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Old November 16th, 2005, 02:43 PM   #581
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Old November 21st, 2005, 04:46 PM   #582
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21 November 2005

Singapore prepared to allow more carriers on Singapore-KL route
By Derek Cher, Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE : Singapore hopes to expand bilateral air services with Malaysia, allowing more carriers to operate on the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur route.

This route is currently dominated by Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines.

In Parliament on Monday, the Transport Ministry said the solution to opening up this route was not to re-allocate the air rights but to seek greater air rights.

Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines first entered into a revenue pooling agreement in 1988 to divide the combined revenues of their operations between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

Today, the two airlines operate a combined total of 13 return flights per day on this route.

Some other approved carriers, such as Japan Airlines, also operate flights between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

But there has been a call to allow more carriers into the sector, and the Transport Ministry says it is not against the idea.

Said Minister of State for Transport Lim Hwee Hua, "Singapore is prepared to allow other carriers from both countries to operate on the Singapore-KL route as well as to other points in Malaysia, but this would require the agreement on the Malaysian side."

Some Members of Parliament feel that more should be done to liberalise the Singapore-KL route.

Asked Tan Soo Khoon, MP for East Coast GRC, "Does the Minister of State believe it is in the interest of travellers between the two countries to allow what is essentially a cartel made up of SIA and MAS to exist?"

Mrs Lim replied, "This is ultimately a question of allocation of air rights to other operators on this route. The solution is not to re-allocate the air rights, but to seek greater air rights so that we can cater to the underlying demand that is currently not satisfied."

Mrs Lim notes that the revenue pooling arrangement between SIA and MAS is strictly a commercial one, similar to code sharing arrangements among airlines.

So it is best for SIA and MAS to decide whether to continue with their arrangement, based on their commercial considerations.

Even though it is now cheaper for passengers to fly from Singapore to Bangkok than from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, Mrs Lim says pricing is not strictly by distance, but more a question of supply and demand.

So pricing between these two routes is not entirely comparable.

Mrs Lim says the Transport Ministry's policy is to encourage all carriers to operate on the Singapore-Malaysia route.

So she urges both countries to expand their bilateral air services soon for the benefit of travellers. - CNA /ct

Copyright © 2005 MCN International Pte Ltd
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Old November 25th, 2005, 02:57 PM   #583
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Business Times - 24 Nov 2005

Higher passenger traffic through Changi


(SINGAPORE) Passenger traffic through Changi Airport rose 7.3 per cent year-on-year to 2.75 million in October.

And daily traffic hit a record as more than 100,000 passengers passed through the airport on three consecutive days over the long Deepavali weekend.

In total, the airport handled 26.53 million passengers between January and October, a 7.5 per cent increase from the same period in 2004. Changi handled almost 30 million passengers for the whole of 2004.

Freight volume also continued to rise steadily, rising 5.5 per cent year-on-year cent to 170,118 tonnes last month - an 11 per cent from two years back.

Between January and October, Changi handled 1.5 million tonnes of airfreight. This is 2.4 per cent higher than in the same period last year and a 13 per cent jump from 2003.

As at Nov 1, there were 83 airlines connecting Singapore to over 175 cities in more than 57 countries through about 4,000 weekly flights.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old November 25th, 2005, 03:08 PM   #584
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Business Times - 23 Nov 2005

Time to review S'pore-M'sia air pact


The decades-old air services agreement is stuck in a time-warp, even as the advent of low-cost flights revolutionises air transport around the region

By VEN SREENIVASAN

THE issue of opening up the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur air route to more players was aired in Parliament on Monday.

Responding to questions from Nominated MP Ivan Png and Tan Soo Khoon (East Coast GRC), Minister of State for Transport Lim Hwee Hua said that the governments of the two countries will be holding further discussions on liberalising the air services regime that has stood firmly in place for almost three decades.

Currently, Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines service this route almost as a duopoly.

The two national carriers control 85 per cent of more than 200 flights per week between the two destinations, with the remainder served by carriers such as Air Lanka, Air India and Japan Airlines, which exercise their Fifth Freedom rights to pick up passengers at one foreign point and put them down in another foreign point as part of a continuous operation also serving the airline's homeland.

Having just two big players has meant high fares: a round trip between Changi and Sepang costs well over S$300, double the fare between Changi and Bangkok's Don Muang via a low-cost carrier (LCC). In fact, as industry insiders point out, it is actually cheaper to fly from Singapore to KL via Bangkok with an LCC. This is an anachronism at a time when the regional aviation scene is undergoing rapid changes.

In recent months, even India has been adopting a more liberal air traffic regime. Just weeks after India and Singapore signed the Singapore-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), it surprised many by offering Singapore-based carriers 2,760 extra seats on routes from Singapore to Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata.

