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Old April 14th, 2006, 05:19 AM   #1261
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April 12, 2006
Qantas to axe Australian Airlines, expand Jetstar
It will focus on low-cost carrier as part of efforts to reclaim market share in international routes

QANTAS Airways will axe its Queensland-based Australian Airlines brand and focus on building its discount carrier Jetstar, expanding its international routes, alongside the full-service carrier.

Jetstar's cost base is 40 per cent less than Qantas' and 30 per cent less than Australian Airlines' - a key advantage in the face of record-high jet fuel prices.

'Because of the success of Jetstar, its ability to get a very, very competitive cost base, also the success of Qantas itself, we felt that we only wanted two brands,' Qantas chief executive (CEO) Geoff Dixon told reporters yesterday. 'Jetstar will be grown aggressively over the next three years while we continue to expand Qantas' international operations.'

He is expanding Jetstar to draw back international travellers from rivals Singapore Airlines and Emirates, which have cut Qantas' overseas market share in Australia by 11 per cent in the past 10 years.

Australian Airlines, a one-class airline that flies to select holiday destinations in Asia, had recently struggled to reach growth targets.

Qantas said Jetstar would fly to new destinations including Vietnam and Thailand, and add new daily flights from Sydney to Osaka.

Jetstar had created 1,300 jobs since it began operating in 2004 and expected a further 550 jobs to be created by the middle of next year, Mr Dixon added.

It will also put on five flights a week to Honolulu, alongside three existing Qantas flights a week.

The proposed new international route network is subject to regulatory approval.

Jetstar was originally set up to compete in the domestic market with budget airline Virgin Blue. It will initially use six Airbus A330-200 aircraft before upgrading to 12 Boeing 787s.

The 311-seat B-787 Dreamliners, which will join the fleet in August 2008, are being bought as part of Qantas's A$20 billion (S$23.5 billion) fleet reinvestment.

Jetstar CEO Alan Joyce said the budget carrier plans to grow first by reclaiming market share on international routes, with Qantas' share out of Australia now at 30 per cent. 'With the 787s, we're planning to have a network hopefully some day that will fly to Europe. Our intention is to recover the Qantas share in a number of different markets.'

Qantas shares fell 1.1 per cent to A$3.50 in a firmer market, with rising oil prices weighing on the airline.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG NEWS

STRONG GROWTH

Jetstar would fly to new destinations including Vietnam and Thailand, and add new daily flights from Sydney to Osaka. It will also put on five flights a week to Honolulu

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved
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Old April 20th, 2006, 05:06 PM   #1262
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Ryanair Complains ENAC Bans To European Commission
20 April 2006
Edited Press Release

LONDON (Dow Jones)--Ryanair Holdings PLC complained Thursday against ENAC for banning the airline's low fares flights on the Rome (Ciampino) - Alghero route after May 01st.

Ryanair has complained to the European Commission against the abuse of the PSO rules in Italy whereby the operation of some commercially viable routes is being granted exclusively to selected Italian carriers in order to funnel more state aid to these airlines.

Ryanair has also applied to the Administrative Court in Rome to ensure that over 10,000 Italian consumers who are already booked to fly on this route after May 1st are not denied travel because of ENAC's anti-competitive favouritism towards Italian carriers.

Ryanair's Head of Regulatory Affairs & Company Secretary, Jim Callaghan, said: "The Italian Government's attempt to impose a Public Service Obligation on this route is ludicrous. We are confident that the European Commission and the Italian courts will put an end to this anti-competitive and illegal behaviour.

"We are assuring passengers that we will continue to fight for low fares, competition and choice for Italian consumers on the Rome to Alghero route".
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Old April 22nd, 2006, 09:44 PM   #1263
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EasyJet takes Italy to court over 'ludicrous' ban on flights
22 April 2006
The Independent

EasyJet vowed yesterday to press ahead with legal action against the Italian government after it was prevented from launching a new low-cost route between Milan and Sardinia.

Italy's National Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) refused easy-Jet permission to begin services even though it has already sold 13,000 seats on the route and was due to fly 149 passengers to the Sardinian city of Olbia yesterday on the inaugural flight.

