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Old February 8th, 2005, 05:58 PM   #741
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huaiwei
Muahaah....arent the airlines concerned about transport issues?
they could pull an Asiana and tie-up with a small turboprop domestic airline as a feeder...

or, they could put their passengers on a busride to manila that's probably longer than their flight.

either solution is rather far-fetched. Maybe tiger airways is hoping that the small towns around clark would send lots of maids or tourists to singapore.

and as for AirAsia, I think its high time that they actually do something and sue instead of always complaining about Singapore But I seriously wonder what would happen if all AirAsia affiliates gain access to Singapore. I'm already drooling at the possibility of extended price wars...
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Old February 8th, 2005, 07:05 PM   #742
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solblanc
they could pull an Asiana and tie-up with a small turboprop domestic airline as a feeder...

or, they could put their passengers on a busride to manila that's probably longer than their flight.

either solution is rather far-fetched. Maybe tiger airways is hoping that the small towns around clark would send lots of maids or tourists to singapore.

and as for AirAsia, I think its high time that they actually do something and sue instead of always complaining about Singapore But I seriously wonder what would happen if all AirAsia affiliates gain access to Singapore. I'm already drooling at the possibility of extended price wars...
Clark does sound very far from your above statements! But seems like they arent the only one making that demand? I seriously duno whats gonna happen...

As for AirAsia, haha...I wished it will fly here too. They cant really fly between Malaysia and Singapore thou, since there arent any more rights left, so that leaves us only with Thailand, Indonesia, and the rest. The Singapore-Jakarta and Singapore-Bangkok pairs are both quite saturated by now, I would think!
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Old February 9th, 2005, 11:47 AM   #743
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huaiwei
Clark does sound very far from your above statements! But seems like they arent the only one making that demand? I seriously duno whats gonna happen...

As for AirAsia, haha...I wished it will fly here too. They cant really fly between Malaysia and Singapore thou, since there arent any more rights left, so that leaves us only with Thailand, Indonesia, and the rest. The Singapore-Jakarta and Singapore-Bangkok pairs are both quite saturated by now, I would think!
I wouldn't be surprised if they wanted to fly in 2007-8, since by then, the clark terminal would have been upgraded (they're adding gates, the nice ones, as well as painted boxes on the tarmacs that you walk to), the expressway link would've been completed, and a commuter train would've taken you from the clark airport to Makati. That's an ideal budget airport. But all that stuff is still under construction, and Tiger seems to be willing to fly there in a matter of weeks. Why? The only feasible thing that I can think of is that they're going to attempt to market the central Luzon area as a tourist spot. After all, the hundred islands are nearby.

Btw, isn't it possible for you to just take a cab to Johor Bahru if you really want to take AirAsia?
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Old February 9th, 2005, 01:44 PM   #744
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solblanc
I wouldn't be surprised if they wanted to fly in 2007-8, since by then, the clark terminal would have been upgraded (they're adding gates, the nice ones, as well as painted boxes on the tarmacs that you walk to), the expressway link would've been completed, and a commuter train would've taken you from the clark airport to Makati. That's an ideal budget airport. But all that stuff is still under construction, and Tiger seems to be willing to fly there in a matter of weeks. Why? The only feasible thing that I can think of is that they're going to attempt to market the central Luzon area as a tourist spot. After all, the hundred islands are nearby.

Btw, isn't it possible for you to just take a cab to Johor Bahru if you really want to take AirAsia?
You could.

You could also take a bus from Singapore to a bus terminal in Johor Bahru, then transfer onto another bus that will take you direct to Senai Airport.

But unless I really want to fly AirAsia, I would rather just take a full service carrier (expensive) to Kuala Lumpur from Singapore Changi Airport or just take a coach (cheap and comfortable) from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur.
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Old February 10th, 2005, 05:35 AM   #745
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easyJet Adds Two New Routes, Daily Services
9 February 2005

LONDON (Dow Jones)--easyJet said Wednesday that it would be expanding its operations from both London Luton and London Stansted Airports with the addition of two new routes.

The daily service from Stansted to Oviedo Airport in Asturias will commence on Mar. 24, whilst the daily service from Luton to Grenoble will commence on Apr. 20.

Chief Executive Ray Webster said the new routes "will further diversify our choice of destinations from our bases at Luton and Stansted."

