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Old July 24th, 2005, 05:07 PM   #1041
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24 July 2005

Jetstar Asia and Valuair form new Singapore company
By Rita Zahara, Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE : Singapore-based budget airlines Jetstar Asia and Valuair have announced the formation of a new Singaporean company that will own and operate both airlines.

The new company, which has yet to be named, will be chaired by Geoff Dixon, who is chairman of Jetstar Asia and CEO of Qantas Airways.

Jetstar's CEO Ken Ryan will be the chief executive of both Valuair and Jetstar Asia.

He will run both airlines.

The airlines are expected to operate in their own right for the foreseeable future with little or no change to the services they offer.

Analysts say both airlines would also be well placed to participate in growth opportunities within the region.

Speculation about a union between Jetstar Asia and Valuair has been rife in recent weeks.

Industry watchers have said consolidation among budget carriers may just come about a year earlier than expected.

And the fact that merger talks between Jetstar Asia and Valuair were already underway signals that keen competition is already taking its toll.

Valuair is one of three budget airlines launched in Singapore last year.

It had hoped to break even within the first year but several factors worked against it - intense price competition, soaring fuel prices and an inability to obtain routes to China and Indonesia.

The carrier is estimated to have lost S$4.1 million last year and analysts say only fresh capital injection from new or existing shareholders could ensure the airline remains competitive. – CNA /ct

Copyright © 2005 MCN International Pte Ltd
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Old July 25th, 2005, 05:22 PM   #1042
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Business Times - 25 Jul 2005

More turbulence ahead for Asia's budget airlines after S'pore tie-up


SINGAPORE - Asia's highly competitive low-cost airline industry is set for a wave of mergers and failures, analysts said on Monday, following Jetstar Asia's tie-up with Singapore-based rival Valuair.

High oil prices, government restrictions and the competition created by the sheer number of budget airlines that have taken to the air over recent years are the primary factors behind the expected upcoming turbulence, they say.

'We are going to see consolidation, whether that's (through) mergers, some players dropping out or reverting to their old business models,' a Kuala Lumpur-based aviation analyst with OSK Research, Chris Eng, told AFP.

Mr Eng said the number of low-cost airlines in South-east Asia, which number about eight, could be reduced to three of four in the coming years.

Aside from the consolidation that is already happening in Singapore, he said Thailand would also likely be unable to sustain its three domestic budget carriers -- Thai AirAsia, One-Two-GO and Nok Air.

'In India as well, there are a huge number of low-cost carriers happening there, which will eventually lead to consolidation,' he said.

The chief executive officer for consulting at the Sydney-based Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, Andrew Miller, said the Asian budget airline phenomenon was similar to events in the United States after its domestic market was deregulated.

'There was an absolute rash of low-cost start ups. In the end four out of five failed,' he said.

While Mr Miller did not expect the failure rate to be as high in Asia because of enormous growth opportunities in places such as China and India, he said 'there will be some form of consolidation'.

Mr Miller and Mr Eng said the Singapore scenario offered a glimpse of what could happen in other Asian nations when too many carriers saturated the market at a time when jet fuel costs were soaring due to record oil prices.

In Singapore, Qantas-backed Jetstar Asia, Singapore Airlines-aligned Tiger Airways and Valuair all took to the air within months of each other last year.

Malaysia's AirAsia, the industry leader which kickstarted the region's budget airline boom with its inaugural flight in 2001, also began flying between Singapore and Bangkok.

Valuair, with former Singapore Airlines managing director Lim Chin Beng, Malaysia's Star Cruises and Singapore-listed Asiatravel.com as major shareholders, was the first to take off in May.

However it reportedly lost millions of dollars in its first 12 months and, faced with unexpectedly aggressive under-cutting from the major airlines, was staring at a bleak future without a major injection of capital.

'It was constantly looking around for fresh funds,' Mr Eng said.

From the point of view of Jetstar Asia, in which Qantas has a 49 per cent stake, Mr Miller said the tie-up with Valuair offered it the chance to secure otherwise unattainable routes.