The Italian Transport Ministry blocked easy Jet from starting operations in competition with the Italian carrier Meridiana by designating Milan-Olbia as a "public service obligation" (PSO) route. This gives governments the right to determine which airlines fly the route.

To try to get around the PSO restriction, which applies only to "the transport of passengers for remuneration", easy Jet proposed to operate the route for free, to highlight what it claimed was a "ludicrous" breach of European law. But the Italian authorities also prevented it from flying on this basis.

EasyJet, whose chief executive is Andrew Harrison, had already filed a legal challenge in Rome's administrative court against the Italian government as well as lodging a complaint with the European Commission over what it claims is a flagrant breach of EU law. The court is expected to rule on the case in the next two weeks.

The 149 passengers who turned up yesterday at Milan's Malpensa airport to fly with easyJet were re-directed instead to Meridiana, which had a specially prepared aircraft waiting. They were also offered aEUR100 voucher to fly on another easy Jet route in the future.

Arnaldo Munoz, easyJet's general commercial manager for southern Europe, described the ruling by the Italian authorities as "a clear example of blind bureaucracy". Mr Munoz added: "Not only is the Italian Government's attempt to impose a PSO on this attractive route ludicrous, it goes against every PSO principle and is a clear breach of European law. In order to sustain their untenable position, ENAC is willing to stamp on everything and everyone, and passengers first of all."

EasyJet's starting fare on the Milan-Olbia route was EUR30.99, which it said was far cheaper than the price offered by the monopoly operator Meridiana. A spokeswoman said: "This suppression on free competition only benefits a few high-cost, inefficient, incumbent airlines that receive subsidies. It also continues to promote high fares and hampers tourism in Sardinia."

EasyJet launched its Milan Malpensa base - its first in Italy - in March and also plans to start domestic services to Naples and Palermo in coming weeks.
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Old April 25th, 2006, 02:23 AM   #1264
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Ryanair falls as U.S. broker cuts rating on oil woes

DUBLIN, April 25 (Reuters) - Shares in European low-cost airline Ryanair fell as much as 5.2 percent on Monday after a U.S. broker cut its rating on the stock citing the rising cost of jet fuel.

"There are a couple of reasons for the fall," said one Dublin-based trader. "Obviously the price of oil is depressing the whole sector but also Raymond James, the U.S. broker, has downgraded both its rating and its earnings estimate."

Raymond James said earlier it had downgraded shares in Ryanair to an "outperform" from a "strong buy", citing the recent fresh spike in crude oil prices and the likelihood that such prices could be sustained for some time.

The broker also cut its price target on the stock to $56 and lowered its earnings estimate for the company's 2007 business year to $2.26 a share from $2.60.

Shares in the company were 2.5 percent weaker at $47.61 in the United States by 1604 GMT while stock in the Irish-based company closed down 4.9 in Dublin at 6.61 euros having earlier fallen as low as 6.59 euros.

Ryanair is seen as better placed than many airlines to cope with high oil prices thanks to one of the highest operating margins in the industry and a fleet of new, more fuel-efficient Boeing 737-800s.

However, unlike many of its rivals who have locked in cheaper jet fuel prices by purchasing hedging contracts, Ryanair is unhedged and therefore fully exposed to the impact higher oil prices.
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Old April 26th, 2006, 01:05 PM   #1265
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April 26, 2006
Tiger's China flights take off
Fares are some $200 less than full-service airlines

By Karamjit Kaur
Aviation Correspondent

TRAVELLERS to southern China can now enjoy low fares with Tiger Airways - the first budget airline to fly between Singapore and China - starting with flights to Guangzhou, Haikou and Shenzhen.

Return fares, excluding taxes and surcharges, start at $124, or about $200 less than what full-service airlines like Singapore Airlines (SIA) and China Southern charge.

Tiger passengers will also pay a lower airport tax in Singapore since the airline operates out of Changi's one-month-old Budget Terminal where the departure tax is $13, compared to $21 at the two main terminals.

The first flight to Guangzhou took off from the new terminal yesterday.

Tiger is flying thrice a week to Guangzhou, according to its website. But already, there are plans to fly there more often, said the airline's chief executive officer Tony Davis in a statement yesterday. He added that details will follow soon.