Singapore's Air Traffic Rights Committee subsequently granted budget carrier Tiger Airways and its rival Jetstar Asia critically needed new routes to two of these three destinations.

No sooner had this piece of good news sunk in when Indonesia granted Jetstar's sister discount carrier, Valuair, the rights to operate flights to Denpasar in Bali and Surabaya. This was in return for Singapore granting additional capacity and 'fifth freedom' rights to Garuda Indonesia and rights to Indonesia's AdamAir to operate Jakarta-Singapore flights.

It is no secret that LCCs such as Tiger Airways, Valuair, AirAsia and Jetstar Asia would love to get a slice of the potentially huge market for cheap flights between Changi and destinations in Malaysia, which are currently the preserve of MAS, SIA and SilkAir.

During a visit to Malaysia a year ago, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Malaysian counterpart agreed to expand cooperation in air transport. The transport ministers of both countries have also said that the time had come to review the bilateral air services agreement between the two countries. Indeed, conditions are right for Singapore-Malaysia air links to finally come under serious review.

And no single route is more keenly sought after than the highly lucrative - but totally unavailable - 45-minute hop between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. After all, this is the region's fourth busiest route, carrying an estimated eight million passengers last year. So, some industry observers suspect that the regulators will have their work cut out convincing the incumbents - particularly loss-making Malaysia Airlines - to open up one of the region's most lucrative and protected routes to competition.

Even as the advent of low-cost flights revolutionises air transport around the region, the decades-old air services agreement between Malaysia and Singapore is stuck in a time-warp.

While Asean is edging towards limited open skies by 2015, some countries have already 'fast-tracked' this via bilateral agreements. The most prominent example is the Singapore-Thailand free-skies deal. Given their proximity, and economic and cultural links between Malaysia and Singapore, a review of the existing bilateral air services agreement is timely, if not overdue.

It would be even better if Thailand joins in to form a tri-nation pact to free up the skies over the region's three most dynamic economies. There would be no stronger catalyst to speed up an Asean open skies treaty.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old November 26th, 2005, 06:56 AM   #585
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Nov 26, 2005
Unlimited flights within region possible soon
Asean ministers keen to lift restrictions at the end of next year

By Karamjit Kaur
Transport Correspondent

TRAVELLERS will enjoy more flights within the region two years ahead of schedule if a proposal by the Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean) bears fruit.

Transport ministers from the 10 states are keen to adopt a Singapore suggestion to lift restrictions at the end of next year, instead of 2008, on the number of point-to-point flights their airlines can operate between any of their cities.

Asean set the 2008 target for unlimited flights last year, and restricted it to routes between member nations' capital cities.

But at the 11th Asean Transport Ministers Meeting in the Laotian capital Vientiane last week, the ministers decided to push for unlimited flights between all cities, saying it would accelerate economic growth and integration.

They have asked Asean's Air Transport Working Group to study the possibility, a spokesman for Singapore's Transport Ministry said, in response to queries from The Straits Times.

Unlimited point to point flights between, for example, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, or Bangkok and Manila, equal more choice and should help reduce fares, especially if more budget airlines are allowed to enter the game.

Asean's longer-term goal is for a limited open skies agreement between all cities in member countries by 2010. That would mean for example, that Singapore Airlines can pick up passengers in Kuala Lumpur and then fly to Bangkok or any other Asean destination, but not to a destination outside the region.

Singapore's Transport Ministry welcomed the commitment to work towards unlimited flights by the end of next year, said the spokesman.

'This would facilitate more flights and improve intra-Asean connectivity, thereby boosting Asean's attractiveness as a tourist destination and strengthening its economic competitiveness,' she said.

'It would also signal Asean's growing commitment to fast-track economic integration, and build investor confidence.'

Last year, a record 44 million travellers visited Asean destinations, a jump of more than 35 per cent from 2003.

Within the group, Singapore, Brunei and Thailand already have an arrangement - inked last year - which lets their airlines operate unlimited passenger services on any route within the three countries.

Asean is not alone in aiming for open skies.

Last week, the European Union (EU) and the United States signed a preliminary accord which will serve as the foundation for a full open skies deal, which could happen by next October.

Commenting on Asean's latest move, Mr Peter Harbison, head of the Sydney-based Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, said: 'It is a very positive sign and will definitely help to push policies through.'

Still, he wondered if the deadline was a tad too optimistic, given the 'protectionist tendencies of some of the governments involved.'

On the bilateral level, there are also issues to resolve.

For example, Singapore-Malaysia air links, which came up in Parliament here this week, could be a sticky issue.

MPs complained that the route was monopolised by SIA and Malaysia Airlines, and the resulting high fares hurt consumers. It can even be cheaper to fly to KL via Bangkok, travellers complain.

Singapore is very keen to expand air links and is waiting for Malaysia to come back with an agreed date for talks, said the Transport Ministry's spokesman.