Jetstar Asia was the last of the three Singapore-based airlines to take to the air.

With governments restricting the number of carriers on each route, Jetstar Asia missed the chance to gain rights to lucrative routes such as Singapore-Jakarta and was also struggling financially.

The two airlines announced on Sunday they had merged. They said they would continue to operate their normal routes under their own brands 'for the foreseeable future, with little or no change to the service offered by either airline'.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old July 26th, 2005, 03:14 PM   #1043
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Business Times - 26 Jul 2005

Analysts see more turbulence ahead for Asia's budget airlines

High oil prices, govt curbs, intense competition among large numbers cited

(SINGAPORE) Asia's highly competitive low-cost airline industry is set for a wave of mergers and failures, analysts said yesterday, following Jetstar Asia's tie-up with Singapore-based rival Valuair.

High oil prices, government restrictions and the competition created by the sheer number of budget airlines that have taken to the air over recent years are the primary factors behind the expected upcoming turbulence, they say.

'We are going to see consolidation, whether that's (through) mergers, some players dropping out or reverting to their old business models,' a Kuala Lumpur-based aviation analyst with OSK Research, Chris Eng, told AFP.

Mr Eng said the number of low-cost airlines in South-east Asia, which number about eight, could be reduced to three or four in the coming years.

Aside from the consolidation that is already happening in Singapore, he said Thailand would also likely be unable to sustain its three domestic budget carriers - Thai AirAsia, One-Two-GO and Nok Air. 'In India as well, there are a huge number of low-cost carriers happening there, which will eventually lead to consolidation,' he said.

The chief executive officer for consulting at the Sydney-based Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, Andrew Miller, said the Asian budget airline phenomenon was similar to events in the US after its domestic market was deregulated.

'There was an absolute rash of low-cost start ups. In the end, four out of five failed,' Mr Miller said.

While Mr Miller did not expect the failure rate to be as high in Asia because of enormous growth opportunities in places such as China and India, he said 'there will be some form of consolidation'.

Mr Miller and Mr Eng both said the Singapore scenario offered a glimpse of what could happen in other Asian nations when too many carriers saturated the market at a time when jet fuel costs were soaring due to record oil prices.

In Singapore, Qantas-backed Jetstar Asia, Singapore Airlines-aligned Tiger Airways and Valuair all took to the air within months of each other last year.

Malaysia's AirAsia, the industry leader which kickstarted the region's budget airline boom with its inaugural flight in 2001, also began flying between Singapore and Bangkok.

Valuair, with former SIA managing director Lim Chin Beng, Malaysia's Star Cruises and Singapore-listed Asiatravel.com as major shareholders, was the first to take off in May.

However, it reportedly lost millions of dollars in its first 12 months and, faced with unexpectedly aggressive under-cutting from the major airlines, was staring at a bleak future without a major injection of capital. 'It was constantly looking around for fresh funds,' Mr Eng said.

From the point of view of Jetstar Asia, in which Qantas has a 49 per cent stake, Mr Miller said the tie-up with Valuair offered it the chance to secure otherwise unattainable routes.

Jetstar Asia was the last of the three Singapore-based airlines to take to the air.

With governments restricting the number of carriers on each route, Jetstar Asia missed the chance to gain rights to lucrative routes such as Singapore-Jakarta and was also struggling financially.

The two airlines announced on Sunday that they had merged. They said they would continue to operate their normal routes under their own brands 'for the foreseeable future, with little or no change to the service offered by either airline'. - AFP

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old July 28th, 2005, 06:03 PM   #1044
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28 July 2005

Tiger Airways to add more routes, create air hubs across region

By Michael Lim, Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE: Tiger Airways has set its sights on becoming the next pan-regional low-cost carrier after AirAsia, its CEO Tony Davis has said.

The carrier has added another destination to its routes - Krabi - and says it is looking to form regional air hubs through either partnerships or joint ventures in the region.

Tiger Airways says it is still too early to say how the merger between its rivals JetStar Asia and Valuair will pan out.

