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Old July 7th, 2005, 01:29 AM   #1001
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Easyjet threatens court action in Spain over airport handling fees
By Graham Keeley in Barcelona
2 July 2005
The Independent

Easyjet is considering legal action against the state-run company which runs Spain"s airports for what it calls the "indefensible" discrimination which doubles its running costs.

AENA, the owner of the country"s 45 airports, has refused easyJet applications for the low-cost carrier to set up its own handling company in Spain. At present, handling costs for easyJet flights at Spanish airports are three times those charged in Britain.

Easyjet"s chief operating officer, Ed Winter, said the company is forced to pay EUR39m (�26m) a year for dealing with passengers on its no-frills flights. It makes Spain the most expensive place in Europe for airlines to use, with handling costs twice that of any other country. But if easyJet was granted its own self-handling licences, which allow it to run its own handling company, it would cut costs almost in half to EUR20m.

After AENA"s recent refusal of easyJet"s application for handling licences at all but two airports, Asturias and Bilbao, the company decided to complain to Spain"s Economy Ministry under the country"s competition laws. If this proves unsuccessful, it will take legal action against AENA in Spain.

Toby Nicol, a spokesman for easyJet, said: "It is absolutely indefensible. There is no reason why we can"t set up our own handling services there. Discrimination like this was stopped in all other European countries years ago, but Spain is the only exception."

EasyJet says though labour costs are lower in Spain than in many other European countries, handling costs in airports are high. It means that some handling companies make large margins in Spain.

It is the latest twist in a long-running dispute between AENA and easyJet. which has been complaining about high costs of using the Spanish airports for the past two years.

A quarter of easyJet"s business is concentrated in Spain, with flights to 12 destinations. But its plans to expand further in Spain have been thwarted by the prohibitive costs of flying to the country " its most popular destination.

In comparison, domestic carriers such as Iberia, Spain"s biggest airline, use their own handling services and so their costs are much less. Other domestic companies, such as Air Europa and Spanair, are also linked to these companies.

Until easyJet cuts flying costs, it is reluctant to set up an operational base in Spain. It is interested in opening offices in Barcelona, Madrid or Malaga.

Barcelona is the most important of the three. Easyjet flew 1.6 million people from Britain to the Catalan capital last year, and it would be the natural choice as it plans to start new routes from Barcelona to Dortmund in Germany and to Glasgow.

There are also plans to start domestic flights within Spain and in other countries. Last year, easyJet flew 28 million passengers across Europe.

A spokeswoman for AENA said the company did not want to make a comment on the case until it had been resolved by the Economy Ministry.
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Old July 7th, 2005, 01:32 AM   #1002
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Ryanair aims to see off its rivals
Ralph Riegel
4 July 2005
Irish Independent

A BATTLE for market share has erupted between budget airlines in Ireland, with Ryanair responding to EasyJet's success by announcing that it is to almost treble its daily winter flights.

Ryanair's new winter schedule features a dramatic expansion of its daily operations from Cork, Knock and Shannon Airports.

Ryanair is offering 15 flights a day over the winter from those three airports - an increase of 250pc on the services it offered last January prior to EasyJet's decision to enter the Irish market.

Ryanair - which earlier this year clinched a major marketing deal with Shannon Airport - has already launched new services from the Clare airport to London/Stansted, London/Luton and London/Gatwick.

Now it is choosing the traditional lean winter season for a major increase in capacity for its Irish/UK services.

The move comes just days after Aer Lingus launched an autumn sale, with particular emphasis on increasing regional departures to both the UK and continental Europe.

The latest Ryanair move mirrors its decision five years ago to dramatically increase capacity from Ireland to the UK following the decision by budget airline GO! to enter the market. Within a matter of months, GO! withdrew from the Irish market.

The Ryanair winter schedule will include an additional Shannon/Gatwick service, an additional Knock/Gatwick flight and two extra flights from Cork tp London Stansted.

Out of Cork airport alone, Ryanair will be providing an additional 1,900 seats a day.
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Old July 7th, 2005, 01:27 PM   #1003
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Business Times - 07 Jul 2005

Low fares no big deal for corporate travellers: CWT


Cheap tickets severely restrictive for corporates who need flexibility

By VEN SREENIVASAN

(SINGAPORE) Corporate travellers have not benefited greatly from the competition and price cutting in the Asia-Pacific aviation market. This is because the low fares offered come with severe restrictions, making them impractical for the typical corporate traveller who often has to change his itinerary.

