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Old June 7th, 2004, 02:16 AM   #141
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FR/U2 | Ryanair/EasyJet

Can anyone name me faster growing airlines in terms of total numbers of new passengers per year than Ryanair and EasyJet? In the last year Ryanair added 7.39 million new passengers:

March 2003 - 15.74m
March 2004 - 23.13m

EasyJet went from 11.4 million in 2002 to 20.3 million in 2003 - an annual increase of nearly 9 million passengers!!
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Old June 7th, 2004, 11:50 AM   #142
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As a matter of fact, Changi is one of the cheapest landing/parking airport fees in Asia, along with KLIA and even cheaper than CGK jakarta.

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Old June 7th, 2004, 04:32 PM   #143
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IATA World Summit 2004

Business Times - 07 Jun 2004

Low-cost airlines catalyst for change

The major airlines must react quickly to fundamental shifts says, PETER HARBISON

WHILE everyone is focused on the low-cost airline (LCA) phenomenon, we are overlooking the much more fundamental upheaval that is going on around these changes.

These changes are necessary to permit a real expansion of the LCA movement but in the process, they will also quickly transform the regulatory profile of the region.

That means much more rapid liberalisation and much greater opportunities for the major airlines too.

As a result of the changes, the Asia Pacific aviation industry has entered a massive transition phase. We are just starting to recognise that what is happening here is much more than an attack on the nature of the existing airlines by the remorseless low-cost model.

The old competitive rules are disappearing fast. The opening of aviation markets - in which low-cost operating models are one ingredient of a cocktail for rapid change - is forcing every airline and government in this region to think again.

Interestingly enough, this is not a one-way process. As always, Asia is sending a message back to the rest of the world too. We have imported a low-cost operational model which is essentially domestic. Now we are sending back a formula which works in international markets.

That's because something vitally important happened to the global aviation industry last month. Qantas announced it would establish a low-cost airline in Singapore. Why is that so important, with all the other things that are going on? By announcing that it will establish in Singapore, Qantas has shown how easy it is to 'adapt' the restrictive bilateral foreign ownership rules to permit third country operation.

In this context it is not important that it is a low-cost airline. More importantly, Qantas will be partnering with three local financial partners (including Singapore's investment company Temasek Holdings, but that's another story) - who will between them hold 50.1 per cent of the stock.

Thus Qantas is setting up what will be, for all practical purposes, a foreign subsidiary. In doing so it remains within the technical - or at least accepted - meaning of the bilateral requirement for 'substantial ownership and effective control' to be vested in nationals of the country. No other major carrier has previously established a foreign subsidiary carrier, without a local airline partner being involved. Qantas is in effect asserting a hybrid form of the right of establishment. There has been no suggestion by any of Singapore's neighbours that they will object to the new airline's designation. This could change the way the airline system works.

Singapore Airlines CEO, Chew Choon Seng, succinctly summed up these events by saying the Qantas-led Singapore LCA is a 'manifestation of the new competitive paradigm which SIA has to learn to compete with'.

All that's required for this to happen is a government like Singapore which - genuinely, not just technically, like the US - supports international aviation liberalisation. And an airline with investors who are prepared to support a foreign carrier.

But even this innovation owes a precedent to the low-cost movement. The cross-border joint venture model was pioneered earlier this year in Thailand by the star of Asia's low-cost revolution to date, AirAsia. This is an excellent case study of how low-cost airlines and liberalisation are working together. (The new Thai AirAsia is a Thai airline, with majority local ownership, but is effectively AirAsia, with some influential local financial investors).

But we are not only entering a new competitive paradigm. It is also a new high-growth paradigm.

The LCA model itself has the potential to unlock massive growth throughout Asia - and especially in China and India - which will be vital to the success of the fledgling low-cost scene in this region.

Nonetheless, when we look back in a couple of years, we will see that the wider (and in fact most far-reaching) feature of these new developments is the enormous acceleration of the liberalisation process in this region.

This will have a major effect also on the growth of network airlines.