But the carrier says its biggest competitor is not here in Singapore but across the Causeway.

Tiger sees the Malaysian low-cost carrier AirAsia as its biggest threat.

That is because both carriers are operating along the same low-cost model, much like Ryanair in Europe and Southwest Airlines in the US.

Said Mr Davis, "To be frank my focus has always been on our competitor to the north of here. I see Tiger Airways’ biggest competitor to be AirAsia and that will continue to be the case. We see ourselves as a competitor airline on a pan-regional basis, which is why we have adopted services between Macau and the Philippines and we will continue to look outwards at our competitors."

Tiger Airways says it will continue to build on and optimise its existing network out of Singapore.

But it is at the same time looking at the possibility of establishing air hubs across Asia.

The carrier does not rule out entering into partnership or joint ventures with local companies in countries where air rights are still heavily regulated.

Mr Davis said, "I think we have seen AirAsia do that very successfully. AirAsia operates a successful partner in Thailand. They have set up a similar partnership with a company in Indonesia. I think that is the kind of model you will see developing with Tiger Airways.

"That we are able to, where it makes economic sense we would enter into relationships, partnerships depending on the form that is necessary in different parts of the region to expand our volume, expand our brand and reach and to make sure that we operate a pan regional network."

Tiger Airways is also looking at expanding its routes, after adding the Thai resort of Krabi to its network on Thursday. – CNA /ct

Copyright © 2005 MCN International Pte Ltd
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Old July 30th, 2005, 01:35 PM   #1045
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Business Times - 30 Jul 2005

S'pore H1 visitor arrivals up 8%, boosted by budget airlines


SINGAPORE - Arrivals to Singapore increased by 8.2 per cent on year to reach 4.1 million in the first half of 2005, buoyed by budget airlines, the Singapore Tourism Board said on Saturday.

Visitor arrivals from Vietnam jumped 53 per cent to 68,000 while 152,000 tourists came from the Philippines, a 23 per cent increase, the board said in a statement.

Singapore-based carriers Tiger Airways and Jetstar Asia added the two countries to their list of destinations this year. The board said arrivals from India and Thailand also increased.

'Besides undertaking key promotional campaigns, the other main driver of growth in arrivals from these Asian countries are the competitive airfares offered by both budget and full-fledged airlines plying the region,' the statement said.

China arrivals dipped by 10 per cent while South Korea's numbers dropped by nine per cent. The board attributed the falls to 'news of earthquakes in the Sumatra region and security concerns in Southern Thailand contributed to the cautious travel sentiment'.

'China's negative performance can also be attributed to stiff competition from Hong Kong, Macau and China's domestic tourism push,' it added.

In June, Singapore said arrivals totalled 746,541, an increase of 8.6 per cent on year.

The top country on the board's arrival list was Indonesia with nearly 850,000 visitors in the first half of 2005.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old August 2nd, 2005, 03:35 PM   #1046
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Business Times - 02 Aug 2005

S'pore LCCs seen having to rationalise operations


Stiff competition, high fuel costs, poor routes take their toll


By VEN SREENIVASAN

CUT-THROAT competition, closed skies, rising fuel costs and poor loads could force Singapore's low cost airlines to rationalise their routes and operations.

Industry watchers reckon that Valuair, which is merging with Jetstar Asia, could be forced to give up its Perth route, while Tiger Airways may have to rethink Hatyai. And Jetstar itself may have to review its Taipei hop as it considers new routes in China.

After a promising start two years ago, several regional budget airlines have found the going rough, no thanks to protected skies, unprofitable routes, costly ground services and predatory or irrational pricing by full-service rivals.

'Unlike the case in the US, LCCs (low-cost carriers) here have not had a severe impact on national or flag carriers,' said Shukor Yusof, aviation writer at Standard & Poor's, the corporate credit ratings agency. 'As far as we know, only AirAsia is profitable, while the rest struggle as industry overcapacity, low fares and high jet fuel prices taking their toll. AirAsia has benefited from its early start in the no-frills market and its smart hedging programme.