"By maximising our operational opportunities, we can introduce the completely new destination of Asturias to our network, as well as provide our Luton passengers with access to the Rhone-Alps region," he added.

easyjet said the new routes have been made possible by the transfer of the current daily Grenoble service from Stansted to Luton, allowing space in the schedule for the new Asturias service.

Stansted passengers can still access the Rhone-Alps regions with the twice daily Lyon service, whilst Luton passengers now have a new exciting destination to choose from. The Stansted to Grenoble service will end on Apr. 19 and begin at Luton on Apr. 20.
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Old February 11th, 2005, 12:33 AM   #746
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Ryanair offers "free" tickets for SAS loss
10 February 2005
Airline Industry Information

Irish budget airline Ryanair has said that it wants to give away 10,000 "free" tickets for every SEK100m that the Scandinavian airline SAS reports in loss.

According to Ryanair, this would be a "tax return" for the Scandinavian tax payers. SAS was expected to report its results today (10 February). Lotta Lindquist-Brosjo, Ryanair's Nordic director, has told boarding.no that the offer has a basis at least in the fact that SAS is a state-owned airline and one of Ryanair's main competitors in the Nordic region.

The tickets offered by Ryanair will however not be completely free - the travellers will have to pay taxes and fees and the tickets will only be valid for travel on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
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Old February 11th, 2005, 03:55 PM   #747
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Feb 8, 2005
NEWS ANALYSIS
Protectionist? No, air-hub status at stake

By Karamjit Kaur
Transport Correspondent


AIRASIA chief Tony Fernandes rarely disappoints in stirring controversy and last week, the budget carrier maverick did it again when he accused Singapore of being protectionist.

Obviously feeling slighted that his Indonesian affiliate Awair - AirAsia has a 49 per cent stake - had to call off its inaugural Jakarta-Singapore flight at the last minute, he lashed out in an interview with The Financial Times.

'Singapore's only open when it wants to be open. It's clearly protecting its own low-fare airlines - Tiger Airways and Jetstar Asia - and I think that they'll lose in the long run.'

Mr Fernandes is convinced the Singapore authorities have some hidden agenda in keeping him out, given what he had gone through once before. Last year, he gave up on setting up an airline here and also did not succeed in arranging for a bus service to ferry his AirAsia passengers between Singapore and Senai airport in Johor.

The truth, however, is more prosaic.

If the agenda was to keep him out, then why allow his affiliate Thai AirAsia landing rights here?

Once past the rhetoric, it's clear that Mr Fernandes can hardly substantiate his point.

Few can ignore that Singapore has long championed a liberal aviation policy, even at the expense of its flag carrier, Singapore Airlines.

The facts are clear.

Singapore has open skies deals - which remove all restrictions for carriers flying between and beyond signatory countries - with the United States, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Brunei, Chile, Peru, the United Arab Emirates and Sri Lanka. More are to come.

Leading the agenda now is open skies with Australia and within the 10-member Asean grouping.

Getting more airlines to fly here and existing carriers to operate more flights are critical to boosting Changi Airport's air-hub status.

So, contrary to what Mr Fernandez is saying, Singapore's fight is not with the likes of AirAsia or its affiliates. Its sights are set on far bigger rivals, such as the airports in regional cities like Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur and beyond, Dubai.

The hub status is so prized that $45 million is being spent on a new terminal for budget airlines. Never mind that only one airline - Tiger Airways - so far has declared its interest.

The die is cast. In January last year, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, who was then Senior Minister, made clear that when push comes to shove, the Government will sacrifice its stake in Singapore Airlines to keep Singapore's air-hub status.

He said: 'My job is to see that Singapore's position as an air hub is not lost.'

Singapore's single-minded pursuit of this strategy is partly why Transport Minister Yeo Cheow Tong will arrive in Australia this week at a slight disadvantage. The hope is he will bag the big prize: open skies to give SIA access to the lucrative but controlled transpacific Australia-US route it has sought for almost a decade.

Why the lack of success so far? The problem is, Singapore has little to offer Australian carriers in return for the Australia-US route, having dished out so many rights to Qantas over the years.

Mr Yeo concedes there is a trade-off to being liberal because eventually, it weakens the Government's bargaining position.

Of the 45 flights Qantas now operates to Changi Airport in a week, 24 or 53 per cent go on to Europe. In contrast, all of SIA's 80 flights a week to Australia stop there.

It makes Mr Yeo's impending task in Canberra an uphill one because an air deal is, after all, about give and take.