The LCA phenomenon is the catalyst for this rapid change. The Qantas precedent should be a major eye-opener for every major airline - and airport - in the region. And globally.

The new generation of low-cost airlines in Asia represents a remarkable opportunity for national carriers, but incumbent operators are wrong in treating the low-cost emergents as a serious threat.

It is in fact a remarkable opportunity - once they are able to emerge from the state of denial which many of them have retreated to. The new low-cost, point-to-point thinking is already helping make complacent airlines much more efficient - which, by reducing their costs and prices and improving the airlines' customer targeting, will help them stimulate traffic growth well above forecast levels.

Low-cost airlines clearly are a catalytic force in the push for regional liberalisation. They are sure to become increasingly influential in terms of both airline restructuring and the pursuit of an effective government aviation policy.

But the major airlines are still in the box seat. Also, in the special nature of the Asia-Pacific market, still dominated by government regulation on international routes, the majors have the box seat in establishing their own low-cost subsidiaries.

In this, they have perhaps a year's headstart over the independents - the flag carriers will have first bite at the international routes available under bilaterals, they have no difficulty in rasing adequate funding, they can often rely on the parent airline's infrastructure (including aircraft and services) and do not have to face the usual public doubts affecting independent start-ups.

And they should take every effort to make the best of that opportunity.

The writer is director of the Sydney-based Centre for Asia-Pacific Aviation

Copyright © 2004 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old June 8th, 2004, 09:38 AM   #144
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Business Times - 08 Jun 2004

EDITORIAL
Low-cost carriers up in the air

IT is a sign of the times that Ryanair Holdings, Europe's biggest low-cost airline, shocked the market recently when it announced its first-ever quarterly loss since it was listed in 1997. Company officials blamed the threat of terrorist attacks, a weak pound sterling, rising oil prices and intense price competition.

The Dublin-based airline, whose holding company is also a shareholder of soon-to-be-launched Tiger Airways, posted a net loss of 3.3 million euros (S$6.9 million) for thethree months ended March 31 compared with net profit of 45.3 million euros a year earlier. Certainly, Ryanair faces cut-throat competition in its own market segment from the likes of both low-cost carriers, such as easyJet, and mainline network carriers such as British Airways. But then, Ryanair is not just any LCC. It is an icon of the genre, whose business model is widely emulated. So the difficulties faced by the airline should serve to remind LCCs in this part of the world that they remain vulnerable to the vagaries of an unpredictable and volatile market. No doubt, the news about Ryanair is being closely followed by the folks at Malaysia's AirAsia, Singapore's Tiger Airways and Valuair and Qantas' local start-up, Jetstar Asia.

In the last year or so, the conventional view here has been that these upstarts will start eating into regional network carriers' markets. They probably will. But LCCs in Asia face very different regulatory and operating conditions compared to their European and North American counterparts. This, together with the relatively less developed infrastructure, means regional LCCs enjoy access to fewer cheap municipal airports, compared to their European and US-based counterparts.

But certain cities are beginning to look into catering to LCCs. Singapore may soon build a low-cost terminal, while Malaysia is mulling over the idea of re-opening Subang airport as an LCC hub. However, the biggest danger LCCs faceis the regional network carriers. Regional carriers such as Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Thai have much stronger balance sheets and deeper pockets than their counterparts in the west.

Already, many of these mainline carriers have upped the ante on their low cost upstarts by offering full service flights to the same regional destinations at the same bargain basement prices. And they seem prepared to sustain this kind of irrational pricing for much longer than the LCCs can afford to do so.

Fuel prices

Then there is the issue of rising fuel prices. While the likes of SIA, Cathay Pacific Airways and Qantas have already slapped fuel surcharges on some airfares as oil prices soared above the US$40 per barrel level, Valuair and Thai AirAsia insist they have no plans to do likewise. And therein lies a contradiction: low cost means just that - low cost.

Stubbornly high fuel price at over US$40 per barrel does not fit into the equation of an LCC's operations, no matter how well hedged they may be. Industry experts expect 20 LCCs to be flying around the region by the middle of this decade.