This was among the key findings of a study conducted by global travel management company, Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT).

CWT, which specialises in managing corporate travel accounts, found that business class air tickets actually cost 5 per cent more during the first quarter of this year, compared to the same quarter in 2004. However, economy fares fell about one per cent year-on-year during the January-March period.

'In Singapore particularly, airfares for corporate travellers remain mostly unaffected by the pressure of recently launched low-cost carriers,' CWT noted.

'Low-cost carriers have forced incumbents to publish very low fares on certain routes, but these fares come with restrictions unsuitable for corporate usage. Besides, even when net fares were reduced, the cuts were often offset by increases in fuel surcharges.'

Meanwhile, CWT has selected Singapore as its Asia-Pacific operations headquarters.

The decision follows the recent appointment of a Singapore-based chief operating officer, Berthold Trenkel, in January this year.

Mr Trenkel joins CWT from McKinsey & Company's Seoul office, where he co-led the consultancy's travel and logistics practice and oversaw the airline sector in Asia.

Besides Mr Trenkel, CWT has also relocated several other senior officials from its other country locations to its office at Harbourfront Tower here in recent months.

They include its chief financial officer, Olivier Spaenle, who relocated from Sydney; Tyler Lyman, its vice-president for operations, from the USA; and Mike Bezer, regional sales head.

'The Singapore location makes perfect sense, given its infrastructure, business environment and hub status for many multinationals,' Mr Trenkel said.

The travel management company, a leader in the Asia-Pacific region, has the largest wholly-owned global network in corporate travel advisory services.

The Asia-Pacific is its fastest growing market, with revenue growing at a compounded annual rate of over 25 per cent in the last four years. The region accounts for about US$1.2 billion of its worldwide revenue of some US$19 billion.

It employs some 1,900 of its total worldwide staff of 14,000 employees in 25 Asia-Pacific countries.

Mr Trenkel said that rapid business growth had prompted the company to centralise its regional operations in the last few years.

'Last year, we achieved record sales, with business travel sales crossing the US$1.2 billion mark,' he said. 'The growth potential in this region for corporate travel is significant, hence our aim to focus our resources to better serve this market.'

According to CWT, the global travel market is expected to be worth approximately US$800 billion by 2007, and the Asia-Pacific is expected to account for about 25 per cent of this. And one of the fastest growing segments is business travel - an area of specialisation for CWT.

Mr Trenkel said that cross-border business travel was not only seeing strong growth among multinationals, but among small and medium-sized companies. Many, he added, were looking to outsource their travel management to specialist companies like CWT for time and cost efficiencies.

'With our expertise, global footprint, and strong regional network, we are well-placed to grow our business in this region.'

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old July 7th, 2005, 06:33 PM   #1004
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Ryanair June Passenger Traffic 2.99M Vs 2.27M
05 July 2005
Edited Press Release

LONDON (Dow Jones)--Ryanair said Tuesday that in June 2005, it carried 2,988,075 passengers, compared with 2,273,390 in June 2004 and 29,557,476 passengers in the rolling 12 month period.

June load factor was unchanged at 87% and load factor for the 12-month rolling period was 84%.

Internet sales percentage rose slightly to 98%, from 97% in June 2004 and for the rolling 12-month period was 97%.
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Old July 7th, 2005, 10:54 PM   #1005
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O'Leary 'softens' attitude to DAA and ups capacity
Tom McEnaney
6 July 2005
Irish Independent

RYANAIR has, for the first time in five years, softened its position on the management of Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), which runs Dublin, Shannon and Cork airports. DAA came under the control of a new board and a new chief executive earlier this year when it changed its name from Aer Rianta and set in place the condition for its eventual breakup.

According to one industry source, Michael O'Leary, the Ryanair chief executive who has led a relentless assault on the airport operator in an attempt to lower charges, looks at the new management team as being "on probation".

This softening of the normally difficult relationship between the low-cost airline and the airport operator is seen as key to the airline's decision to increase its capacity out of Dublin Airport by 40pc in the autumn schedule.