But even if all restrictions were lifted, it does not necessarily mean budget carriers can rush in and fares will tumble. It would still up to the respective governments to decide which carriers can fly where.

[email protected]

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
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Old November 26th, 2005, 07:01 AM   #586
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Nov 26, 2005
Expanding S'pore-KL air rights the way forward

I REFER to the commentary, 'Open up the Singapore-KL shuttle route' (ST, Nov 23), by Professor Ivan Png.

The Singapore-Malaysia Air Services Agreement (ASA) was concluded in 1980 and since then all air-traffic rights between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur (KL) under the ASA have been fully used up, with none left for new Singapore and Malaysian carriers to enter the market. Although Singapore would like to expand the ASA, this requires Malaysia's agreement.

The writer claims that the Ministry of Transport supports the 'revenue pool' agreement between Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Malaysia Airlines (MAS). We wish to clarify that the 'revenue pool' is a commercial arrangement between SIA and MAS, which allows both airlines to operate more flights between Singapore and KL than otherwise allowed for under the current ASA.

In the absence of further ASA liberalisation, removal of this commercial arrangement may result in a reduction of services, which is not to the benefit of consumers.

We agree with the writer that there could be more competition on the Singapore-KL route, and we would be happy to see more carriers, including low-cost carriers, offer services on this route.

However, this would require Malaysia to agree to liberalise the ASA to allow more carriers and flights by both sides. In this regard, Singapore has proposed, and looks forward to, meeting Malaysia to discuss the expansion of the ASA.

We hope to be able to liberalise the ASA ahead of Asean's commitment to lift all restrictions on passenger flights between Asean capital cities by 2008.

Multi-mode travel between Singapore and Malaysia, such as by bus and air, is not as convenient as direct air services. Hence, allowing direct competition to SIA and MAS on Singapore-Malaysia routes through a liberal aviation regime, rather than multi-mode travel, would best serve the interest of consumers.

This is also consistent with our objective of promoting Changi as an aviation hub.

Singapore has always practised a liberal air-transport policy. We warmly welcome all foreign airlines, including Air Asia, to fly to Singapore, in open competition with our own carriers.

Cindy Lim (Ms)
Assistant Director (Head)
Corporate Communications
Ministry of Transport

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
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Old November 30th, 2005, 06:46 PM   #587
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30 November 2005

Changi Airport among the first in world to offer VoIP phone services
By Thomas Cho, Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE : Passengers at Singapore's Changi Airport can now enjoy cheaper international telephone calls.

Together with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, voice over internet protocol or VoIP provider MediaRing is offering budget VoIP telephone calls.

And they are at as much as 80% discount to such services from SingTel and StarHub.

Changi Airport is one of the first airports in the world to offer such budget call services for travellers.

MediaRing has set up two specially-designed lounges at Changi Airport with a total of 23 individual VoIP booths for passengers to try out their services.

Both lounges are located at the transit areas of Terminals 1 and 2.

Koh Boon Hwee, executive director of MediaRing said: "I think it is clear that rates are important. The other important factor is over the last 3 to 5 years, VoIP quality has improved to the level where it is indistinguishable from normal telephone service"

To attract more users to its services, MediaRing is offering seven days of free international calls.

"I telephoned my friend but he wasn't in. I got to his voicemail and it was very good quality," said one traveller.

"Definitely the savings. If it is clear and cheap, we'll use it," said another.

MediaRing says it aims to provide a quick and no-fuss service.

Said MediaRing's CEO: "What we want is to make sure that people can make a phone call in a very fast way. What I mean is, the passenger has to buy a phonecard, then go find a telephone booth to make a phone call.

"With MediaRing services, you can just come in, pay us a fee, sit down and make a phone call. We'll give you any change that's left and you are on the way."

MediaRing views its presence at Changi Airport - the 6th busiest in the world - as a strategic platform to further grow its brand equity globally and locally.

Although it has no concrete plans yet, the VoIP provider is hoping to replicate such services in other airports as well. - CNA /ls

Copyright © 2005 MCN International Pte Ltd
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Old December 1st, 2005, 12:36 PM   #588
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Business Times - 01 Dec 2005

S'pore, China sign expanded air services agreement

SINGAPORE - Singapore and China signed an expanded air services agreement removing restrictions on capacity, routing and aircraft type for both passenger and cargo services, the Republic said on Thursday.

The accord was signed in Beijing on Wednesday between Singapore Transport Minister Yeo Cheow Tong and the Minister for the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China Yang Yuanyuan.

'This is a landmark agreement which has removed all restrictions on direct air services between Singapore and China,' Mr Yeo said in a statement. 'This new pact will pave the way for even more air services to be introduced between our two countries which will in turn lead to greater economic, tourism and social exchanges.'