It remains to be seen how many will survive for how long when faced with the double whammy of a sustained price war and high fuel prices.

Copyright © 2004 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old June 8th, 2004, 07:11 PM   #145
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JUNE 9, 2004
Valuair plans flights to China, India by end 2005
Excess rights exist in China and talks with Indian authorities should startsoon, says chairman of the budget carrier

By Karamjit Kaur

VALUAIR'S flights to Jakarta remain mired in a landing rights problem, but it is already planning to fly to China and India by the end of next year.

The budget carrier's chairman, Mr Lim Chin Beng, said yesterday that the final list of destinations is not up yet and that the team is still doing market studies.

Its stated targets are destinations within five hours' flying time of Singapore. This makes Guangzhou and Shanghai in China, and Hyderabad and Madras in India, probable targets.

'There should be no problem' with the China destinations, he said, as there are already excess rights available for Singapore carriers.

The number of flights airlines can mount and how many passengers they can carry are decided by bilateral agreements negotiated between governments.

'We expect to start negotiations with the Indian authorities soon to talk about air rights,' he told reporters on the sidelines of the two-day 60th annual general meeting of the International Air Transport Association (Iata), which ended yesterday.

But he declined to discuss the status of Valuair's negotiations for landing rights in Jakarta. It has been more than a month since the airline was forced to cancel its maiden flight to Jakarta because it did not get the rights in time.

Load factors for Valuair's Bangkok and Hong Kong services were encouraging, he said. Flights to and from Bangkok are almost 80 per cent full and, for Hong Kong, are more than 60 per cent full. To break even, it needs to fill 75 per cent of its seats.

Cargo is also doing well and now accounts for 10 to 15 per cent of total earnings, he said.

Valuair plans to launch its initial public offering in 'the next few years', said Mr Lim, adding that the airline is seeking to raise about $50 million to finance the leasing of more aircraft, from the current two, for the new routes.

Iata had Mr Lim join the chiefs of Aer Lingus, Kenya Airways, Air New Zealand and Virgin Blue on a panel to speak on making airlines more efficient.

Its message to the more than 600 delegates, from Iata's 227 airline members and other industry players, was clear: Relook your business processes, hire people who are dedicated and committed, and stay focused on what the customer wants.

Cutting costs does not mean no service, said Mr Lim. He believes that for an airline to succeed in Asia, it must provide some service.

He said: 'We cut costs in other areas. For example, we provide food but our box meals are $4 each, compared to Singapore Airlines, which I believe pays about $15 to $20 for each economy tray.'

Unlike SilkAir, which deploys six cabin attendants per flight, Valuair flies the same Airbus 320 aircraft with just four, one for each emergency exit, he said.

Aer Lingus chief William Walsh told the audience that the Dublin-based airline had slashed costs by more than 40 per cent in two years by, for example, aggressively promoting direct ticket sales and self check-in for passengers.

Iata hopes more airlines will make better use of technology and, for a start, has targeted switching over completely to electronic ticketing by the end of 2007.

Closing the Singapore meeting yesterday, Iata director-general Giovanni Bisignani said he was confident airlines would make good progress by the time Iata members gathered again in Tokyo next year for the next annual general meeting.

Copyright @ 2004 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.

Last edited by babystan03; June 9th, 2004 at 06:33 AM.
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Old June 8th, 2004, 07:32 PM   #146
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Wow..a Shanghai-Singapore flight will surely wreak havoc to aviation in this area! Yoohoo!
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Old June 8th, 2004, 07:37 PM   #147
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huaiwei
Wow..a Shanghai-Singapore flight will surely wreak havoc to aviation in this area! Yoohoo!
Who cares about the "havoc" so long as it's afforadable.....I hope they come up with even more routes.....
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Old June 9th, 2004, 09:57 AM   #148
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This story was printed from TODAYonline

Crowded Thai skies could call Mayday soon

Airline boom could go bust with eight carriers – and more to come – battling for passengers

Wednesday • June 9, 2004

David Fullbrook

BANGKOK — Thailand's airline boom looks set to bust with eight airlines — and possibly more to come — battling for passengers. Different models may not be enough to save carriers from collateral damage spilling over from other sectors in a crowded market where no-frills jostle with feeder and luxury carriers.