The increase will see Ryanair carry almost 3m more passengers a year from the airport on a combination of new and existing routes.

Ryanair's decision may also have been influenced by the success of competitors operating from Dublin Airport. TheIrish Independent has learned that figures released by the DAA to airlines earlier this week show that passenger numbers using the airport in the first five months of this year were up by 7pc, to almost 7m.

Aer Lingus accounted for most of this growth. Ryanair, which accounts for 29pc of the traffic through Dublin, saw its numbers remain relatively static over the period, compared with the same period last year.

This static performance is in stark contract to the airline's growth generally. Yesterday it announced that it carried 2,988,075 passengers last month, which was a 31pc increase on June 2004 and brought the total number of passengers it carried in the 12 months to the end of June to 29,557,476.

Ryanair's decision to dramatically increase capacity out of Dublin will be seen as a milestone by the industry and the Government, reversing as its does a five-year no-expansion position held by the low-cost airline. However, this is not the first time in the five-year period the airline has announced new routes from Dublin.

Earlier this year the airline launched services from Dublin to Carcassonne, Biarritz, Rome, Doncaster, Frankfurt and Eindhoven.
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Old July 8th, 2005, 01:08 AM   #1006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monkey
Rolling 12 month passenger totals to May 2005:
EasyJet = 27,946,206
Ryanair = 28,842,791

Percentage increase in passengers since May 2004:
EasyJet = 24.8%
Ryanair = 34%

Load factor (ie percentage bums on seats) in May 2005:
EasyJet = 84.1%
Ryanair = 82%
Rolling 12 month passenger totals to June 2005:
EasyJet = 28,291,843
Ryanair = 29,557,476

Percentage increase in passengers since June 2004:
EasyJet = 15.4%
Ryanair = 31%

Load factor (ie percentage bums on seats) in June 2005:
EasyJet = 85.6%
Ryanair = 87%
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Old July 8th, 2005, 05:19 PM   #1007
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Ryanair Holdings: Announces Two New Routes
07 July 2005
Edited Press Release

LONDON (Dow Jones)--Ryanair Thursday launched two new routes from its Shannon base to Bristol and Nantes.

The new route to Bristol will start daily on Oct. 30, 2005 and the new route to Nantes will operate 3 times a week from Nov. 1, 2005, bringing the total number of destinations served by Ryanair at Shannon to 16.

In addition, Ryanair announced a frequency increase from 1 to 4 flights per week on its Frankfurt route, starting Oct. 31, 2005.

This expansion will result in an additional 200,000 passengers per annum at Shannon.
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Old July 9th, 2005, 03:04 AM   #1008
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This story was printed from TODAYonline

Valuair-Jetstar Asia merger talks still on

Weekend • July 9, 2005

BUDGET carriers Valuair and Jetstar Asia have denied market rumours that a proposed merger has been called off, saying that "the talks are still ongoing".

After news of the merger discussions broke last week, speculation had been rife that a deal would be inked as early as this week. When that failed to materialise, rumours surfaced that the deal had been called off because Qantas — the parent firm of Jetstar Asia — insisted on dominating the management of the new entity. This is thought to have met resistance from Valuair founder and chairman Lim Chin Beng, sources said.

However, when contacted by Today on Friday, both Valuair and Jetstar Asia said that the talks were ongoing.

Valuair executive director Arthur Lim said: "Aviation is a complex business. We still have a lot to discuss. But it is not off." He declined to give a timeline for an agreement to be reached.

Any deal also needs to be approved by Valuair's largest shareholder, Malaysian-listed Star Cruises. — Val Chua

Copyright MediaCorp Press Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old July 9th, 2005, 03:15 AM   #1009
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EasyJet Carried 2.587M Passengers In June 2005
7 July 2005
Edited Press Release

LONDON (Dow Jones)--Easyjet Thursday announced that it carried 2,586,889 passengers in June 2005, up 15.4% from 2,241,252 passengers in June 2004.

The company said that the Load Factor was 85.6% for June 2005 compared to 86.0% for the corresponding period last year.

Easyjet said that for the rolling 12 months ending June 2005 the company carried 28,291,843 passengers, up 23.7% from 22,877,710 in June 2004. For the rolling 12 months the Load Factor was 85.1% for June 2005, up from 84.0% from June 2004.