Still, he is uncompromising: 'We want Singapore to be an air hub so we want as many flights to come to Singapore as possible.

'Should we hold that air-hub objective ransom for a few additional flights? I say if we can get them (the extra flights), well and good. If not, let's proceed with the air hub first and the rest will follow eventually.'

Does that sound 'protectionist'?

It's obvious that the Awair delay frustrates Mr Fernandes, who is in a rush, having started two new airlines - Thai AirAsia and Awair - in less than a year.

But part of Changi's reputation comes from its sterling safety record. There can be no room for cutting corners when it comes to making sure that a new airline makes the grade, especially one that managed to submit all the necessary documents only on the eve of its inaugural flight.

If being stringent is to be 'protectionist', then the Singapore authorities are guilty as charged. But if they are protecting the travelling public's interests by doing so, then we would not want it any other way.
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Old February 11th, 2005, 04:07 PM   #748
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ignoramus
You could.

You could also take a bus from Singapore to a bus terminal in Johor Bahru, then transfer onto another bus that will take you direct to Senai Airport.

But unless I really want to fly AirAsia, I would rather just take a full service carrier (expensive) to Kuala Lumpur from Singapore Changi Airport or just take a coach (cheap and comfortable) from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur.
Yeah.....I would take a comfy coach direct from Singapore to KL.......taking the Airasia route feels really troublesome and not very cheap it seems.......

the direct coach cost between S$23-S$70, almost a bus every hour,go direct to KL city, take about 5 hours.......

Airasia route: bus from Singapore to JB S$2.40, JB to Senai RM2, Airasia Ticket RM70(on average), KL express RM35 to get to KL city.; so add up to about S$50, 2 flights a day, one in the morning and one at night, take about 4.5hours......
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Old February 15th, 2005, 09:32 PM   #749
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Brussels Charerloi Airport Gets OK For New Terminal
Feb. 15, 2005

BRUSSELS (Dow Jones)--Belgium's regional Charleroi airport, home to Irish airline Ryanair Holdings PLC, Tuesday said it has received the go-ahead to build a new passenger terminal.

Charleroi airport, owned by the regional government of Wallonia, said the approval was an important step in its development plans. Construction work will begin this year with a view to the terminal becoming operational in time for the peak summer season of 2007.

No financial details were released.

With an annual capacity of 3 million passengers the new building will provide a more comfortable environment for passengers and also offer airlines more modern facilities.

Charleroi airport plays an important role in Wallonia by providing jobs in a region depressed by the closure of steel mills and other industry.
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Old February 16th, 2005, 01:02 PM   #750
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Business Times - 16 Feb 2005

Star Cruises, Valuair offer fly-cruise deal

By VEN SREENIVASAN

(SINGAPORE) As expected, Malaysia's Star Cruises has tied up with Singapore's Valuair to launch Asia's first fly-cruise packages to Bangkok.

The package enables passengers to fly to Bangkok with Valuair, and cruise back to Singapore onboard the luxury vessel SuperStar Virgo. The cruise will also stop at Ko Samui, the popular Thai beach resort, on route to Singapore.

The package comes two months after Star Cruises, the world's third largest cruise operator with a fleet of 20 ships in service and under construction, announced it was investing in the Singapore discount carrier in December last year.

No numbers on the value of the investment was disclosed, but sources close to the two sides told BT that Star Cruises had injected up to US$15 million into the discount airline, making it the latter's single largest shareholder.

The Bangkok/Ko Samui fly-cruise package starts at $6,991 on a twin-share basis and includes three nights onboard SuperStar Virgo from Bangkok to Singapore, a one-way economy class ticket (SIN to BKK) by Valuair, two nights hotel accommodation with breakfast at Asia Hotel (Bangkok) and all airport/hotel/port transfers.

Star Cruises and Valuair have also launched fly-cruise packages for the Thai market with 6D5N and 4D3N holidays starting at 27,840 baht (S$1,194) and 20,405 baht respectively.

The packages, which start next month, include hotel stays in Singapore.

Star Cruises said that its latest packages would stimulate tourist traffic from Thailand, which is one of Singapore's top 10 markets in terms of tourist arrivals.

'Star Cruises and Valuair have worked very quickly to put together this unique fly-cruise package which offers great value for passengers who want a varied combination of activities for their holiday,' said Michael Goh, general manager (Singapore) of Star Cruises.