Last December, low-cost carriers took to Thailand's skies, sending prices tumbling. Budget Malaysian carrier AirAsia's ahead-of-schedule entrance, arm-in-arm with Shin Corp, the mighty communications conglomerate owned by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's family, forced Orient Thai to launch its low-fare division One-Two-Go ahead of time.

Nok Air, Thai Airlines' new low-cost offshoot, promises to start flying trunk routes by next month. In response, AirAsia, which operates small Boeing 737s just as Nok does, has added more routes — but One-Two-Go carries more passengers using larger Boeing 757s and 747s.

Air travel was up 23.2 per cent in the year's first quarter against the same quarter last year. Phatra Securities aviation analyst Komsun Suksumrun expected airlines to sell between nine and 10 million domestic tickets this year, against seven million for last year and rising to 12 million next year.

"The impact is similar to what happened in other parts of the world. Demand has been growing through the year," said Mr Komsun. "Down the road, demand could grow even faster as AirAsia adds more services and Nok Air starts."

However, such growth may not be enough to support so many airlines. "Thailand has sufficient room to grow, but I'm not sure the market can bear more than two or three true low-cost carriers. There may be room for one more, Nok Air perhaps. Beyond that, there will be a shakeout," said Mr Ravindran Devagunam, an aviation consultant with Deloitte.

Mr Komsun agreed. "My big concern is a shakeout.

With a market growing between 25 and 30 per cent, there is only room for two to three carriers, not five or six. "Singapore hosts Singapore Airlines' (SIA) subsidiaries Tiger Airlines and SilkAir, a Qantas Jetstar sibling, ValuAir and Lion Airlines, Indonesia's leading private carrier.

"Even for Singapore, with plenty of visitors, five or six airlines may be a few too many for its 4 million residents. Nok's launch could burst the bubble."

Said Mr Devagunam: "The shakeout might take place faster, depending on when Nok Air launches. There will probably be a shakeout within six to 10 months, with two or three entrants exiting the market," If not, tough competition from Thai Airways will.

It is already competing fiercely with One-Two-Go, a response seen elsewhere in the region. "If you look at the AirAsia, ValuAir model, the minute ValuAir came out the mainline carriers cut prices to match," says Mr Devagunam.

"Will the likes of ValuAir be able to sustain that kind of price competition if they are not truly low-cost?" he asked.

One-Two-Go is responding by trying to replicate the casual walk-up approach taken by bus companies. In the works: A smart card holding personal information and a photo, replacing tickets, boarding passes and cash. Passengers will use it to pay for tickets by buying credits at convenience stores. Cardholders will receive bonus credits, special offers and more.

One-Two-Go gets a powerful marketing database. However, One-Two-Go is not prepared to destroy itself fighting a potentially unwinnable battle against well-connected AirAsia and Nok Air.

Such concerns influenced it to select 757s, as they can easily switch to medium-haul lucrative Asian chartered and scheduled routes.

Airlines reveal Achilles' heal

With an increasingly-crowded market, Thai AirAsia may need to tweak its model to survive because according to Mr Devagunam: "The AirAsia model from Malaysia may not be completely relevant."

Meanwhile, Nok's heritage may be its Achilles' heal. Thai managers, often divided by squabbles, could turn on Nok if it steals traffic, rather than picking up travellers new to flying.

Other carriers may fall victim to collateral damage as travellers come to expect low fares on all routes and tourists wise up and start booking no-frills airlines online before they depart. "The survivors will be those that know the model well and how to drive costs down. I don't have high hopes for Air Andaman, Bangkok Airways and Phuket Air," said Mr Komsun.

Air Andaman is aiming to cut a niche by developing new routes and offering a quality, frills service, akin to JetBlue.

PB Air, a small airline founded by the president of Boonrawd Brewery, continues to struggle on by focusing on secondary routes using comfortable new regional jets that come with high price tags, which make cutting fares difficult.