June 2005 total revenue was GBP1,261 million, up 22.5% from GBP1,029 million in May 2004.

Ray Webster, easyJet Chief Executive, said: "We experienced a more favourable revenue environment during the month, but this has been balanced by an unfavourable movement in the spot price of jet fuel. Our profit guidance, stated at the time of our interim results release in May, remains unchanged; we now expect total revenue per seat for the current fiscal year to be slightly ahead of last year.

"During the month even more passengers were able to take advantage of easyJet's unique combination of the lowest fares to the best destinations following the launch of six routes from our most recent base - the Swiss city of Basel. easyJet is now selling 29 routes from Basel and Geneva, which strengthen our position in Switzerland in the run-up to our biggest-ever Winter schedule. This will consist of around 15 million seats between 63 airports for travel up until the end of March 2006, including the peak skiing season."
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Old July 10th, 2005, 01:57 AM   #1010
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Ryanair to fight decision on second terminal
Eugene Hogan
8 July 2005
Irish Independent

RYANAIR is to launch legal proceedings within "a matter of weeks" in a bid to overturn the Government's decision to allow the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) to build a second terminal.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary yesterday revealed he was prepared for a legal wrangle lasting more than 18 months.

The Government, however, appears ready to proceed with the project regardless - sources last night indicated that it was confident the decision was final and would not be overturned by the courts.

Mr O'Leary yesterday confirmed that Ryanair would bring full proceedings under Section 82/86 of Competition Law under the European Treaty.

"What we want is for the decision on the second terminal to be opened up to a public tender. By all means, let the Dublin Airport Authority tender for the construction and operation of the terminal, but there is no way they can simply be allowed to build it on the nod," he said.

He claimed such arrangements had led to overspending on public projects. "Competition works, but Bertie giving in to his buddies in the trade unions doesn't," he said.

Mr O'Leary said his company had no interest in developing the terminal itself but that 13 companies with international experience in the area had expressed an interest and they should be allowed at least the opportunity to bid for a tender so they could "bring their expertise to this vital project".

"The result then will be the best terminal facilities at the lowest cost for Irish tourism - not the mess you already have at Dublin Airport," he said.

A Department of Transport spokesperson said last night that the Government had outlined its plan and was proceeding with it.

The spokesperson declined to comment on whether or not legal action would hold up the terminal development.

Mr O'Leary denied there was any "simmering discontent" among pilots over the retraining for the new 737-800 fleet. But he made it clear they would be looking elsewhere for jobs after September, when the new aircraft are introduced, if they were not retrained.

He blamed the dispute on the Irish Airline Pilots' Association, which he said had become used to getting its way in the past. But he saie this would not be the case in their dealings with Ryanair.
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Old July 10th, 2005, 02:03 AM   #1011
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O'Leary hopes Shannon will strike gold in 2012 Olympics
Eugene Hogan
8 July 2005
Irish Independent

RYANAIR boss Michael O'Leary wants to make Shannon airport one of the top and cheapest access airports to London for the 2012 Olympics.

Less than 24 hours after the announcement that the world's greatest sport event is coming to our nearest neighbours, the quick-thinking Ryanair chief was yesterday delivering a message to Olympic teams that the mid-west of Ireland will be an ideal base for them in the run-up to the games.

Speaking in Shannon as he announced another two routes, Bristol and Nantes, for the airport, Mr O'Leary predicted many teams will be using the mid-west as a base for training camps ahead of the 2012 Olympics.

"It's going to be cheaper and faster to get to London from the west of Ireland than it's going to be to get from many UK cities like Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.

"I thinks that's why a lot of teams and delegations will be looking at Shannon and the mid-west, not just in 2012 but for training camps in 2011 and 2010."

Niall Gibbons, director of Corporate Services in Tourism Ireland, predicted that Limerick city also stands to gain a huge amount of sports-tourism business around the 2012 Olympics due to the National Coaching and Training Centre and 50m swimming pool on the University of Limerick campus.

"The Olympics in London will present certain opportunities for Ireland and for Shannon and Limerick in particular, given the centre of sporting excellence that there is there. The north of Ireland too will have certain events and we will be looking to capitalise on that," he said.