Tiger, which started operating in 2004, will fly to Haikou four times a week and to Shenzhen three times a week, according to its website. Its maiden fight to Haikou takes off today, and to Shenzhen tomorrow.

The airline's entry into the Singapore-China market is expected to give the tourism and hospitality industry in both countries a shot in the arm, observers said.

Mr Kien Nguan Tee, Singapore Tourism Board's assistant area director (South China), said in a statement: 'This development in air transport connecting the two countries provides more choice for Chinese travellers coming to Singapore for business and leisure.'

Air traffic between the two countries has more than doubled from 134 flights a week in February 2002 to 338 flights a week in February this year, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore. Passenger numbers have jumped too, from 1.6 million in 2002 to almost 2.5 million last year.

With Tiger in the picture, consumers can also look forward to full-service airlines cutting fares to protect their turf as they have done in other markets also served by budget airlines, said Ms Alicia Seah, general manager of SA Tours.

Tiger Airways - a partnership between SIA, Temasek, the founders of Ireland's Ryanair and United States-based business strategy consultants Indigo Partners - is one of three Singapore-registered budget carriers.

The other two - Jetstar Asia and Valuair - are both owned and run by Orangestar Investment Holdings, backed by Australia's Qantas.

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Old May 3rd, 2006, 01:43 PM   #1266
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Business Times - 03 May 2006

Orangestar shareholders set to take up 80% of rights issue


Proceeds of $36m needed to keep Jetstar, Valuair in business


By VEN SREENIVASAN

(SINGAPORE) Shareholders of Orangestar, which operates Jetstar Asia and Valuair, have agreed to subscribe to most of the rights shares that the company is placing out in a bid to raise $36 million.

Orangestar Investment Holdings chief executive officer Chong Phit Lian said that key shareholders had committed themselves to take up about 80 per cent of the 144 million shares on offer at 25 cents each.

'We will be placing out the remaining 20 per cent of the shares to other investors who have indicated interest,' she said, without disclosing who these parties are.

The shares, which are being issued at a 75 per cent discount to the prevailing price, are intended to raise critically needed funds to keep Orangestar's two budget airlines flying.

Orangestar was created last year when Qantas-led investors controlling Jetstar Asia took over equally-troubled Valuair, and subsequently placed both airlines under the Orangestar umbrella, though keeping them as two separate and distinct sister airlines. But the two carriers have continued to struggle amid soaring fuel prices, aggressive competition and protected skies.

It is estimated that they burnt up more than $100 million in under two years of operations, and faced the distinct possibility of running out of money this year.

At a meeting last month, Orangestar shareholders even voted to scale down the fleet from eight A320 planes to just six.

This comes after Jetstar last year declined to take delivery of several leased planes.

It is uncertain if this decision to scale down the fleet had anything to do with Jetstar's decision to suddenly stop its Singapore-Kolkata service from this month.

Meanwhile, there has also been talk within local aviation circles that Valuair might pull out of either its Surabaya or Denpasar service, both of which are said to have relatively low loads. Besides these two cities, it also flies to Jakarta.

But Ms Chong said that there were no such plans at the moment.

Orangestar's leading shareholder is Qantas, with a 44.5 per cent stake.

Singapore investment company Temasek Holdings is the second biggest shareholder with just under 30 per cent, while minorities led by former Valuair shareholders and individuals like Tony Chew, chairman of Del Monte Pacific, hold the remainder.

Ms Chong did not reveal which of these shareholders declined to pump in more funds.

But she said that both Qantas and Temasek - the key shareholders - remained firmly committed to the company, which suggests that some of the minorities may have decided to cut their losses and stay out.

Ms Chong, who is the Singapore-based airline group's fourth chief executive - and the first Singaporean to head the company - sounded upbeat about the prospects for Jetstar going forward.

'As you know, Qantas has decided to shut down Australian Airlines, and its routes will be taken over by Jetstar International,' she said.

'This gives us an opportunity to expand into interlining operations with Jetstar International at our common destinations. We will be in a position to connect passengers to and from these destinations into our route network.'

She also added that Orangestar would maintain two distinct brands for now, despite criticism that it would be more cost-efficient to merge the two under one brand.