Singapore and Chinese airlines currently operate more than 170 weekly scheduled passenger and cargo services between Singapore and 18 Chinese cities. This is up from 73 weekly flights five years ago and only six cities in China. -- AFP

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old December 1st, 2005, 04:39 PM   #589
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Adam Air from Indonesia

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Old December 2nd, 2005, 07:21 AM   #590
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Skytrax: THE WORLDS BEST AIRPORTS 2005

ADDITIONAL AWARD HEADLINES

Best Airports - Duty Free Shopping
1.Dubai Int'l

2.Singapore Changi

3.Bahrain Int'l

Best Airports - International Transit

1.Singapore Changi

2.Seoul Incheon

3.Amsterdam Schiphol

Best Airports - Dining Standards

1.Singapore Changi

2.Copenhagen

3.Hong kong

Best Airports - Cleanest Washrooms

1.Seoul Incheon

2.Kansai

3.Singapore Changi

Best Airports - Security Processing

1.Helsinki Vantaa

2.Seoul Incheon

3. Hong kong

Best Airports - Friendliest Airport staff

1.Cape Town

2.Venice

3.Perth Int'l

http://www.airlinequality.com/2005/a...5-regional.htm
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Old December 6th, 2005, 05:33 AM   #591
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Dec 6, 2005
Aviation pundits see bright future for Changi Airport
Out of its top 10 markets, only one is long-haul, so impact of long-haul carriers low

By Karamjit Kaur
Transport Correspondent

KUALA LUMPUR - SINGAPORE'S aviation industry will have to deal with new long-range aircraft that can bypass major hubs and Middle East carriers expanding rapidly.

But aviation pundits do not expect this to have a big negative impact on Changi Airport or Singapore Airlines (SIA).

This is mainly because out of Changi's top 10 busiest markets, only one - Singapore-London - is long-haul.

The other nine key markets are Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, Sydney, Taipei and Melbourne.

In October, the top 10 accounted for six in 10 flights out of Changi, according to the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation.

'Rumours of my demise are exaggerated' was the cheeky title of a paper on Changi Airport prepared by the centre and distributed yesterday, at the start of the two-day Asia-Pacific and Middle East Aviation Outlook Summit 2006 in Kuala Lumpur.

The centre, which provides consultancy services, organised the conference attended by about 150 people.

Its paper said: 'Aircraft with extended mission capabilities - such as the Boeing 777-200LR and the Airbus 340-500 - together with the emergence of competing hubs mean that airlines and their passengers have a wider choice in travel.'

But while 'scepticism over Singapore's future is understandable...we see a fairly bright future for the airport for a number of reasons'.

First, the bulk of Changi's business is centred in the Asia-Pacific region, which is less likely to be affected by long-range aircraft.

Also, the airport has good support from SIA and its regional subsidiary SilkAir which account for close to 40 per cent of its activity.

And while long-range aircraft can fly virtually anywhere, many people do not want to be stuck in a plane for more than 20 hours, said Mr Paul Behnke, director (economics) at Airports Council Internation (ACI), which has 569 members operating over 1,640 airports in 177 countries.

Mr Behnke, who is also at the conference, told The Straits Times: 'People want to get off, walk around, take a shower.

'I once did a quick poll of about 30 people in a room and asked how many of them would fly direct from Sydney to London if the 20-hour service was available. Only one person said yes.'

Another plus for Changi is the foresight to build ahead of capacity, which means it can avoid the problem of serious congestion and continue to provide good service to airlines and travellers, he said.

While there is still surplus capacity at Changi, landing slots are getting tougher to find from about 3pm to midnight, which is usually when long-haul services from Europe are either landing or taking off, said the Centre for Asia-Pacific Aviation.

'It is this shortage of handling capacity around peak hours that is driving the airport's expansion plans.'

When Terminal 3 is ready in 2008, Changi will be able to handle 64 million passengers a year, which should be enough until 2020.

The Airbus 380 jumbo jet is also good news for Changi, said the aviation think-tank.

It is not a long-range aircraft, which means the plane will have to stop at major gateways - and 'few are equipped to handle Airbus' new behemoth in the way that Changi Airport has planned'.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore is spending $60 million to upgrade its facilities, including building bigger gates and passenger holding rooms, and adding a third arm to the aerobridge so that it can serve the upper level of the jumbo jet.

As for SIA and other Asia-Pacific carriers, while they will have to compete with Emirates, Ethihad and other fast-growing Middle East airlines, the Association of Asia-Pacific Airlines does not expect this to be a serious problem.

Its director-general, Mr Andrew Herdman, told reporters: 'Clearly, they are going to compete for business not just with carriers in this region but also with European and American airlines.

'In the end, the most efficient carriers will be those that can offer value for money.'