Phuket Air is turning to medium-to-long-haul routes, including London, while maintaining domestic services with turboprop aircraft that, while cheap to operate, are traditionally unpopular with jet-loving Asians.

Bangkok Airways labels itself "Asia's boutique airline" to justify its high prices. Whether travellers will agree in the medium-term is questionable.

Meanwhile, its Bangkok-Samui Island route, one of the world's highest yielding, is under threat. Upset that Bangkok Air is dragging its heels about opening up Samui airport — which it owns — to other airlines, the government has threatened to build a bigger airport on the island. Separation distances make that unlikely.

Meanwhile, an airport on nearby Pha Ngan Island is being considered, with Phuket Air rumoured to be lobbying hard for the rights.

If that airport materialises, Bangkok Air will be in trouble, especially as its routes to other tourist destinations around the region face growing competition.

Copyright 2004 Asia Times Online Ltd.

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Old June 9th, 2004, 07:50 PM   #149
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JUNE 9, 2004
More seats to India with new budget airline
Travellers can expect lower fares too when Air India subsidiary takes off next April

By Narendra Aggarwal

A NEW budget airline to be launched by Air India looks set to offer major relief to frustrated travellers, who have long complained of high airfares and a shortage of seats between Singapore and India.

Singapore will be one of the first destinations for the new airline, to be called Air India Express, when it takes off in April next year. And unlike most destinations, both Air India and the new airline will fly to the Republic.

This will mean a significant increase in the number of flights between the two countries, and fares up to 25 per cent cheaper, Air India's chairman and managing director, Mr V. Thulasidas, told The Straits Times in an interview here.

Despite India's emergence as a major economic power, business and other travellers often have to book months ahead to secure a seat, or pay fares of up to $1,200 return for the four- or five-hour flight to cities such as Mumbai, New Delhi or Bangalore.

Sometimes they are forced to travel via Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok or even Colombo in Sri Lanka.

Mr Nitin Doshi, former chairman of the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, expressed the frustration of many regular travellers to India.

'It's often difficult to get seats on the direct flights to New Delhi and Mumbai as demand is high. With the new budget airline adding to capacity on these routes, businessmen will find it easier to travel to these key cities at short notice,' he said.

The main problem has been landing rights. Airlines such as Singapore Airlines have been trying to launch a greater number of new flights, but so far Air India hasn't had enough aircraft to match such an increase.

Any increase in landing rights must be equal between the two countries.

Once Air India launches the budget service, it will withdraw from South-east Asia and the Middle East, but Singapore will continue to be part of its network, the Air India chief said.

'Singapore is an important and premium market for Air India. We will continue to service high-end travellers from here, while those who are more concerned about cost can opt for Air India Express' no-frills service,' he said.

The low-cost carrier will start by operating a fleet of 14 leased Boeing 737-800s aircraft, relatively small planes, with a capacity of 175 to 180 seats, all of them economy class.

Air India Express will take over Air India's routes to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta.

'Air India Express will service stations within a four to five hour flying distance from various points in India. It has tremendous potential as there is high demand for lower cost, no-frills service,' the Air India chief said.

At the same time, Air India would reposition itself as a premium brand and focus on the long-haul routes to Britain and the United States, on which it enjoys 80 per cent full aircraft.

Travel abroad for business and leisure by increasingly affluent Indians is up 10 per cent a year, while travel into India is up 8 per cent a year.

'Air India has decided to add to its capacity significantly to cater to this rising demand,' said the 56-year-old civil servant, who was appointed Air India's boss last December.

Air India's current fleet strength of 34 aircraft will nearly double with the proposed acquisition of 28 new aircraft between 2006 and 2009 at an estimated cost of US$2.2 billion (S$3.9 billion). The proposal is under consideration by India's government.

Meanwhile, 10 aircraft will be leased over the next nine months to increase capacity swiftly.

'We will soon have enough aircraft to fly to wherever there is demand.'

