without worrying of unexpected hikes. And given that valueair seems to be the only one expressing interest in flying further afield, including Australia, China and India, while Tiger Airways, for example, wants to remain in the Southeast Asian market, might actually proof to be a win-win situation for all?
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Old October 14th, 2004, 10:10 AM   #459
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huaiwei
Interesting.....but dismantling the aviation pacts between Southeast Asian countries seems to be as much a huddle, since there are 11 governments to come to an agreement, compared to just one in order to enter the huge Chinese market, for example?

While we are flying to Bangkok on the cheap, it still costs about 4 times or more just to get to Kuala Lumper which is 3-4 hours away by car!

Anyway, valueair, as you say, actually does have its benefits, especially when fixing a travelling date is a problem, and for the confused lot who have no idea how fluctuating pricing works, or simply prefer to have a fixed budget to plan their travels without worrying of unexpected hikes. And given that valueair seems to be the only one expressing interest in flying further afield, including Australia, China and India, while Tiger Airways, for example, wants to remain in the Southeast Asian market, might actually proof to be a win-win situation for all?
Got 4 times more expensive mair?? Sg-KL is S$304 while Sg-bangkok is roughly S$150 by tiger.......or are you comparing the S$1 dollar tickets??
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Old October 15th, 2004, 01:43 AM   #460
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I just booked EasyJet return flights to Budapest for 35.98 (~52) including taxes. That's a good price given that it's reading week/half term at universities and colleges:


Tuesday 15 February, flight 2581
departs London Luton at 06:40, arrives Budapest (terminal 2B) at 10:10

Friday 18 February, flight 2588
departs Budapest (terminal 2B) at 20:55, arrives London Luton at 22:25
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