[email protected]

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
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Old December 8th, 2005, 06:56 AM   #592
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Dec 7, 2005
New S'pore-Europe air links: Prospects not good

DO NOT expect many more new flights between Singapore and Europe any time soon.

Mr Klaus Geil, of the European Commission's air transport agreements unit, said Singapore is still on the group's radar but member states see better value in expanding air links with China, Russia, India, Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Ukraine.

He told The Straits Times yesterday the European Commission had suggested to the Council of Transport Ministers in March that Singapore is a good candidate for expansion of air links.

The council did not agree.

Why?

'You would have to ask member states that,' said Mr Geil, who was in Kuala Lumpur for the two-day Asia-Pacific and Middle East Aviation Outlook Summit 2006, which ended yesterday.

'I think they want to see added value for their carriers and in this case, they may feel the added value has not been sufficiently demonstrated.'

He also confirmed that talks which started in 2003 between Singapore, Australia and New Zealand as a group and the European Commission ended earlier this year, with no deal made for expanded air links.

Mr Stanley Kuppusamy, vice-president for international relations at Singapore Airlines (SIA), who was also at the conference, told The Straits Times negotiations failed when Australia and New Zealand decided to go their separate ways.

He said: 'When that happened, Singapore had no choice but to do the same.'

In the end, all three countries signed separate deals with the European Commission, which Mr Kuppusamy said, 'gave Singapore nothing'.

There are no provisions in the agreement for more flights or more capacity, he said, adding: 'All it does is allow the European Commission to achieve its own political goal - which is a united Europe.'

Under the new agreement, if Singapore and France, for example, decide to expand bilateral air links and add more flights between the two countries, any other European carrier - even if it is not based in France - can operate the new services.

But the reverse is not true - SIA, for example, cannot operate in the other airline's base country unless Singapore already has air links with that country.

Mr Kuppusamy said: 'The European Commission is forcing you to accept this agreement by sowing in your mind the uncertainty of the legal position of all your bilateral agreements with European countries.'

Not true, said Mr Geil.

He explained that under European Union laws, companies - airlines included - that operate in one country have the right to do the same in another country within the group.

To avoid legal complications in future, the European Commission is signing new deals with countries that have bilateral air service agreements with its member states.

On the agreement signed with Singapore, he said: 'There are no additional air rights in it for us either, which is why Singapore has agreed to the new agreement.'

KARAMJIT KAUR

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
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Old December 8th, 2005, 03:18 PM   #593
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08 December 2005

Jet Airways launches daily flights between Singapore and Chennai
By Asha Popatlal, Channel NewsAsia

Jet Airways has launched a daily flight between Singapore and Chennai.

The Indian carrier, which started the Singapore-Mumbai route earlier this year, has its sights now set on Delhi by the first quarter of next year.

These three Indian cities form the bulk of the air traffic between Singapore and India.

The carrier also plans to expand to flights between Singapore and other South Indian cities such as Hyderabad and Bangalore within two years.

With the airline fares between Singapore and Chennai averaging $900 before taxes for a 3 hour-plus flight, per kilometre travelled, the Singapore-Chennai route is probably one of the most expensive here.

Jet Airways is offering to fly this route at a more competitive rate.

Jet Airways' vice-president for Asia-Pacific, V Raja, said: "It's been a sellers' market but with supply increasing, I am sure prices will stabilise. It is very hazardous to take a guess by what percentage prices will drop because these are governed by so many other market conditions." - CNA/ir

Copyright © 2005 MCN International Pte Ltd
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Old December 9th, 2005, 07:30 AM   #594
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This story was printed from TODAYonline

Hop on a Jet Airways flight to Delhi from June

Friday • December 9, 2005

— Dow Jones

Jet Airways of India said yesterday that it was aiming to start flying the Delhi-Singapore route by June next year as part of its network expansion plans.

"We should be starting flights between Delhi and Singapore, and flights between Bangalore and Singapore should start after that," executive director Saroj K Datta said at a briefing in Singapore.

Jet Airways, India's biggest domestic airline by marketshare, started flights between Chennai and Singapore on Wednesday, marking the carrier's second Singapore route after it began flights from Mumbai to the Republic in April.

A return Club Premiere ticket to Chennai is priced at $1,500 and the economy class return fare is $600 for tickets purchased before Dec 15 for journeys that must commence by Dec 31.

The airline expects to break even on the Mumbai-Singapore and Chennai-Singapore routes within a year of operations, Mr Datta said.

Jet Airways currently fills about 72 per cent to 73 per cent of its passenger capacity on its Mumbai-Singapore flights.

Apart from Singapore, Jet Airways' other overseas destinations include Colombo, Kathmandu, Kuala Lumpur and London.

