Monday, July 6, 2009

S'pore-M'sia air route soars

25 June 2009

KUALA LUMPUR: Despite a grim outlook for the global aviation industry, airlines plying the Singapore-Malaysia route remain upbeat about their prospects.

While carriers around the world are suffering, the Singapore-Malaysia sector is enjoying a boom, with several airlines set to expand and increase flight frequencies from next month.

Air services between Malaysia and Singapore have hugely increased this year, and many more flights are due to be launched from Singapore to various towns in Malaysia.

You would forgive AirAsia - the airline running the most number of flights between the two countries - if it should start to feel nervous as yet another player, Malaysia Airlines subsidiary Firefly, enters the market next month.

The newcomer will be the seventh carrier to fly the much-coveted Singapore-Malaysia sector.

But AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes said he was confident about the airline's staying power.

'I am not concerned about Firefly. It is not an arrogant statement,' he told The Straits Times in an interview.

He explained that both airlines are different and reach out to different target markets.

Mr Fernandes said he believes that Firefly, which operates smaller turboprop aircraft and flies from Subang - nearer to the city centre than Sepang, site of Kuala Lumpur's low-cost carrier terminal - is unlikely to offer airfares lower than AirAsia's.

'We're also different from other airlines (like Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines),' he added.

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