'There are issues of AOC (Air Operator's Certificate) which have to be sorted out,' she said, in a reference to Singapore's 'use-it-or-lose-it' policy under which an airline that ceases operations also loses its traffic rights, which can then be put up for bid among competitors vying for its routes.

Ms Chong said that Orangestar expects to place out all the rights shares shortly.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 09:46 AM   #1267
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May 4, 2006
Tiger leaps to Changi's top 10 list
Budget airline joins heavy- weights such as British Airways, SIA that carried most passengers to and through Changi last year

By Karamjit Kaur
Aviation Correspondent

LESS than two years after it took to the skies, budget carrier Tiger Airways has made it onto the list of Changi Airport's 10 largest carriers.

The achievement places Tiger alongside heavyweights like British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Singapore Airlines, which were also among the 10 airlines that carried the most passengers to and through Changi last year.

At an inaugural event at the Singapore Marriott Hotel last night, Tiger and 25 other airlines were recognised for helping to maintain Changi's status as a leading regional aviation hub. The airport now boasts a network of more than 4,000 weekly flights, operated by 82 airlines to 181 cities in 57 countries.

There were four categories of winners.

Japan Airlines, Korean Air and Northwest Airlines were among the 10 that recorded the highest volume of cargo last year.

Awards were also given out to airlines that saw the highest increase in passenger and cargo traffic to and through Changi Airport last year.

Among the five winners for cargo were Qatar Airways and China Eastern Airlines, while Qatar was also among the top five in the passenger category.

Tiger - a partnership between SIA, government investment company Temasek Holdings, the founders of Irish low-cost airline Ryanair and United States-based marketing and business strategy consultants Indigo Partners - flew more than one million passengers between September 2004 and March this year.

It expects to fly one million more by the end of this year, said Mr Chris Ward, the airline's director of operations.

Mr Ward said Tiger was honoured to receive the recognition, particularly as it is the only low-cost airline on the list.

Mr David Ho, Qatar Airways' manager in Singapore, said the airline carried 270 per cent more cargo to and through Changi in the last financial year, which ended on March 31.

Their passenger numbers also went up 46 per cent.

Transport Minister Yeo Cheow Tong, who gave out the awards, said that the success of an airport is determined not just by its infrastructure or technical expertise.

'Rather, it is the quality of an airport's relationship with its partners that distinguish outstanding airports from mediocre ones,' he said.

After being hit by the Sars virus in 2003, Singapore has introduced several incentives to attract new airlines and encourage those already flying here to expand operations.

The most recent - a $300 million fund that will last until 2008 - was announced in January.

Among other incentives, airlines get at least a 15 per cent discount on landing fees, as well as office and warehouse rental.

To help them cut costs further and boost efficiency, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore is also giving airlines free use of space to set up self-service check-in kiosks, Mr Yeo said.

The strong relationship with its airline partners has helped Changi grow year after year.

Last year, it handled a record of 32.4 million passengers and 1.83 million tonnes of cargo.

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Old May 8th, 2006, 11:52 AM   #1268
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monkey
Rolling 12 month passenger totals to March 2006:
EasyJet = 30,921,244
Ryanair = 34,768,813

Percentage increase in passengers since March 2005:
EasyJet = 14.5%
Ryanair = 17%

Load factor (ie percentage bums on seats) in March 2006:
EasyJet = 86.3%
Ryanair = 79%
Rolling 12 month passenger totals to April 2006:
EasyJet = 31,331,115
Ryanair = 35,550,967

Percentage increase in passengers since April 2005:
EasyJet = 16.8%
Ryanair = 29%

Load factor (ie percentage bums on seats) in April 2006:
EasyJet = 86.4%
Ryanair = 85%
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Old May 11th, 2006, 01:30 PM   #1269
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Business Times - 11 May 2006

Tiger Airways to issue fuel purchase tender

Carrier may hedge tools to combat rising oil prices

(SINGAPORE) The country's low-cost carrier Tiger Airways will soon issue its first fuel purchase tender and is considering hedging tools to fend off lofty oil prices as consumption rises, its chief said on yesterday.

Tiger projects its fuel demand to grow between 50 and 100 per cent as it receives three new A320 aircrafts later this year and another three in 2007, taking its total fleet to 12.