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Old December 10th, 2005, 04:19 AM   #595
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Dec 10, 2005
Singapore-China air cargo volume doubles

By Karamjit Kaur
Transport Correspondent

AIR cargo traffic between Singapore and China is taking off.

In the five years from the start of 2000 to the end of last year, air freight volume between the two countries jumped 110 per cent, with an average annual growth of about 20 per cent.

The upswing comes as Singapore's trade with booming China continues to grow, and as the Republic plays an increasingly vital role as a distribution centre for goods airfreighted from there.

And that lucrative pie will become even bigger, said Mr Ng Wee Hiong, deputy director-general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.

Speaking at an event yesterday to officially welcome Yangtze River Express, China's first exclusively freight airline to fly to Changi Airport, he said: 'The entry of a dedicated Chinese freighter carrier like Yangtze River Express will no doubt contribute even more to the growth of the Singapore-China market.'

The Shanghai-based carrier, which started flying here on Nov 1, operates 12 flights a week between Shanghai and Singapore via Nanning.

Mr Zhang Qiang, the airline's assistant general manager, was equally upbeat about the prospects for China-Singapore cargo traffic.

He said: 'Singapore is a very important air cargo distribution centre in the Asia-Pacific area and in the world.

'There will be many more opportunities for air cargo cooperation between China and Singapore.'

And for other airlines from China and Singapore that want to launch new or extra freight services, getting the necessary air rights will not be a problem.

Last week, Singapore and China concluded an expanded air services agreement, which allows major carriers from both countries an unlimited number of flights to destinations in the other country.

The deal was signed in Beijing by Singapore Transport Minister Yeo Cheow Tong and Chinese Civil Aviation Minister Yang Yuanyuan.

The introduction of new freight services comes as even more passenger services are being added in and out of Changi, to cope with increased demand during the holiday season.

In a statement yesterday, Singapore Airlines (SIA) said it will add more flights to New Delhi and Amritsar in India, and Perth in Australia, to cater to year-end demand.

The airline, which now flies seven times a week to New Delhi, will add an extra flight on Saturdays, starting later this month.

Next month, another two flights will be available for passengers to the Indian capital, bringing to 10 the total number of weekly services.

An extra service will also be added next month to Amritsar - which Singapore Airlines now serves three times a week.

Last month, two extra flights a week were added to Perth. There are now 21 services each week.

Travellers can also look forward to more services to Taiwan and Malaysia during the coming Chinese New Year holiday. Details will be announced later.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
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Old December 15th, 2005, 12:52 PM   #596
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15 December 2005

Singapore's air freight sector seen benefiting from China trade
By Anjana Menon, Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE : There has been a growing demand for air cargo services between Singapore and China.

While that is largely due to the current boom in the Chinese economy, analysts say part of the reason for the growth is that China has been importing more electronics products from Singapore.

Last year Singapore exported US$14 billion worth of goods to China, a trend that is likely to be sustained.

Logistics companies have been benefiting from the boom in China, including companies in the air freight sector.

Last month, Yangtze River Express Airlines became the latest air-freight carrier to ply the China-Singapore trade route.

Analysts say the change in the nature of shipments is one key reason for the growing demand for air cargo services between the two countries.

Said Song Seng Wun, regional economist at CIMB-GK Research, "If you look at the pattern of Singapore's trade with China, 15 years ago, 60 percent of what we sent over to China was really related to the oil sector and mineral fuels; that share has now declined to 15 percent. Now we're seeing more parts and components being sent from Singapore for final assembly in China. The small bits and pieces are being shipped mostly by air because of the time-sensitive nature of the tech sector itself.''

According to statistics from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, air freight volumes between Singapore and China have more than doubled since 2000, with an average annual growth rate of 21 percent.

Two key players on the route are SIA Cargo and Federal Express, which together operate 15 flights a week between the two countries.

And analysts say there is room for even higher demand.

Said Mr Song, "I think we still have room to grow in terms of mineral-related chemical products, and electronic parts and components will continue to be supplied by the various multi-national companies with operations in Singapore. I think the trade will continue to expand at a fairly brisk pace."

SIA Cargo recently became the first foreign carrier to be granted permission to carry flammable goods to China.

Yangtze River Express is starting off by offering 12 flights a week between Singapore and China.

But it is expecting to double that number by adding flights to other Chinese cities by the second quarter of 2006. - CNA /ct

Copyright © 2005 MCN International Pte Ltd
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Old December 15th, 2005, 02:51 PM   #597
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15 December 2005

Online boarding passes to help cut down waiting time at Changi Airport
By Asha Popatlal, Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE : If you are one of those who hates waiting in queues, the increasing use of technology by airlines and airports to speed things up should cheer you up.

Come January, passengers can not only check-in online and choose their seat, they can also print out their own boarding pass, if they are travelling on British Airways.

The carrier is targeting to be the first main service airline to introduce this at Changi in January.