Air India Express will be the first international low-cost airline to be launched in India. It will be a 100-per-cent owned subsidiary of Air India, which is fully owned by the Indian government.

Copyright @ 2004 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.

Last edited by babystan03; June 12th, 2004 at 04:06 AM.
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Old June 9th, 2004, 08:19 PM   #150
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um india to singapore how many hours?
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Old June 9th, 2004, 08:34 PM   #151
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Quote:
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um india to singapore how many hours?
Depends on which city in India you're talking about.....It ranges from 2 hours(Chennai) to 5 hours(New Delhi).
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Old June 9th, 2004, 08:46 PM   #152
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oh ok.. i was thinking in the range of at least 7 hours... might be hell...
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Old June 10th, 2004, 12:44 PM   #153
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This story was printed from TODAYonline

Virgin Blue eyes key stake in SE Asia

Thursday • June 10, 2004

Australian budget airline Virgin Blue Holdings is open to forming a joint venture in South-east Asia but it will not settle for anything less than a 25-per-cent stake, its chief executive Brett Godfrey told Dow Jones Newswires.

Virgin Blue is not rushing even though full-service rival Qantas Airways has raced ahead and expects its as-yet-unnamed Singapore-based budget venture to take to the skies in November.

"Thai Airways has spoken to us and so has AirAsia," said Mr Godfrey, who added: "But the minimum stake has to be 25 per cent. What's the use of just having 10 per cent? We are not interested in doing a cheap joint venture. We have a very good brand."

Despite Virgin Blue's measured approach, a joint venture in South-east Asia appears to be an eventuality as the Australian airline plans to add routes to this region and believes it will be workable only with a partner.

Virgin Blue, which counts founder Richard Branson and Australian transport group Patrick Corp as its two biggest shareholders, has a fleet of 46 aircraft operating largely in Australia and New Zealand.

Mr Godfrey, however, ruled out partnering Tiger Airways and Jetstar, which are related to Singapore Airlines and Qantas respectively.

"That only leaves AirAsia and Valuair," Mr Godfrey said. — Dow Jones

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Old June 10th, 2004, 12:50 PM   #154
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This story was printed from TODAYonline

Air India's budget carrier targets South-east Asia

Thursday • June 10, 2004

Air India's budget spin-off will focus on the booming South-east Asia market, Air India managing director V Thulasidas said in an interview with Bloomberg yesterday.

Mr Thulasidas, who was in Singapore for the International Air Transport Association meeting, explained his company's rationale for its budget carrier. "There is a market out there in the Middle East and South-east Asia where it is price-sensitive."

The Associated Press had earlier reported that the airline will operate 127 flights weekly from New Delhi, Bombay, Madras and some cities in India's southern state of Kerala to Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as Dubai, Muscat, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Bahrain in the Gulf.

Likely to start operations early next year and expected to be named Air India Express, it would offer fares that are at least 25 per cent cheaper than Air India.

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Old June 12th, 2004, 01:37 AM   #155
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Interesting that Air India will continue to fly to Singapore, while every other destination in ths region is axed?

Stan, u might want to edit your post #148 to include the full article.
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Old June 12th, 2004, 01:26 PM   #156
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This story was printed from TODAYonline

Budget carriers boost for ST Engineering

Weekend • June 12, 2004

The continued emergence of low-cost carriers is positive for ST Engineering.

China has announced the approval of two more airlines offering budget passenger and cargo services on domestic routes.

As a non airline-owned maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) specialist, ST Engineering's ST Aerospace unit stands to gain from the rise in low-cost carriers, which are likely to outsource their MRO operations.

ST Aerospace is already contracted to work on aircraft flown by AirAsia and Valuair, and is bidding for MRO jobs with budget carriers such as UK's EasyJet and Qantas' Jetstar Airways.

ST Aerospace plans a 15-per-cent rise in utilised capacity to cater to increased demand from the budget-carrier market and capitalise on the recovery in the travel industry. A recent tie-up with China Eastern to set up a joint venture MRO unit in Pudong Airport near Shanghai will stand the group in good stead in the fast-expanding Chinese aviation market.