The airline, which currently conducts joint fuel purchases with Singapore Airlines in some airports, plans to issue the invitation to suppliers over the next two to three weeks, chief executive officer Tony Davis told Reuters.

'As we get bigger, our (fuel) purchase requirement increases. As we enter more diverse markets, it is the right time to invite parties to work with us in a fuel procurement programme which helps in cost management,' said Mr Davis, who did not give details on the hedging instruments.

Industry group IATA says airlines lost a total of US$6 billion last year, including big losses by US carriers, mainly due to higher costs of jet fuel, which had nearly tripled from the US$31.05 a barrel seen in May 2001. Fuel has become an increasingly large percentage of the total cost base for airlines, above the 30 per cent norm.

Airlines can save money if physical prices for jet fuel rise higher than the level they paid ahead of time on the paper or futures markets, though may lose out if physical prices fall. Hedging instruments, often done through banks, consist mainly of swaps and options.

'High oil prices put pressure on everyone and we are keeping our eyes firmly on oil costs,' Mr Davis said, but declined to comment on the airline's fuel consumption.

Benchmark jet fuel prices in Singapore - Asia's oil trading hub - hit a record of US$90.10 a barrel in late April, before easing to US$85 at yesterday's Asian close.

Tiger is 49 per cent-owned by Singapore Airlines, which suffered its fifth-straight quarter of lower profits due to record fuel costs.

Other shareholders include the founder of Dublin-based Ryanair and Singapore investment company Temasek Holdings.

Rival Malaysia's AirAsia Bhd said earlier this year that it will use 4 million barrels of jet fuel, or 11,000 barrels daily, in 2006, up over a third from last year.

Tiger currently flies to 16 Asia-Pacific destinations.

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Old May 17th, 2006, 05:02 AM   #1270
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May 17, 2006
Tiger soars in China and ready to add more flights
It's waiting for Chinese authority's nod; also seeking second base in Asia

By Karamjit Kaur
Aviation Correspondent

IT IS just three weeks since Tiger Airways roared into the Chinese market but seats are selling so well it is raring to add more flights.

From July, it hopes to fly to Guangzhou five times a week, instead of three times as of now, and to Haikou every day, up from four times a week - and has already applied for permission to China's civil aviation authority.

The air rights are already available from Singapore, chief executive officer Tony Davis told The Straits Times yesterday.

Tiger also flies to Shenzhen three times a week.

Mr Davis said: 'We always knew China would be a key market but demand has far exceeded our expectations in this case.'

Tiger's popularity stems from the strong cultural and trade links between the two countries and the airline's low fares, he said.

Return fares, excluding taxes and surcharges, start at $124, or about $200 less than what full-service airlines like Singapore Airlines (SIA) and China Southern Airlines charge.

In an interview, Mr Davis said Tiger - which now has six planes and will have nine by Christmas - will fly to 20 destinations by the year-end, up from 16 now.

He also confirmed that the carrier will set up a second base in Asia this year so it can fly to more destinations. This will allow the airline to get around restrictions set by governments that dictate through bilateral air services agreements where carriers can or cannot fly.

Tiger is in talks to launch a joint-venture airline for the second base but Mr Davis would not say with whom.

'We are in serious discussions with two to three different parties,' he said. 'There are issues that need to be sorted out but we will have the second base this year.'

Indonesia's Adam Air and PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines both said in February they were in talks with Tiger.

Tiger, flying since September 2004, is the only budget carrier on the top 10 list of airlines which carried the most passengers to and through Changi Airport last year, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.

Analysts like Mr Shukor Yusof, Standard & Poor's aviation editor, point out that Tiger is lucky to have backers with deep pockets and a boss like Mr Davis who seems to have a free hand in running the show.

Since moving to Changi's new Budget Terminal which opened on March 26, Tiger has managed to cut its costs by about half, said Mr Davis, who started at British Airways and celebrated his 20th anniversary in the airline business last Friday.

He had no straight answer when asked if fares have come down as a result and said: 'Moving to the Budget Terminal means we are able to consistently offer our customers low fares.

'Our planes have never been fuller and that speaks volumes about where we are vis-a-vis our competitors.'