This means shorter waiting time, because passengers can check in as much as an hour later - since they only need to drop off and tag your luggage at designated points, before flying off.

Other carriers like Singapore Airlines are also planning to introduce online boarding passes by the first half of next year - starting with selected routes.

But it is not just the airlines that are working to cut down waiting time.

Changi Airport is working on bringing in self-service kiosks for check-in - scheduled for the first half of next year. - CNA/ms

Copyright © 2005 MCN International Pte Ltd
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Old December 18th, 2005, 03:01 PM   #598
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21 October 2005

Airport becomes Singapore's premier shopping mall

Roberto Coloma | Singapore

If Singapore is a shopper's paradise, Changi airport must be its golden gate.

With its plush carpeting, smartly dressed sales staff and modern decor, Changi could be mistaken for a chic mall along the Orchard Road shopping belt were it not for the signs pointing to flight boarding gates -- and the jumbo jets parked beyond the glass walls.

Globetrotting shopaholics do not even have to leave the airport premises to buy a staggering range of products, from a diamond ring costing more than $100 000 to a can of soda worth 70 cents, or an electronic massage chair than can be delivered to your home.

"Changi is the largest shopping mall in Singapore in terms of sales," Jeffrey Loke, assistant commercial director of the airport's operator, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), said.

The CAAS declined to disclose total annual sales, citing competitive reasons, but said one-third of its revenues of more than $500-million in the year to March 2005 came from shop rentals and a percentage of their receipts.

More than 30 000 square metres of space in Changi's two terminals -- a third is under construction -- are dedicated to retail and food and beverage concessions.

Tired shoppers with time to spare can go for a foot massage, have their nails done or check into the airport hotel for a nap.

Business booming

In 2004, Changi enjoyed its busiest year yet, handling a record 30,35-million passengers, and 2005 is shaping up as another strong year. In the eight months to August, 21,12-million passengers passed through Changi, up 7,3% from a year ago.

"About 70% of all travellers buy or eat something in Changi," Loke, of the CAAS, said in an interview.

Europeans burdened by high taxes at home are the biggest duty-free shoppers in Changi, followed closely by Singaporeans and other wealthy Asians.

Including retail and food and beverage earnings, about 60% of the CAAS's revenues are derived from "non-aeronautical" sources, the reverse of the usual revenue ratio for major airports, which earn most of their money from airline-linked services.

More than half of retail sales in Changi are contributed by liquor and perfumes, with watches and tobacco also high on the list of popular items.

In the first six months of this year, retail sales grew 13,3% over the same period in 2004 and 67% over the same period in 2003, the CAAS said.

Following an upgrade launched in 2004, some of the world's most-coveted designer brands have opened plush outlets in the airport.

They include Prada, Gucci, Bulgari and Hermes, which sells silk windbreakers for $3 750 and lambskin shoulder bags for $3 000.

Over at a liquor concession, a limited-edition bottle of Remy Martin Louis XIII cognac in a special decanter with a diamond embedded in the stopper is priced at more than $8 000. Five bottles have been sold so far.

Competition

Singapore competes with other duty-free havens such as Hong Kong in Asia and Dubai in the Middle East.

Loke said that among major international airports, Changi enjoys "one of the highest concession revenues per passenger in the world".

Singapore is the main hub of the so-called Kangaroo Route -- the long-haul travel zone stretching from Australia and New Zealand to Europe -- and Changi's shops aim for the busy transit-passenger market.

"These are the people who will have more than two to three hours to spend here or are travelling between Europe and the region," Loke said.

Wealthy people from developing Asian countries are among the most avid shoppers in Changi.

One Indonesian woman spent more than $100 000 at the Lee Hwa jewellery shop while waiting for her flight. Shoppers from China and India, Asia's most dynamic economies, are also becoming key customers at Changi.

"Indonesians don't buy a lot of items, but they buy the very expensive stuff," said Loke.

The Japanese used to be known as the most lavish spenders among Asian travellers, but Loke said that "somehow their spending is not coming back as strongly as other nationalities".

Singapore Retailers' Association executive director Lau Chuen Wei said Changi "is certainly one of the larger up-market shopping malls in Singapore" and it does not hurt city retailers, some of whom have outlets in the airport.

"So, no, it does not take away very much from the downtown retailers, and especially not those who cater to the mass market," said Lau. "And yes, retail sales generated at the airport are still a contribution to Singapore's economy, hence a strong component of Singapore's retail industry."

With more than eight million visitors entering Singapore every year, tourism accounts for about 5% of the city-state's gross domestic product and is being given high priority in long-term development plans.