More than 130,000 in-bound tourists from markets as diverse as India, Australia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan and the UK visit Singapore each year for Star Cruises holidays. They account for about 40 per cent of Star Cruises passengers embarking in Singapore.

Copyright © 2004 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old February 16th, 2005, 09:25 PM   #751
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Ryanair Carries 3 Million at Liverpool
Corporate Press Release

Ryanair, Europe's No.1 low fares airline, today (16th Feb 2005) celebrated carrying 3M passengers through Liverpool airport by putting 30,000 FREE SEATS up for grabs on 5 new European routes that will be launched from Liverpool from March this year.

Ryanair's Head of Communications, Peter Sherrard, today at Liverpool John Lennon Airport said;

"Ryanair is delighted to carry 3M passengers and give away 30,000 free seats to celebrate. Our new European routes from March and will bring the total number of low fare Ryanair routes from Liverpool to 13.

Over the next year, Ryanair will carry up to 1.5M passengers through Liverpool's John Lennon airport. This new base will make Liverpool the low fare airport in the North of England and make it a tourism gateway for over 1 million European visitors to Merseyside over the next 12 months.
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Old February 18th, 2005, 04:23 PM   #752
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Business Times - 18 Feb 2005

Tiger may form KL venture to ply S'pore-M'sia route

By VEN SREENIVASAN

(SINGAPORE) Low cost carrier Tiger Airways is looking into setting up subsidiaries and joint ventures in regional countries where regulatory hurdles currently prevent it from flying there.

While not spelling out specifics, the Singapore Airlines associate's chief executive, Tony Davis, hinted that one market the airline was looking at was Malaysia.

Currently, the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur route is protected market served almost exclusively by SIA and Malaysia Airlines, which have about 180 flights a week. It is an open secret that low-cost carriers such as AirAsia, Valuair, Jetstar Asia and Tiger Airways would love to fly from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur and other destinations in Malaysia.

But having a locally incorporated joint venture would enable these carriers to sidestep the existing obstacles.

Indeed, recent Malaysian media reports have hinted that some Singapore-based carriers are looking at setting up a locally incorporated unit in Malaysia.

The Star newspaper recently reported that Tiger could tie up with Penerbangan Malaysia Bhd, a subsidiary of national investment vehicle Khazanah Nasional Bhd, to establish an operation in Kuala Lumpur.

Meanwhile, Malaysian tycoon Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, who controls Johor's under-utilised Senai Airport, was recently reported to be in talks with Singapore's Valuair over acquiring a stake in the discount carrier.

Some industry insiders reckon that Syed Mokhtar would find it easier 'doing a deal' with Tiger, whose shareholders include Temasek Holdings. Syed Mokhtar is said to be close to the Singapore investment firm.

On his part, Mr Davis said that it made strategic sense for LCCs to fly to cheaper secondary airports such as Senai. But he added that airline operators would also have to sell 'through fares' offering passengers from metropolitan catchment areas (such as Singapore) seamless road connectivity to these airports.

Tiger will be offering such through fares on its Singapore-Macau flights, which is due to start in May.

'With Hong Kong's Disneyland opening this autumn, we are looking at working with ferry and bus companies in Macau to offer through fares to Hong Kong, and also other road destinations in China,' he said. Passengers will buy these 'bundled' tickets, which include both air and onward transfer fares to Hong Kong and southern China destinations, via Tiger's website.

'There are many places in the region where access by road is cheaper and easier,' Mr Davis said. 'Our strategy would be to fly to cheaper secondary airports, but offer road and sea connectivity. We have to be creative and come up with news ways to operate and grow the business.'

Copyright © 2004 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old February 18th, 2005, 11:08 PM   #753
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Irish Labor Union Backs Ryanair Call For Dublin Terminal
18 February 2005

DUBLIN (Dow Jones)--Ireland's largest labor union Friday threw its support behind Ryanair Holdings PLC's calls for a second terminal at Dublin Airport.

Jack O'Connor, president of the Services, Industrial, Professional & Technical Union said the union "strongly favors" a second terminal.

He "rejected any suggestion" that there were conflicting views within SIPTU on the issue that could jeopardize plans for the new terminal.

No-frills airline Ryanair's chief executive officer Michael O'Leary has repeatedly called for a second terminal at Dublin Airport, promising 5,000 jobs if it's built.