'The three LCCs in Singapore haven't been as fortunate, and their earnings are reportedly dismal, raising questions whether LCCs in the region will continue to face turbulence or - worse - fade away like some of the failed LCCs in the US and Europe.'

Indeed, other than Air-Asia, none of the region's dozen or so budget carriers have revealed their revenue, load numbers or breakeven points. But given the circumstances in which they are operating, it doesn't take a genius to guess what these might be.

Tiger is said to be filling less than a quarter of its planes on its flights from Singapore to Hatyai in southern Thailand - a region which has of late been rocked by insurgency.

Meanwhile, Valuair is competing head-on with Singapore Airlines and Qantas on its Singapore-Perth hop.

While the wide-bodied aircraft used by two full-service airlines enable them to make the flight in less than four hours, Valuair's A320 takes almost six hours - flying largely over Indonesian land as the aircraft do not have the Etops (extended twin engine operations) accreditation needed for flights over the Indian Ocean.

Seah Hiang Hong of Kim Eng Research blames protectionism and 'closed skies' for the dilemma facing by the region's budget airlines. 'The routes that all these carriers fly to are determined by the availability of air traffic rights rather than whether they make good long-term economic and business sense,' he says. 'Ideally they should be flying to places in India and China instead of competing on crowded, skinny and seasonal routes to Thailand.'

The result has been very poor yields. Analysts say the soaring price of fuel has forced the new airlines to rationalise their operations earlier than they would normally have had to.

'We are already seeing signs of acknowledgment that the ambitious plans laid out last year won't materialise,' Mr Seah says.

So far, the most prominent result of this pressure is the merger of two of Singapore's three new airlines.

After weeks of market speculation, Valuair and Jetstar last week confirmed that they would operate under a new company, Orange Star, whose CEO would be Ken Ryan, formerly chief executive of Jetstar. Orange Star's chairman is Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon.

But as analysts point out, Orange Star will have to deal with two management teams, two cost structures, two operating models, two fleets and some duplication of routes.

'Unfortunately, the outlook for the regional LCC sector is not as bright as it was made out to be,' notes Mr Shukor.

'It remains to be seen if Jetstar and Valuair will be able to successfully integrate their business models. While barriers to entry in the industry are low, barriers to exit are high due to the huge amount of capital involved.'

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old August 4th, 2005, 02:21 AM   #1047
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Tuesday August 2, 6:23 PM
Ryanair Posts Record First-Quarter Profit

AP - Budget airline Ryanair Holdings PLC shrugged off the escalating cost of aviation fuel and posted a record first-quarter net profit Tuesday of 69.6 million euros ($84.8 million).

The rapidly growing European carrier said its profit rose 31 percent from the 53.1 million euros it earned in the previous April-June quarter, much higher than analysts' expectations of around 55 million euros ($67 million).

Revenue rose 35 percent to 404.6 million euros ($495.2 million), while the number of passengers rose 30 percent, roughly in line with Ryanair's expansion in routes over the past year.

The airline's average "yield," meaning the average cost of each ticket purchased, grew 3 percent.

Chief Executive Michael O'Leary warned that the Dublin-based airline, which operates its major hub at London's Stansted Airport, could be vulnerable to the effects of more terrorist attacks in the British capital. He said bookings did drop immediately following the four bombings on July 7 and attempted bombings on July 21, but quickly recovered.

"If there are no further such attacks in London, then we expect that our forward bookings will not be materially impacted," O'Leary said. "However, if there are further incidents in London, both bookings and yields could be adversely impacted."

Ryanair shares rose 1 euro cent (1 U.S. cent) to 6.81 euros ($8.34) in midmorning trade on the Irish Stock Exchange.

Deputy Chief Executive Michael Cawley said Ryanair was well positioned to keep wooing customers from rivals that have slapped extra charges on tickets because of the soaring cost of oil. Ryanair hasn't imposed a fuel surcharge.

Ryanair said its fuel costs rose 112 percent from first-quarter 2004, driving up overall costs 6 percent. Excluding fuel, the company's costs fell 9 percent.