Tiger Airways - a partnership between SIA, investment company Temasek Holdings, the founders of Irish low-cost airline Ryanair, and United States-based marketing and business strategy consultants, Indigo Partners - is not yet making money but it is 'cash flow positive', Mr Davis said, proudly adding: 'Some of our competitors are still at the burning cash stage.'

It was an obvious dig at Qantas-backed Orangestar Investment Holdings - owner of Jetstar Asia and Valuair - which last month asked shareholders for $36 million to stay in business, having almost exhausted the $60 million that was pumped in last July.

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Old May 18th, 2006, 02:48 PM   #1271
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Business Times - 18 May 2006

Tiger Airways files complaint

It alleges that Jetstar Asia is planning tocollude with parent Qantas

By VEN SREENIVASAN

(SINGAPORE) Singapore Airlines' low-cost associate Tiger Airways has filed a complaint with competition regulators, protesting that its budget-airline rival Jetstar Asia is planning to collude with its own parent, Qantas.

BT understands from industry insiders that Tiger Airways, which is 49 per cent owned by SIA, has filed a complaint with the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) over plans by Singapore-based low-cost rival to offer interlining link-ups with Qantas and its sister airline Jetstar International, which will soon start international services from Sydney and Melbourne.

The CCS is a statutory body established in January last year under the Competition Act (Chapter 50B) to prevent anti-competitive agreements between two or more independent competitors, or anti-competitive actions by associations of undertakings. Section 47 prohibits conduct which is an abuse of a dominant position in a market. The commission comes under the purview of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).

No details were available at press time and officials of Tiger Airways were not contactable.

However, Orangestar chief executive Chong Phit Lian told BT that Jet star, which is one of two airlines under the group (the other being Valuair), had made the necessary filings notifying the relevant authorities about its plans.

'We have followed proper procedures and informed the CCS of our plans,' Ms Chong said. 'What we want to do is offer better choices and a wider range of products to our customers. And by working together with Qantas, we also make better use of the strength of the Singapore hub.'

Qantas, meanwhile, is believed to have filed similar notifications with the Australian Consumer Competition Commission.

Qantas is Orangestar's leading shareholder, with a 44.5 per cent stake, though this could have risen to almost 49 per cent following a recent cash call by the company. Orange star's other leading shareholder is Temasek Holdings, whose stake is said to have risen from around 30 per cent to almost 40 per cent after Orangestar placed out 144 million shares on offer at 25 cents each last month.

Speaking to BT last month, Ms Chong said that the shutdown of Qantas subsidiary Australian Airlines and Jetstar International's plans to start international flights offered the Singapore-based low-cost carrier an opportunity to expand into interlining operations with Jetstar International at common destinations.

'We will be in a position to connect passengers to and from these destinations into our route network.'

But Tiger Airways is apparently crying foul.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 08:33 PM   #1272
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easyJet hit by surging fuel costs as interim pre-tax loss deepens

LONDON, May 3, 2006 (AFP) - British low-cost airline easyJet said on Wednesday that its interim pre-tax loss stood at 40.3 million pounds (59 million euros, 74 million dollars) as it was hit by a spiralling fuel bill amid soaring oil prices and fierce competition.

The figure compared with a loss of 21.6 million pounds at the same stage the previous year. However, it beat easyJet's own forecasts for a loss of 45 million pounds.

Group revenue climbed 13.8 percent to 629.5 million pounds in the six-month period to March 31, 2006, the airline said in an official earnings release.

"Our stronger-than-expected first-half performance and a good Easter provide the basis for an improved full-year outlook," said easyJet chairman Andy Harrison.

"We are conscious that we have a big summer ahead, that the price of oil remains a risk, and we continue to operate in a highly competitive environment."

The airline added that it expected pre-tax profit for the full year to grow by between 10-15 percent compared with 2005.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 08:34 PM   #1273
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Ryanair Cancels Rome-Alghero Flights To May 24
3 May 2006

LONDON (Dow Jones)--Ryanair Holdings PLC (RYAAY) is canceling flights between Rome's Ciampino airport and Alghero in Sardinia through to May 24 after the Italian aviation authority refused to allow it to operate these flights.