Analysts now say it looks likely Ryanair will get its wish, with SIPTU's support and recent indications that the government is finally making progress on the issue.

Earlier this week, Ireland's transport minister Martin Cullen said he was working on a series of proposals to present to Prime Minister Bertie Ahern.

-By Quentin Fottrell, Dow Jones Newswires
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Old February 19th, 2005, 06:31 PM   #754
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State 'must own' second Dublin air terminal
Paul Melia
19 February 2005
Irish Independent

THE COUNTRY's largest trade union Siptu said yesterday a second terminal for Dublin Airport should be built and run by the public sector, not a private group.

General president Jack O'Connor said a second terminal owned by the Dublin Airport Authority was the union's preferred option. Only in the absence of this would the union support the McEvaddy brothers in building a terminal.

This support would only be offered if there was agreement that the McEvaddy project would not affect quality of jobs at the new terminal. The union's civil aviation branch said it had been in talks with the McEvaddy-led group on the possibility of a "substantial" employee shareholding in a private terminal. In a letter to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern released yesterday, Mr O'Connor said a second terminal formed a "key component" of aviation infrastructure. It noted that maintaining security and quality of employment was reflected in an agreement reached by the Government and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions during Sustaining Progress talks last summer.

Members were not confident that assurances on employment would be delivered, it warned. It was in these circumstances that the civil aviation branch at Dublin Airport engaged in exploratory discussions with Ulick McEvaddy and others with a view to developing a proposal, the letter continued.

"I also wish to advise that a company would be established to handle the airport workers' interest in any private project and the union would not be directly involved," the letter added. Adoption of the preferred option would contribute to stability of industrial relations, the letter concluded.
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Old February 20th, 2005, 02:20 AM   #755
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Appeal win for Ryanair in flight delay row
Ray Managh
19 February 2005
Irish Independent

A 74-YEAR-OLD woman and her three daughters stranded in fog at Liverpool's John Lennon Airport were told they would have to wait four days for their next Ryanair flight home to Dublin, a court heard yesterday.

Judge Alison Lindsay said in the Circuit Civil Court that while she had great sympathy for the shabby way in which the four women had been treated she was unable to compensate them.

She overturned a €281 award which Lorraine Byrne had won in the Small Claims Court for her mother and two sisters - the extra money the foursome had to pay Cityjet to fly them to Belfast where they got a bus to Dublin.

Ms Byrne, of The Court, Woodpark, Ballinteer, Dublin, said the family group had spent a wonderful four days in Liverpool.

But they had to collect their suitcases from the apron of the airport and spend the night in a very cold departures lounge without food or beverage until the Cityjet flight took off at 6am. Her mother, who suffered from arthritis, did not have enough medication left and they could in no way consider waiting around the airport for four days until the next Ryanair flight to Dublin.

She told Mr Peter Lennon, solicitor for Ryanair, that the airline refunded the group €120 in accordance with the terms and conditions of their flight contract. She said when she booked the tickets on the internet she was aware she accepted Ryanair's limitedliability.

Mr Lennon said the terms stated the airline did not provide meals or refreshments or hotel accommodation but refunded the value of the cancelled flight.

Siobhan O'Neill, deputy head of Ryanair's Customer Service Department, said Ms Byrne had a choice of accepting seats on the next available Ryanair flight out of Liverpool, which was not until the following Tuesday, or accepting a refund which Ryanair had paid.

Judge Lindsay, overturning the Small Claims Court award, said Ms Byrne had accepted Ryanair's terms and conditions of carriage and could not therefore expect to recover the extra expense of the Cityjet seats and the bus fares from Belfast to Dublin.

Air passengers gained sweeping rights under new EU rules introduced this week which oblige airlines to offer compensation for delays, cancellations and overbookings.

The European Commission has told the Government to set up an independent body to deal with passengers complaints against airlines.
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Old February 23rd, 2005, 08:35 AM   #756
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Ryanair concealed the true price of flights, court told
Brian Farmer
23 February 2005
Irish Independent

RYANAIR concealed the true price of flights - including some to Ireland - and misled travellers about the cost of flying with a rival, it was alleged yesterday.

The budget airline failed to clearly spell out how much insurance and tax charges added to the price of a seat, Chelmsford Crown Court was told. The company's internet advertising also exaggerated the cost of flying with rival firm Buzz, prosecutors alleged.