Meanwhile, just two months after Ryanair established a major base at the airport with nine new routes, there are clear signals of the massive boost the additional passenger numbers are having on Shannon airport.

For the first time ever, a 'park and ride' facility has had to be put in place as the official airport terminal car park is regularly full.

"We have put in the 'park and ride' facility for the peak months of July and August and, yes, there have been some teething problems but we are meeting the challenges very well," said Pat Shanahan, chairman of the new Shannon Airport Authority.

According to the Ryanair chief, passengers are relishing the Shannon airport experience.

"The feedback we are getting from our customers is extremely positive. They are enjoying easy access, an absence of terminal congestion and none of the third-world experiences of Dublin airport," said Mr O'Leary.

"Even when it comes to car-parking, in Dublin airport some of the car parks are closer to Co Kildare than they are the airport itself."
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Old July 10th, 2005, 05:27 AM   #1012
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July 10, 2005.

Budget travellers from South-east Asia are now the
New big spenders
Retailers are benefiting from their willingness to spend; mid-range and budget hotels see increase in business too

By Chua Kong Ho

MR BONG Lintag, 44, and colleague Rainer Leonardo, 40, are taking the 7am flight on Tiger Airways back to Manila today, after spending four days in Singapore shopping and sightseeing.

Together with their wives and children, they have visited the Zoo, hit the stores in Orchard Road and Suntec City, and dined with friends here.

The party of nine stayed in two rooms at the Beach Hotel off Beach Road.

In all, their holiday cost $9,000, they estimated.

Mr Lintag, a marketing director, and Mr Leonardo, a human resource manager, are typical of a new and growing group of travellers making an impact on Singapore.

They are budget travellers visiting Singapore for the first time - a trip made possible by budget airlines such as Tiger Airways, AirAsia and Jetstar Asia.

Although official figures are lacking, retailers and budget inn hoteliers are smiling. One Lucky Plaza retailer, Lucky Centre, said visitors from the region now spend more - almost double the amount for Westerners - in snapping up its electronic gadgets.

Budget travellers are a group that bodes well for Singapore tourism. Official figures show four times as many low-cost carrier passengers landed at Changi Airport in the first five months of this year over the same period last year.

Singapore received 1.3 million visitors from South-east Asia, an increase of 12 per cent, during these five months.

Said Mr Robert Khoo, chief executive of the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (Natas): 'It is a very fast-growing market and these travellers, after saving on airfare, tend to splash on shopping especially.'

For Thai national Ann Roche, 25, who is married to Singaporean Jamie Roche, 30, budget airlines have allowed more of her relatives to attend her wedding reception at Raffles Marina this weekend.

Said her brother-in-law, Mr Montree Srinuan-ai, 37, who flew in with two other relatives and a friend: 'It's our first time in Singapore and we could afford to come because of the low fares. We're very excited.'

Daily, Changi Airport's Terminal One teems with tourists like Mr Montree, who fly in from cities such as Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila and Hong Kong on budget airlines.

These carriers now operate 362 scheduled flights every week, more than three times the 108 flights a year ago.

So even as they spur Singaporeans to hop around the region to shop and visit spas, these airlines also help make up for the business lost to neighbouring countries.

They enticed Indonesian businessman Henry Andy, 40, to fly his family here for their holiday. Otherwise, they would have gone to a beach resort in Indonesia.

With his wife and two children, Mr Andy flew in on Tiger Airways from Padang, Sumatra, on Wednesday. They are staying for four days at the Golden Landmark Hotel.

'I'm looking forward to taking my sons to the Zoo, Sentosa and Orchard Road,' he told The Sunday Times. 'I wouldn't have come if not for the cheap airfares.'

Software engineers Julius Narag and Melody Cueto, both 28, paid about $200 each for return tickets on Tiger Airways from Manila to Singapore. This is about one-third the ticket price of some airlines.

After scrimping on accommodation and airfares, these budget travellers seem very willing to splurge on shopping.

Mr Lintag, for instance, was looking for a notebook computer. 'It's cheaper here. I saved hundreds of dollars on airfares, which I can spend on shopping.'

Shopkeepers in Orchard Road can testify to this new breed of customers.

Lucky Centre said Thais, Indonesians and, increasingly, Filipinos are the main buyers of its digital cameras and video cameras. They have eclipsed Britons and Australians.