The Irish budget carrier Wednesday said Enac, or the Italian National Civil Aviation Authority, has stopped these flights by imposing a 'public service obligation', or PSO, on the route. A PSO allows governments to determine which airlines fly routes in order to maintain a service to typically remote destinations.

Ryanair has appealed against the decision and the Administrative Court in Rome is due to hear the appeal May 11. It is likely to take a week for the court to make a decision, said the chief of regulatory affairs Jim Callaghan.

"Under E.U. law there is no justification for a PSO," Callaghan said. The Irish carrier argues there is sufficient commercial demand for travel between Rome and Alghero and the Italian authorities are seeking to protect domestic carriers.

Ryanair said passengers booked on a canceled flight will be entitled to a refund.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 08:39 PM   #1274
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Soccer-Ryanair may offer free tickets for goals against England

BERLIN, May 6 (Reuters) - Irish low-cost airline Ryanair could offer free tickets for each goal scored in the World Cup against England, the company's outspoken chief executive Michael O'Leary has told a German newspaper.

"That's something we can envision doing," O'Leary, an Irishman with a flair for publicity and known fondness for soccer and rugby, told weekly Welt am Sonntag.

"100,000 tickets for each goal against England or something like that."

If he proceeds with the plan, O'Leary will have to hope that British passengers, who are responsible for a big portion of Ryanair's revenues, do not abandon the airline. Ireland did not qualify for the World Cup, which starts in Germany on June 9.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 08:41 PM   #1275
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Ryanair launches service to Hungarian lake resort

BUDAPEST, May 9, 2006 (AFP) - British budget airline Ryanair Tuesday inaugurated its first service to Hungary, with a new route connecting London to the central European lake resort of Balaton.

The first flight, with 145 on board, departed from London Stansted and landed at the brand new airport of Sarmellek, 183 kilometres (114 miles) southwest of Budapest, near the western tip of central Europe's largest lake.

Hungarian officials are hoping the service, with three flights a week, will boost tourism around the picturesque lake, which for long was the premier summer vacation destination for Hungarians.

Now many travel to Croatian resorts along the Adriatic Sea or to other European destinations using budget airlines, taking away potential tourism revenue from lakeside operators at Balaton.

Besides London, the Sarmellek airport will soon welcome flights from 11 other European destinations and could see passenger numbers top 300,000 annually, according to Agoston Gubicza, director of the airport operator Fly Balaton.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 08:43 PM   #1276
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Ryanair opens first operations base in France

MARIGNANE, France, May 10, 2006 (AFP) - The Irish low-budget airline Ryanair announced the establishment here Wednesday of its first operations base in France from which it will offer flights to north Africa and Europe.

The airline will operate from a reconfigured freight terminal that the Marseille-Marignane airport in southern France plans to open in September. The facility, reserved for low-budget carriers and capable of handling six aircraft at once, is expected to receive as many as 3.5 million passengers a year.

Ryanair said that beginning this November it hopes to carry nearly a million passengers a year to 13 destinations in north Africa and Europe, including Fez and Marakesh in Morocco, as well as London, Frankfurt, Rome and Oslo.

The carrier now has 16 bases in Europe. Wednesday's announcement was made by Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary, who said the carrier was in negotiations with 10 other European airports with a view to setting up operations bases.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 08:45 PM   #1277
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Ryanair to add 11 new routes out of northern Portugal

LISBON, May 10, 2006 (AFP) - Ryanair, Europe's largest low-cost airline, plans to add 11 new routes out of Oporto in northern Portugal over the next two years, the company's sales and marketing manager for Portugal said Wednesday.

The Dublin-based airline will begin four weekly direct flights between Oporto and Marseille in southern France in November, David Gering told the Lusa news agency.

Other routes have not yet been defined but likely candidates are Barcelona, Rome and Madrid as well as cities in Belgium, Britain and Germany, he added.

Ryanair, which began operating out of Oporto in January 2005, currently flies between Oporto and Dublin, Frankfurt, Liverpool, London and Paris.

The average seat occupancy rate of its flights from Oporto is between 75 and 85 percent, one of the highest rates of the European airports which it services, Gering said.