Trading Standards Officers from Essex Co Council, who are bringing the prosecution, alleged Ryanair's internet advertising breached consumer protection legislation.

The airline denies 18 charges of misleading customers on a website advertising flights from Stansted Airport in Essex to countries including Italy, Germany, France, Spain and the Republic of Ireland.

Trading Standards Officer, Amanda Farrell, told a jury of seven men and five women she began investigating the adverts in March 2003 after reading media reports about the likelihood of Ryanair taking over Buzz. Ms Farrell added that the Ryanair website quoted a number of Buzz fares.

And she added: "I did notice the Buzz fares which I had just seen (on the Buzz website) seemed to be lower than the fares I was reading on Ryanair."

She found a Buzz flight from Stansted to Frankfurt for £21. Ryanair claimed the flight cost £34. Ms Farrell said she found a Buzz flight to La Rochelle for £21. The Ryanair website claimed the flight cost £54. She found a Buzz flight to Toulouse, France for £29. Ryanair's website claimed the flight cost £42, she said.

Ms Farrell added that officials then broadened the inquiry and examined Ryanair's claims about its own flights. She detailed a number of advertised prices for Ryanair flights from Stansted then explained how the price was higher when additional costs were taken into account. She said the indication that the fare was "exclusive of taxes" was not given until later in the booking process.

The hearing continues.
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Old February 24th, 2005, 04:20 PM   #757
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Ryanair in $4bn Boeing plane deal
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4293531.stm

Budget airline Ryanair has placed an order for 70 Boeing 737-800 planes, in a deal valued at $4bn (£2.1bn) which should lead to 2,500 new Ryanair jobs.

It also has an option for a further 70 aircraft, a move which brings the Ryanair/Boeing order book up to 225 firm orders and options on 193 more.

Ryanair said the new planes would help it to cut operating costs further.

The carrier reported a drop in quarterly profit earlier this year after it was hit by higher fuel costs.

However, when it reported the results, the airline was upbeat about prospects for 2005, despite tough competition in the budget airline market.


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Ryanair chairman David Bonderman said that the 737-800 had "significantly reduced our unit operating costs and allowed us to reduce air fares each year for the last five years".

"With this new order and new pricing in place, Ryanair expects that unit operating costs (excluding fuel) will continue to fall each year for the next five years," he added.

At the end of this year, Ryanair will have taken delivery of about 100 new planes, while the 70 new orders are due for delivery between 2008 and 2012.

The airline said that when all these planes have been delivered, it will be able to carry more than 70 million passengers a year, making it Europe's largest airline. About 2,500 new jobs should be created in the next seven years, it added.

The order can be seen as good news for Boeing, which in recent years has been overtaken by European plane maker Airbus as the world's biggest-selling plane maker.
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Old February 24th, 2005, 07:57 PM   #758
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easyJet: Business Continues To Perform Solidly
24 February 2005
Dow Jones International News

LONDON (Dow Jones)--EasyJet said Thursday that to date the second quarter is performing positively and in line with expectations; part of the positive performance will be due to the timing of Easter.

Speaking at the annual meeting Chairman Colin Chandler said: "EasyJet's business continues to perform solidly. However, there are still challenges ahead and much remains to be achieved".

"Making predictions in this business is no easy task and, as with our competitors, visibility remains limited. We can safely say that competition will continue from low cost carriers and from the established airlines", Sir Colin said.

He added that volatility in the price of fuel is inevitable as well.

"These challenges are being met by constant attention to cost efficiencies by the management team and continued emphasis on increasing revenue from all sources available to the company."
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Old February 25th, 2005, 12:24 PM   #759
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Business Times - 25 Feb 2005

Budget carriers fight against overcapacity

By VEN SREENIVASAN

(SINGAPORE) When resources outpace routes, the result is costly overcapacity. This is the reality that some of Singapore's low-cost carriers are waking up to after a year of fast-paced growth.

Faced with delays in getting permission to fly to new routes, some have been chartering out aircraft, seconding their crew to other airlines and even mothballing planes.

Jetstar Asia is dropping at least one route (Pattaya) and chartering out planes and crew to other airlines, and is sending back two of its four aircraft to Australia-based Jetstar (though these were short-leased aircraft anyway).

Meanwhile, Jetstar's chief operating officer Con Korfiatis is headed back to parent Qantas soon. Replacing him is Qantas veteran Ken Ryan, who took over as CEO this week.