Said its administrator Irene Koh: 'Thais and Indonesians have the best purchasing power. They typically spend between $800 and $1,000, and buy high-end electronics such as videocams.

'The Western tourists usually have budgets under $500.'

Owners of mid-range and budget hotels are benefiting too.

Budget travellers favour hotels in the three-star range, said Mr Tony Aw, senior manager at Hong Thai Travel Services.

Online reservations company Zuji said more than three-quarters of those who book budget flights on its Singapore website choose three-star hotels.

The Fragrance Hotel chain, which has nine hotels offering rooms starting from $48 a night, said the budget airlines have brought a 'general increase' in guests from South-east Asian countries.

But here's the rub: Singapore does not have enough three-star hotel rooms, said travel agents.

'The biggest shortage now is for such rooms and unless we have more, Singapore will lose out on this growing market,' said Natas' Mr Khoo.

'It is a very fast-growing market and these travellers, after saving on airfare, tend to splash on shopping especially.' - MR ROBERT KHOO, chief executive of the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (Natas) M R BONG LINTAG (far right) and Mr Rainer Leonardo (third from left) take their families shopping in Orchard Road.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
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Old July 10th, 2005, 11:10 AM   #1013
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International Destinations Served By Singapore Based Low Cost Carriers
- Information Correct As Of 10 July 2005

Tiger Airways
From Singapore
- Padang, Indonesia
- Hat Yai, Thailand
- Phuket, Thailand
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- Hanoi, Vietnam
- Manila, The Philippines
- Macau, China

Valuair
From Singapore
- Jakarta, Indonesia
- Perth, Australia
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Hong Kong, China
- Chengdu, China
- Xiamen, China

Jetstar Asia Airways
From Singapore
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Hong Kong, China
- Manila, The Philippines
- Taipei
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Old July 11th, 2005, 11:39 AM   #1014
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July 11, 2005
Jetstar, Valuair merger talks called off

By Arthur Poon

MERGER talks between Singapore-based low-cost carriers Jetstar Asia and Valuair have broken down.

Jetstar chief executive Ken Ryan said yesterday: 'Jetstar has withdrawn from its offer and talks with Valuair.'

Valuair also confirmed yesterday that talks have ended. Its executive vice-president, Mr Arthur Lim, said: 'Following extensive discussions with Jetstar Asia on a possible collaboration, we feel that it was not in our interest to proceed further at this stage.'

A merger would have created a single operator with eight aircraft offering multiple daily flights to eight destinations.

The pair had been in talks for several weeks amid a wave of consolidation in the low-cost airline industry, which has been struggling to make money in the face of rising fuel costs and reluctance by regional governments to open up their skies to foreign carriers.

Valuair lost $4.1 million in its first seven months of operation last year, much of which was due to start-up costs.

Led by chairman Lim Chin Beng, Valuair includes among its shareholders Genting chairman Lim Kok Thay and former top civil servant Ngiam Tong Dow. But its biggest single shareholder is Malaysian-listed Star Cruises, which injected $15 million into the company last year.

Qantas-backed Jetstar, which started operating last December, failed to secure routes to China and Indonesia and had to defer delivery of four new aircraft.

Qantas chief financial officer Peter Gregg had also said publicly that Jetstar's performance has been disappointing.

A source close to the talks said: 'The merger deal was never a major thing for both parties. The possibility came up and they just started talking.' However, he said, they found it 'difficult to agree on various key issues', though he did not elaborate on what those issues were.

Asked if it may seek other partners in future, Mr Lim replied: 'Valuair will not rule out the possibility of collaborative ventures with other partners should they make commercial sense.'

OTHER DEALS?


'Valuair will not rule out the possibility of collaborative ventures with other partners should they make commercial sense.'
-- MR ARTHUR LIM, executive vice-president of Valuair

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
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Old July 13th, 2005, 01:35 PM   #1015
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Business Times - 13 Jul 2005

Tan's offer is among serious bids: Valuair

By VEN SREENIVASAN

AFTER failed merger talks with Jetstar Asia, Singapore-based budget carrier Valuair has received 'indications of interest' from several investors including Stanley Tan's Global Advisory Group.