The company has tried to combat the rising cost of oil by buying contracts months in advance. Cawley said Ryanair had secured most of its September fuel needs at $57 a barrel, compared with the current price around $62, but had no hedging contracts for the summer.

"July and August are a problem. We'll just have to take that on the chin," Cawley said. "But for the rest of the year we're hedged at what are now very good rates."
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Old August 5th, 2005, 02:16 PM   #1048
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Business Times - 05 Aug 2005

S'pore-Hat Yai route is hot: Tiger Airways chief

By VEN SREENIVASAN

(SINGAPORE) Tiger Airways enjoys strong passenger traffic on its Singapore-Hat Yai route despite the insurgency troubles in the region, its chief executive Tony Davis said earlier this week.

He was responding to media reports and speculation that the low cost carrier (LCC) might be suffering poor loads as tourists shied away from the region, and could even cut back capacity on the route.

'Tiger Airways is extremely happy with our services to Hat Yai and has no plans to rethink our service,' he said. He added that the airlines' passenger loads between Singapore and Hat Yai were 'far higher' than had been cited in a recent BT report.

The report, quoting industry watchers, had said that Tiger could be filling less than a quarter of its planes on its flights from Singapore.

'This is completely untrue,' Mr Davis said. 'Tiger Airways flight loads between Singapore and Hat Yai are far higher.' He added that Tiger could not reveal the individual route performance figures for competitiveness reasons. Aside from AirAsia, none of the Singapore-based budget carriers reveal their passenger load factors.

The airline operates 10 flights a week between Singapore and Hat Yai.

Tiger Airways, which is 49 per cent owned by Singapore Airlines, appears to be still flying high while its two local competitors, Valuair and Qantas-controlled JetStar Asia, have been forced to merge after finding the going rather tough in the wake of high fuel prices and protected skies.

Analysts have generally regarded Tiger Airways and Malaysia's AirAsia as being the two strongest LCC players in the region.

Recently, Mr Davis told the media that Tiger Airways had surpassed its first phase of sustainability of the LCC business model.

The airline has just placed out a US$500 million order for eight new Airbus A320 planes, effectively tripling its fleet size to twelve planes.

The airline flies to 11 destinations in six countries, with some routes such as Manila apparently enjoying robust loads.

Its other strong load sectors are said to be Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old August 10th, 2005, 04:43 PM   #1049
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monkey
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%
Rolling 12 month passenger totals to July 2005:
EasyJet = 28,725,408
Ryanair = 30,275,805

Percentage increase in passengers since July 2004:
EasyJet = 22.7%
Ryanair = 29%

Load factor (ie percentage bums on seats) in July 2005:
EasyJet = 85.2%
Ryanair = 90%



Ryanair's figures are absolutely amazing. 29% growth, 90% load factor, and an annual total punching through the 30 million barrier!! And EasyJet is never far behind....
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Old August 13th, 2005, 05:58 AM   #1050
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easyJet slumps as Icelandair plays down bid talk
BNP downgrades

12 August 2005

LONDON (AFX) - Shares in easyJet PLC slumped in morning deals as Icelandair played down speculation it is poised to make an imminent bid for the no-frills airline, dealers said.

Sentiment in the stock was further hit as Exane BNB downgraded its rating to 'neutral' from 'outperform' on valuation following 7 pct gains yesterday on the back of the takeover speculation.

Today's Financial Times quoted Hannes Smarason, chairman of FL Group, the parent company of Icelandair, as saying there is 'no statement coming' today as he denied his company was behind yesterday's heavy buying.

Furthermore, easyJet founder Stelios Haji-Iannou told the same newspaper that he was not a seller at current levels, saying the stock is undervalued.

In response, UBS reiterated its 'neutral' stance and said any FL bid would face issues, as easyJet articles of association prevent non-UK parties from holding more than 40 pct.

The broker also argued that launching a bid after FL-related speculation has bid up the price to an additional 150 pct above the initial 120 pence level would be 'an odd strategy'.