Mr Korfiatis' departure is not totally unexpected as he had always hinted he was on secondment and could return after getting Jetstar off the ground.

Nevertheless, the capacity challenges faced by Jetstar are not peculiar to the airline.

Singapore Airlines' no-frills associate Tiger Airways is suffering from plummeting traffic on its Hatyai route amid the troubles in Southern Thailand. But the budget carrier insisted it had no plans to pull out of any routes yet.

Besides Hatyai, Tiger also uses its four planes to fly to Bangkok, Phuket and most recently, Chiangmai, and will soon be starting flights to Macau, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

Meanwhile, discount carrier Valuair, which has three A320 planes, suspended a Bangkok flight yesterday. But Valuair officials insisted it was due to technical reasons. Besides Bangkok, Valuair also flies to Perth, Hong Kong and Jakarta, and recently unveiled fly-cruise packages to Thailand after Malaysian-owned Star Cruises became a shareholder.

Jetstar's operational 'restructuring' comes just weeks after Qantas suggested that its Singapore-based budget carrier could be struggling.

'It's not going as well as we'd hoped,' Qantas' chief financial officer Peter Gregg told reporters in Sydney last week.

The airline admitted that part of the problem lay in delays in getting operating permits to fly on new routes like Surabaya, Manila and Shanghai.

Having pulled out of Pattaya, the no-frills carrier is planning to start twice or thrice-daily flights to Bangkok. It also operates twice-daily flights to Hong Kong and daily flights to Taipei.

The capacity overhang problem for low cost carrier could get worse as they take delivery of more planes this year. Industry insiders say that the operators are coming face-to-face with a reality: regional governments remain reluctant to open their skies to competitors.

'This is not Europe, where low-cost operators can fly just about anywhere, anytime,' said one airline source. 'In this part of the world, national interests, which means national carriers, call the shots.'

In short, prediction about making a quick profit could prove to be too optimistic.

As if to underscore the point, AirAsia last week admitted it would not meet its profit forecast for the year ending June 2005.

Meanwile, faced with regulatory hurdles elsewhere, LCCs flying out of Singapore seem to be focusing on Thailand, especially Bangkok, to fill seats.

The route represents a safe fall-back option for budget carriers as the two countries have a free skies agreement.

'Bangkok is still a prime destination and any serious low cost carrier has to be on this route,' said Shukor Yusof, aviation analyst at Standard & Poor's MarketScope.

But the two-hour route is already one of the most crowded in Asia, with 13 airlines providing 90,000 seats a week via a total of 393 weekly flights. Besides the established players like Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways, it is also served by low cost competitors Tiger Airways (28 flights a day), Valuair (14 flights a week), and Thai Air Asia (24 flights a week). Then there are 5th freedom operators like Cathay Pacific and Finnair.

So, are the region's fledgling regional budget airline operators heading for consolidation?

Probably not.

Peter Harbison of the Sydney-based Centre for Asia-Pacific Aviation sees at least 10 more low cost operators taking to the region's skies by the end of next year.

But many are nevertheless facing a reality check of sorts after enjoying rapid growth in the last 12 to 18 months.

Copyright © 2004 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old February 25th, 2005, 03:42 PM   #760
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Business Times - 25 Feb 2005

Tiger Airways adds flights to tsunami-hit Phuket

SINGAPORE - Tiger Airways, a budget carrier backed by Singapore Airlines (SIA), said on Friday it will launch a second flight to Phuket from next month as tourism in the tsunami-hit Thai resort recovers.

The additional flight would initially operate twice weekly from end-March, increasing to a daily service during the peak summer season, the airline said in a statement.

'The second flight to Phuket is a demonstration of our confidence that the Thai tourism industry is solidly back on its feet after December 2004,' said Tiger Airways chief executive Tony Davis.

The carrier currently operates a daily flight to the Thai resort island.

More than 5,000 people were killed in southern Thailand when the tsunamis struck Indian Ocean coastlines on Dec 26 last year, with Phuket one of the hardest hit areas in the country.

Mr Davis said demand for flights to Phuket have been robust over the past six weeks after Tiger Airways tied up with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to encourage travellers back to the island.

Tiger Airways, in which SIA owns a 49-per cent stake, also flies to Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Hatyai.

The Chiang Mai service, introduced only last week, had been 'so encouraging' the airline was considering increasing the frequency of flights from four times a week to daily, Mr Davis added.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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