Ryanair also operates a daily flight between the southern Portuguese city of Faro in the tourist centre of Algarve and Dublin and three weekly flights between Faro and Brussels.

The airline reported its highest ever monthly passenger traffic in April, carrying 3.44 million passengers, which was up 29 percent from a year earlier.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 08:47 PM   #1278
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Ryanair condemned for misleading advertising

PARIS, May 17, 2006 (AFP) - Irish low-cost airline Ryanair has been ordered to pay 250,000 euros (319,000 dollars) to Air France-KLM for misleading and disparaging advertising that targeted the French-Dutch airline, court documents showed on Wednesday.

Air France-KLM had complained about an advertisement by Ryanair on its website that claimed: "Ryanair.com, 391 percent less expensive than Air France-KLM".

The French-Dutch group also objected to a slogan used by Ryanair of "Making the sky the cheapest place on earth", which was similar to the Air France-KLM slogan of "Making the sky the most beautiful place on earth".

In a judgement by a commercial court in Paris, delivered on May 12 and obtained by AFP, Ryanair was told that "the incriminated price comparison was not objective" and that the slogan was "misleading and therefore constitues unlawful comparative advertising".

The group, known for its aggressive advertising and brash style of its chief executive Michael O'Leary, was also found guilty of misusing the slogan of Air France-KLM which "amounted to acts of denigration".

Ryanair was ordered to pay 250,000 euros in compensation to the group.

The two companies are set to open a new front in their bitter fight for market share.

Ryanair said last Thursday that it had filed a complaint with the EU competition watchdog over alleged illegal aid of 1.0 billion euros given to Air France by the French government.

Air France denounced the statement by Ryanair as "a publicity stunt".
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Old May 24th, 2006, 03:14 PM   #1279
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May 24, 2006
Jetstar, Valuair in sync to offer multi-destination routes

JETSTAR Asia and Valuair, the two low-cost airlines that merged last July, have taken another step towards full integration - synchronising flight schedules to offer more destinations and quick transfers.

The move allows the airline to package and offer multi-destination routes via Singapore, including Bangkok-Bangalore, Bangalore-Hong Kong and Bangalore- Taipei. It also widens access to budget routes to Indonesia. For example, with a single ticket and check-in, a passenger can now fly Bangkok-Singapore on Jetstar and transfer to Valuair for the second leg to Jakarta, Surabaya or Bali.

Ms Chong Phit Lian, chief executive officer of Orangestar Investment Holdings, which owns and runs the two airlines, said in a statement: 'We now have a critical mass of routes, which allows us to provide seamless transfers for a passenger from one point in our network to another, while also providing a great value deal on the fare.'

The two airlines will shortly be synchronising more flights, Jetstar's spokesman said.

Coordinating schedules with Valuair is an effective way of getting around restrictions that currently ban Jetstar and other budget airlines from flying to key Indonesian cities, observers said. Valuair has rights to Jakarta, Surabaya and Bali, which means Jetstar can offer routes to Indonesia via Singapore.

The two airlines are now also served by the same ground-handling companies at Changi Airport.

Passenger, baggage and cargo handling as well as loading and unloading of aircraft are being carried out by Singapore Airport Terminal Services, while SIA Engineering Company takes care of technical ramp handling, which involves aircraft towing and parking for arrivals and departures.

Jetstar and Valuair planes are maintained by ST Aerospace.

KARAMJIT KAUR

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
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Old May 26th, 2006, 08:52 PM   #1280
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Ryanair inks deal for flights to north Africa

LONDON, May 25, 2006 (AFP) - Irish low-cost airline Ryanair said Thursday that it had signed a five-year agreement with the government of Morocco to fly to the north African country.

The deal will allow the carrier to "develop low-cost air access and tourism to the country from Ryanair's bases throughout Europe," it said in a statement which gave no financial details.

"Ryanair's commitment to establish up to 20 routes and carry close to one million passengers per annum on flights to Morocco is a vote of confidence by the airline in the excellence and attractiveness of Morocco as a destination," deputy chief executive Michael Cawley said in the statement.

The five-year deal covers most of the regional airports in Morocco and begins this month.

Ryanair's chief rival, British no-frills airline easyJet, is to begin flying to the Moroccan holiday resort of Marrakesh in July.
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