Valuair executive vice-president Arthur Lim said yesterday Mr Lim's offer to buy into the company is among the more serious bids being evaluated.

'He is one of the parties who wants to help Valuair,' Mr Lim said. 'A few other parties have also indicated interest. But everything comes with conditions.'

One of those conditions is likely to be the size of a newcomer's stake. Mr Tan's Global Advisory Group is said to be offering $50 million for 51 per cent of Valuair, which would significantly dilute the interests of current shareholders including Star Cruises and Asiatravel.com.

It is just this issue that is said to have scuttled negotiations between Valuair and Jetstar Asia on an alliance.

It is believed that Jetstar's parent Qantas and other parties wanted at least 80 per cent of any merged entity.

Mr Lim yesterday rejected speculation that Valuair is in financial trouble that could ground it within weeks.

'From day one some of our competitors have wished us away,' he said. 'But 14 months after we took to the skies we are still around, still doing business as usual and still growing the market,' Mr Lim said.

Valuair's traffic increased by 60 per cent between March and July, Mr Lim said. Still, there can be little doubt that the airline is in need of cash after using up most of the near-$60 million in capital it collected from numerous investors. Most of these investors declined to subscribe to a recent rights issue to raise another $30 million.

Besides Global Advisory, Valuair is said to have been in talks with Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia, though neither airline has commented.

An AirAsia equity partnership could provide synergistic benefits, as it would enable each carrier to operate more freely across borders and in and out of each other's domestic markets.

Valuair could get 'backdoor' entry to some Malaysian routes, while AirAsia has long yearned for a Singapore-registered associate similar to those it has in Thailand and Indonesia.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old July 13th, 2005, 04:23 PM   #1016
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Ryanair 'fights back' with seat sale
Nicola Anderson
12 July 2005
Irish Independent

RYANAIR has launched its biggest ever seat sale to 'keep Europe flying' - a move the airline said was in defiance of the perpetrators of the London bombings and terrorism.

Chief executive Michael O'Leary said yesterday the terrorists who committed the "appalling attacks in London must not be allowed to succeed in their twisted goal of paralysing people with 'fear, terror and panic'."

The airline said they had not yet noticed a dip in passenger sales as a result of last Thursday's bombings - but said it was still "early days".

Ryanair is advertising three million seats from 99 cent each way for flights to destinations across Europe for travel between this September 1 and March 25, next year.

When taxes are added, the cost of the seats comes closer to €40 for return flights. The sale ends on Thursday at midnight.

Mr O'Leary claimed the best way for people to make a stand against acts of terrorism was to continue to travel, since travel and tourism was essential for a strong economy.

He added: "Ryanair is lowering three million fares in its biggest ever seat sale to ensure we can all do our part to fight back."

A Ryanair spokesman said the sale had been launched in direct response to the London atrocities in order to "keep the market stimulated".

When asked if the airline was exploiting the attacks, he replied: "Certainly not. We feel the best way to react to this appalling situation is to encourage people to keep on flying."
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Old July 17th, 2005, 01:45 AM   #1017
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Ryanair Launches 8 New Routes to Britain
4 to Liverpool, 2 to London, 1 to Newcastle & Glasgow

Corporate Press Release
July 13, 2005

In London today Ryanair, the largest passenger airline in the UK-European market and the number one carrier of overseas visitors into London unveiled 8 new routes for this Winter’s schedule including two new destinations with daily flights from London Stansted to Toulon in the South of France and Krakow in Poland. Ryanair also unveiled four new routes from its Liverpool base to Oslo, Riga, Carcassonne and Bergerac, as well as a new route from Newcastle to Oslo and from Glasgow Prestwick to Krakow. As part of this expansion a fifth aircraft will now be based in Liverpool from 27th September next.

Ryanair also announced this morning that it would launch a major tourism drive to encourage visitors to come to London by releasing 3 million seats at a price of just £1 or €1 plus taxes which have gone on sale on Ryanair’s website at www. ryanair.com for travel during August, September and October. This seat sale will be backed up with a Pan European £5 million advertising campaign over the next 3 months featuring London and a range of other great British cities.