UBS believes there's at least 40 pence of bid speculation in the price, so if FL does not bid, it looks to be a longish way down from here.

Meanwhile, BNP said this year, the stock has been re-rated by the market due to the improvement in both unit revenues and unit costs and, more recently, as a result of bid speculation.

It advised investors to continue to hold the stock but buying in at this price is speculative.

In a note to clients, the broker said the outperformance of the share in the past week was triggered by Icelandair lifting its stake from 11.5 pct to 13 pct last Friday.

BNP said the takeover is looking increasingly likely given the increased stake and the developments at easyJet board level.

It added Stelios Haji-Iannou, who alongside his family hold 40.5 pct of the company, would be prepared to sell at the right price given his need to fund his other easyGroup ventures, such as easyCruise and easyHotel.

At 10.12 am, shares in easyJet were 5-1/4 pence lower at 299-1/4.
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Old August 15th, 2005, 01:08 AM   #1051
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^
Hopefully it'll expand its route faster when it receive it's 8 A320.....
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Old August 23rd, 2005, 05:28 PM   #1052
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23 August 2005

Tiger Airways to breakeven in three years: CEO
By Anjana Menon, Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE : Tiger Airways will take up to three years to breakeven, according to CEO Tony Davis in an exclusive interview with Channel NewsAsia.

And it is some two years later than targeted initially.

When the budget airliner was first launched by Singapore Airlines and its partners last year, the carrier said it was aiming to turn in a profit within the first year of operations.

But the going has been tough, amid keen competition and rising oil prices.

Still, despite signs of consolidation in the industry, Tiger Airways says it is focusing on expanding its business even if that means taking a longer time to breakeven.

Said Tiger Airways' CEO Tony Davis: "The airline industry has very high startup costs. You have to plan for long term success and long term growth and that's what we're doing. When you are investing and spending a lot of money in developing routes, taking on new aircraft and recruiting new staff, it makes short-term financial performance difficult. We've always looked at three-year programme for individual routes to become more profitable.''

Tiger Airways says it will continue to push for more routes and alliances to serve markets such as China.

"We are taking to potential partners across the region but we are also developing our route network,'' said Davis.

It may also be close to offering routes to India.

"Talks are ongoing with the India government this week and we're hopeful that it will result in additional rights being granted to Tiger Airways to start services to India," said Davis.

Tiger Airways is one of the few budget carriers that are tipped by industry analysts to survive the consolidation in the sector.- CNA /ls

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Old August 24th, 2005, 07:15 AM   #1053
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Ryanair refuses to make payments to clients
23 August 2005
Irish Times

Ryanair is among a group of airlines refusing to pay new EU passenger compensation payments.

Since February, when new EU compensation rules for airline passengers came into force, the number of complaints and queries received by airlines has increased fourfold.

But the EU legislation has also created an unprecedented legal quagmire, according to several airline executives and aviation authorities that are challenging the rules in court.

Some airlines also say the rules have left them with an unsustainable financial risk. Low-cost carriers in particular insist they could be forced to reimburse many times the actual price of a ticket.

The EU compensation scheme is not based on the actual ticket price but instead uses a complex rising scale for what passengers can claim for events such as flight delays.

Ryanair, Europe's largest low-cost airline, is among the airlines that have so far resisted paying the new compensation claims. Jim Callaghan, its head of regulatory affairs, says the new rules are "a complete mess".

Ryanair, he says, recently had a family of five that paid a total of €168 for their flights but were asking for compensation of €1,980 following a cancellation due to weather. In another case a woman who paid €46 for her flight was asking for €400. "This is how insane the situation is," he said.

Early next month, the advocate general of the European Court of Justice, the EU's highest court, is expected to give an opinion on the rules, following challenges by the International Air Transport Association and the European Low Fares Airlines Association.

(Financial Times Service)
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Old August 29th, 2005, 01:07 PM   #1054
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29 August 2005

Singapore budget carrier Tiger Airways hits half-million passenger mark

SINGAPORE - Singapore budget carrier Tiger Airways said Monday it has already carried half a million passengers before reaching its first full year of operations next month.