Singapore, which has only 4,2-million people, aims to double tourist arrivals to 17-million by 2015, and many of them will surely be spending money in Changi airport. -- AFP
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Old December 27th, 2005, 12:18 PM   #599
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Business Times - 27 Dec 2005

Singapore's Changi airport passenger traffic up 3.3% in Nov


SINGAPORE - Singapore's Changi Airport handled 2.8 million passengers in November, up 3.3 per cent from a year ago, the airport operator said on Tuesday.

Last month's volume was the second highest for the year so far and brings total passengers handled in the first 11 months of 2005 to more than 29 million, up 7 per cent from last year, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said. 'Further growth in passenger traffic is expected over the upcoming festive and holiday season,' it said.

For air freight, volumes handled in November totalled 160,357 tonnes, an increase of 7.4 per cent from the same period last year, raising total cargo processed by the airport in the 11 months to November to 1.6 million tonnes, up 2.8 per cent on the year.

Changi Airport is currently served by more than 80 airlines connecting to more than 175 cities worldwide. -- AFP

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old December 29th, 2005, 04:25 PM   #600
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29 December 2005

MM Lee says govt's strategy is to protect hub position, not SIA
By S Ramesh/Asha Popatlal, Channel NewsAsia

Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has again emphasised that the government's strategy is to protect Singapore's position as an aviation hub and not Singapore Airlines or its subsidiaries.

He was speaking at his fourth dialogue session with SIA's management and unions on Thursday.

MM Lee also urged SIA to stress on leadership renewal.

In the last two years since the problems brewed between SIA's management and unions, MM Lee had met the groups three times in open dialogue and several more times in separate groups.

Thursday's meeting was to consolidate the gains made so far.

Mr Lee emphasised that trust and confidence between SIA's management and unions is crucial.

Otherwise SIA will not be able to operate flexibly and emerge victorious in the ever-changing global aviation scene.

Mr Lee said that in the next 10 years, the dynamic growth in passenger traffic will come not from the developed countries but from fast-growing economies like China, India, the Gulf area, Russia and Eastern Europe.

He said: "There is nothing we do that they cannot do. They have the talent pool, they have the management, they will hire the trainers, they will study what we do, what the top airlines are doing, they can reproduce. What they cannot reproduce is a cohesive team that puts the whole thing together into one. That is why I believe we stand a chance."

On union leaders, he said, they must keep morale up but prepare their members for change and moderate their expectations.

And he hopes SIA's new chairman Stephen Lee, who takes over in January, will improve communication and trust.

Mr Stephen Lee, who has been on the SIA Board for the last one-and-a-half years, said what's critical is to get the fundamentals right.

He said: "Management and workers working together as one team. This is absolutely necessary for SIA as it faces more intense competition in the years to come. We will have to spend less time internally bargaining, then management can concentrate their efforts in facing up to competition."

Concluding his 3-hour session at the Istana, the Minister Mentor urged unionists to take an important message back to their members.

He said: "What I am asking you is to continue to make it different. Don't make it retrograde. We have got here and we can go higher. There is no reason why we cannot.

"We have got the best educated workforce in the whole region. We made the right decisions, have the confidence that despite all these changes - whether it is Dubai, Qatar or Abu Dhabi or KLIA or whatever - we will be in the business.

"The total experience in SIA and Singapore airport and the Singapore city is what will make us the outstanding centre in this part of the world which we must remain and which can remain.

"You take that message back. You tell them, I have not lived till 82 to be defeatist. We are going to fight and win."

Following the dialogue, there was a question-and-answer session.

Victor Pang, a union leader from the SATS Workers Union, asked that "whatever we help management, there must be some equality to reward us because we won't know what is going on behind the scene."

Responding, MM Lee reassured union leaders that if they perform and increase profitability, then the bargain made will be kept. Profits will also not just go to shareholders.

"It is the business of the government, the NTUC and the arbitration court to make sure there is fair play. I haven't gone into this just to rescue SIA. I've got into this to make sure Singapore has the maximum number of aviation industry jobs and SIA is part of that industry," MM Lee said.

But Mr Lee cautioned against losing sight of the bigger picture by just focusing on wages and allowances.

Staff attrition was another issue raised.

For example, a question was raised about those who left for other airlines and countries.

"I don't want them to leave. I want them to stay. So we have to make conditions conducive for them to consider staying and making SIA their home," said Captain Mok Hin Choon, president of the Airline Pilots Association of Singapore.

MM Lee said that with a well-educated work force, poaching is inevitable but as long as a core of 80 to 90 per cent is kept, the SIA spine will be strong.

Others issues raised were: the need to hive off certain sections of SIA to remain competitive and the re-hiring of workers beyond 62.

Chew Choon Seng, SIA's CEO, said: "The extended employment beyond 62 has to be based on the job being there and needed. Secondly, on terms and conditions that would not make the company uncompetitive on cost." - CNA/ir

Copyright © 2005 MCN International Pte Ltd
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