Speaking this morning in London, Ryanair’s CEO, Michael O’Leary said:

“Ryanair decided to bring forward these route launches and this seat sale from September to the middle of July because we believe the best response to last week’s terrorist attacks is for ordinary people to continue to live their lives as normal, and to continue to travel as before. It is more important than ever that the leading players in London and British tourism such as Ryanair make it even more attractive for visitors to come to London this Autumn and show the terrorists that we will not be put off by their atrocities.”

“We are delighted with our two new routes to London from Krakow in Poland and Toulon in the South of France and we are particularly pleased with the continued expansion of our successful Liverpool base which is growing rapidly. We expect that traffic at Liverpool will continue to grow, particularly as the city becomes Europe’s capital of culture in 2008.”

“These 3 million seats went on sale on our website at Ryanair.com this week and will remain available for booking until midnight on Monday next for travel during the months of August, September and October. However since seats at these low prices during the peak Summer period are a rarity, we would encourage all visitors to London to snap them up quickly as there will be huge demand for them.”
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Old July 17th, 2005, 01:48 AM   #1018
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Ryanair CEO: Saw Drop Off In Bookings After London Blasts
13 July 2005

LONDON (Dow Jones)--Irish budget airline Ryanair Holdings PLC (RYAAY) saw a drop off in bookings in the four days immediately following last Thursday's terrorist attacks on London, Chief Executive Michael O'Leary said Wednesday.

Compared with bookings over the preceding few weeks, bookings from Friday to Monday were down between 5% and 10%, O'Leary said at a press conference. He added that the drop was in the single digits.

Ryanair typically takes about 100,000 bookings a day and O'Leary said he's hopeful that systemwide bookings will be back to normal by this weekend.

O'Leary added that the airline is practically fully sold out for bookings at the end of July and the first two weeks of August.

The drop off in bookings hasn't led to any change in the company's financial guidance for the year ending March 31, 2006, he said.

O'Leary said average fares -or yields -may fall by up to 5% in the current financial year and the airline is still on track to carry over 35 million passengers during the year.

Ryanair previously said that yields were likely to be flat in its first quarter to June 30, but O'Leary declined to comment further on yield development over these three months.

The Irish airline earlier Wednesday announced 8 new routes to the U.K. including four from its base in Liverpool It also said it's offering 3 million seats at reduced prices for travel during August, September and October.

O'Leary said the seat sale is likely to have a negative impact on yields.

Looking ahead, Ryanair is likely to announce a new base over the next few weeks, O'Leary said. He added that the carrier is also planning to announce the closure of three or four underperforming routes towards the end of August.

At 1212 GMT, Ryanair shares were up EUR0.005 at EUR6.555 in London.
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Old July 17th, 2005, 01:51 AM   #1019
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EasyJet a good investment says Icelandair
ALASTAIR DALTON
13 July 2005
The Scotsman

ICELANDAIR chief executive Jon Karl Olafsson said yesterday its stake in EasyJet was already paying off, days after the airline again upped its shareholding in the no-frills carrier.

Olafsson, in Glasgow to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Icelandair flights to Scotland, said its 11.5 per cent holding in EasyJet had been a good investment and suggested the door remained open on further share buying. FL Group, the Icelandic flag-carrier's parent company, spent some GBP 5 million to increase its stake by a further 0.5 per cent last week following its original 8.4 per cent acquisition last October. It has also bought shares in various other companies.

However, the spending spree has caused early turbulence for the new chief executive, who took over last month after predecessor Sigurdur Helgason's two decades in the cockpit.

Six of FL's seven directors have resigned, reportedly in protest over "corporate governance issues" and the company's future direction.

Olafsson told The Scotsman: "We think it [EasyJet] is a well-run business, but there is not a lot in common between Icelandair and EasyJet and we are not looking to be in a merger. It has been a good investment that has been paying off already."

As for increasing its stake, he said: "We look for opportunities as they arise, but there is nothing going on at the moment."

Olafsson said it was too early to say when the Glasgow-Reykjavik service - Iceland's oldest international air link - would resume daily flights from the current five a week.

However, he said the airline - which flies to six US cities - had seen no downturn in passenger demand since last Thursday's London bombings.

He said: "The world is determined not to allow these guys to get away with it. The threat has been going on for a number of years and will remain."
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Old July 17th, 2005, 11:26 AM   #1020
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Updates for budget terminal(17/7/05):

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