The lucky 500,000th passenger was a man taking a flight from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam on Monday. He was presented with a bottle of champagne and a pair of return tickets to any Tiger Airways destination.

"We are absolutely delighted to hit the half a million passenger mark ahead of our first anniversary of operations," Tiger Airways chief executive Tony Davis said in a statement.

He said this showed Asian travellers have "fully embraced the concept of budget air travel" through which they normally book through the Internet and sacrifice legroom, meals and in-flight services for cheaper tickets.

Tiger Airways, which is 49-percent owned by Singapore Airlines, first took to the air on September 15, 2004.

The carrier currently flies from Singapore to 10 cities in Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia, as well as to Macau.

From October 30, it will start flights from Singapore to Krabi in Thailand and between Macau and Clark Field in the Philippines.

While Tiger Airways has survived its first year of operations, Southeast Asia's highly competitive low-cost airline industry saw its first merger last month in a sign of turbulence ahead for the sector.

Qantas-backed Jetstar Asia and Singapore-based Valuair announced in July they will form a new company that will own and operate both carriers.

Analysts have said that tougher competition, soaring jet fuel costs and continued protection by governments of their domestic aviation industries are likely to lead to more mergers. - AFP/ir

Copyright © 2005 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved.
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Old August 29th, 2005, 01:12 PM   #1055
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news on budget aviation here is getting less and less frequent...
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Old August 30th, 2005, 03:40 PM   #1056
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30 August 2005
Tiger Airways to offer S$1 fares between Singapore and Hatyai

SINGAPORE : The price war among Singapore's budget carriers has intensified.

Tiger Airways has fired the latest salvo by saying it will offer promotional fares every Wednesday from now till the end of September to celebrate its first anniversary of ticket sales.

The airline will kick off the promotion on Wednesday with a special one day sale of air-tickets between Singapore and Hatyai at just S$1 each.

Tiger current flies to 10 cities in 6 countries, including Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.

It will start flying to the Thai resort of Krabi on October 30 as well as operate regional flights between Macau and Manila. - CNA /ct

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Old August 31st, 2005, 07:45 PM   #1057
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Ryanair Holdings: Cuts 12 Flights A Week At Newquay
31 August 2005
Edited Press Release

LONDON (Dow Jones)--Ryanair said Wednesday it will withdraw 12 flights per week or 100,000 passengers per annum at Newquay airport following the decision by Cornwall County Council to impose a GBP5 surcharge on passengers and visitors to the region.

Speaking this morning, Michael Cawley, Deputy CEO of Ryanair, said: "Ryanair has always made it very clear to Cornwall County Council that their airport and region is part of a competitive price sensitive market that must compete with 84 other low fare destinations from London Stansted. Under the right conditions this market is capable of delivering huge economic benefits to the region and in excess of 200,000 passengers per annum.

"Cornwall County Council's ridiculous decision to introduce a GBP5 tax per departing passenger would result in increased revenue of GBP250,000 for the Council and a reduced income for the region of GBP10.5M leaving Cornwall worse off to the effect of GBP10M per annum in terms of expenditure by visitors brought by Ryanair from London.

"With this type of misguided economics is it any wonder that regional tourism in the U.K. is suffering. The benefits which incoming flights can deliver to regions such as Cornwall are incalculable and far exceed the derisory income, which will be derived by the Council as a result of this tax.

"In the light of the inevitable reduction in demand, which will ensue from this increase in the cost of travel, Ryanair has decided to reduce its schedule to a daily flight and will obviously keep this under review with the possibility of further reductions in the future if demand deteriorates further".
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Old September 3rd, 2005, 04:40 AM   #1058
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EasyJet appoints ex-RAC boss as new CEO
By Michael Smith

LONDON, Sept 1 (Reuters) - British low-cost airline easyJet selected Andrew Harrison, the former boss of UK motor services firm RAC, as its new chief executive on Thursday.