We are keeping our "buy" recommendation for ST Engineering, based on its attractive dividend yield of 5.7 per cent and improved average earnings growth of 11 per cent over the next three years. Fair value is estimated at $2.22, based on 18 times its fiscal 2004 earnings, versus its historical range of 16 to 31 times.

ST Engineering shares shed 1 cent, or 0.5 per cent, to $1.95 yesterday. — Kim Eng Securities

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Old June 14th, 2004, 03:04 AM   #157
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Er...ST Enginerring is government-linked, right?
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Old June 14th, 2004, 09:06 AM   #158
babystan03
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huaiwei
Er...ST Enginerring is government-linked, right?
Yes, I think so.......
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Old June 15th, 2004, 06:47 PM   #159
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JUNE 16, 2004
Valuair gets landing rights for Jakarta - at long last
By Karamjit Kaur

VALUAIR has finally got landing rights for Jakarta, more than a month after the budget airline was forced to cancel its scheduled maiden flight to the Indonesian capital.

Indonesia's Ministry of Transportation said that all was in order and approval was granted on Monday.

Its director of air traffic, Ms Lilin Ambaruyati, told The Straits Times yesterday in a telephone interview that Valuair now has permission for one flight a day to Jakarta, seven times a week.

When contacted, Valuair's spokesman confirmed that the airline had received the official nod, but did not elaborate on plans.

Singapore's first budget carrier, which now flies to Bangkok and Hong Kong, was to have started flying to Jakarta on May 10. The passengers had paid $138 for round-trip tickets.

But at the last minute, all 51 were taken off Valuair's flight VF202 and transferred to a Garuda Indonesia flight.

In the weeks that followed, Valuair executive director Arthur Lim and other officials had been to Jakarta several times to resolve the problem.

Valuair kept Singapore's Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) updated on the progress of talks but the Singapore Government did not intervene, CAAS said in reply to queries from The Straits Times.

A CAAS spokesman said: 'Singapore has designated Valuair as a Singapore carrier in the Singapore-Indonesian Air Services Agreement and the Air Traffic Rights Committee has also granted Valuair the air rights to operate between Singapore and Jakarta.'

This meant, she said, that all the necessary procedures on the Government's end had been completed, and it was up to Valuair to handle its own negotiation for landing rights and flight times.

Though the problem has been settled, neither side is saying what caused the hold-up, though the Indonesians had said at one point that Valuair had not submitted the full set of documents required for an air-worthiness certificate to be issued.

The airline is now planning a publicity programme to relaunch its Jakarta service, The Straits Times understands.

Valuair will have no shortage of competition from full-service carriers and budget players, including Thai AirAsia and Indonesia's Lion Air, on this sector. There are 480 flights a week between Singapore and Jakarta.

Copyright @ 2004 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.

Last edited by babystan03; June 16th, 2004 at 11:01 AM.
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Old June 16th, 2004, 10:55 AM   #160
David-80
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Valuair cleared to fly into Jakarta: Official

JAKARTA (AP): Indonesia has resolved a dispute with Singapore's budget airline Valuair, clearing the way for the carrier to launch flights to Jakarta, an official said Wednesday.

"Valuair has been granted landing rights by our air traffic regulators," said Transport Ministry spokesman Swihandoyo, who goes by a single name.

Swihandoyo said he expected Valuair to begin flying to Jakarta's Sukarno Hatta airport soon, but gave no more details.

Last month, Valuair canceled its first three scheduled flights to Jakarta at the last minute and suspended ticket sales after it was denied landing rights.

Neither Valuair nor Indonesian officials have clarified the reason for the rejection, and details of the dispute were not immediately available.

The no-frills carrier has said it plans to fly once daily to Jakarta from Singapore, with return tickets priced at S$138 (US$81).

Jakarta is Valuair's third destination. It already flies to Hong Kong and Bangkok.

Valuair was the first of three Singapore-based no-frills carriers to launch this year. The others are Singapore Airlines-owned Tiger Airways, and a Qantas-backed airline that has yet to be named.
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