Harrison, 48, will replace the airline's long-serving boss Ray Webster, who is retiring in December.

EasyJet has been searching for a successor since Webster announced in May he would be stepping down earlier than scheduled to spend more time in his native New Zealand.

"It is a good choice. He ticks all the boxes. He has financial experience and, crucially, big company experience. It is going to give the company a new lease of life," BNP Paribas analyst Geoff Van Klaveren said.

Shares in the airline rose 1.1 percent to 295 pence by 0934 GMT. The stock is trading near 15-month highs despite record high fuel costs and stiff competition.

Harrison left RAC after the group was taken over by insurance giant Aviva earlier this year for 1.1 billion pounds ($2 billion).

Analysts pointed to Harrison's track record and experience in a consumer-focused company as a positive signal for easyJet.

He joined Lex Service in 1996 as chief executive and oversaw its transformation from a vehicle distribution company into RAC plc, a well-known UK services company.

"In addition, Andrew has delivered strong top and bottom line growth, improved cash generation, introduced cost efficiencies and inspired employees in a service industry," easyJet Chairman Colin Chandler said.

Webster has been with easyJet since it was launched in 1995 with two leased aircraft and flew only from its base at Luton Airport near London to Edinburgh and Glasgow.

EasyJet, which has since expanded aggressively on short-haul European routes, raised earnings forecasts last month after demand for flights and cost cuts helped it offset higher fuel costs.

Businessman and easyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou owns 41 percent of easyJet along with his family.

Analysts had expected an external candidate, though Harrison had not been widely tipped. EasyJet non-executive Colin Day resigned from the airline after failing to agree on terms to take on the role, local newspapers reported.

The company is still searching for a new commercial director.
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Old September 5th, 2005, 06:10 PM   #1059
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Ryanair Aug Passengers +27%
5 September 2005
Edited Press Release

LONDON (Dow Jones)--Ryanair Holdings Monday said the airline carried over 3.26 million passengers in August, an increase of 27% on the same period last year.

The August load factor was 91% compared with 92% a year ago, while the Internet sales percentage was 98% from 97% last year.

The airline carried 3,257,009 passengers in August 2005, compared with 2,565,185 a year ago.
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Old September 6th, 2005, 04:18 AM   #1060
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05 September 2005

Low-cost carriers hold off imposing fuel surcharge for now
By Anjana Menon, Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE : Singapore-based low-cost carriers appear to be holding off imposing a fuel surcharge for now, despite oil prices hovering at their highest levels ever.

Jet fuel accounts for about a third of any carrier's operating costs.

For now, some budget carriers say they will concentrate on keeping the tourists flying to boost revenues.

Oil prices have soared nearly 60 percent in the past year.

But that hasn't made the likes of Tiger Airways impose fuel surcharges to recover the cost from passengers.

And Tiger Airways says it is not likely to in the near future.

Said Tony Davis, Tiger Airways CEO, "We have a very robust business plan that enables us to grow the business. Clearly higher oil prices are something we would prefer aren't there, but it does affect all other airlines. It's consistently the low-fare airlines like Tiger Airways that manages all of our costs exceptionally well that are able to cope with these higher oil prices and continue to offer lower fares. And that's what we aim to do."

Other carriers such as ValuAir and JetStar could not be reached for comment.

For the moment, Tiger says it is capitalising on record tourist arrivals into Singapore to boost its sales.

The latest data for July shows more than 800,000 tourists came to Singapore, led by Indonesia and China.

But analysts say there will be challenges.

Said Kevin Scully, managing director of NRA Capital, "Singapore's problem has been that it has seen the number of days of stay for tourists falling and I think the key issue for us is now to try and extend it by half a day or even a day."

An expert on regional tourism says Singapore could use its strategic location to its advantage.

Said Christine Ennew, professor of marketing at the University of Nottingham, "Singapore might be able to position itself as a base for seeing more exotic parts of Asia."

For now, budget carriers like Tiger Airways and JetStar Asia are still ringing in the numbers, with hotel occupancies at nearly 90 percent. - CNA /ct

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