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Asia nAviation | MARCH 2010 27
South-East Asia, to take advantage of the Association
of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) open skies plan.
The airline has replaced its old fleet of single-aisle
737 Classics with A320-family aircraft. It now operates
nine A320s and two A319s and has orders outstanding
for another 30 A320s, with deliveries set to commence
in 2011 through to 2015.
Philippines-ba sed Cebu Pacific Air has launched
flights to Bangkok, Macau and Singapore from
Clark, its fourth hub in the Philippines. It is the first
Philippines-based carrier to operate the three routes.
The airline also plans to launch flights to Hong
Kong , Taipei and possibly Busan and Incheon from
Clark, once expansion of Freeport Zone’s Diosdado
Macapag al International Airport is completed early
Cebu Pacific’s other hubs are Manila , Cebu and
Davao. The company has grown from operating a fleet
of four, ageing Boeing MD-82s in March 1996, when it
entered the market offering domestic flights, to a major
carrier ser ving some 32 domestic and 14 international
destinations in 10 countries.
Cebu Pacific offers 1,400 domestic flights weekly
from its four hubs, and has captured 45 percent of the
domestic market in the Philippines. The carrier carried
its 40 millionth-passenger in January.
Candice Iyog , the airline’s vice-president for
marketing and distribution, attributed the airline’s
rapid growth to its value-for-money fares. The carrier
operates a fleet of 21 A319/320s and eight ATR72-
500 turboprops, the youngest fleet of the five airlines
operating in the Philippines.
Indian domestic market
Air India has firmed up plans to reconfigure 10
two-class cabin A320s to an all-economy layout,
then deploy the aircraft on 30 domestic routes to be
operated by its LCC subsidiary Air India Express. The
routes are currently being identified.
Eventually, 70 percent of the Indian flag carrier ’s
domestic network is to be operated by Air India
Express, as the parent carrier underg oes a major
restructuring exercise following a massive US$1.5
billion loss in 2008.
India’s Jet Airways Konnect ( JAK), a domestic
LCC that was launched in September
by parent company Jet Airways, is
looking to enhance connectivity
across its domestic network.
The carrier wants more links
between the major hubs
of Mumbai, Chennai,
Beng aluru and Kolkata
and smaller cities in
India, to be operated
with its 737-800 aircraft.
It will not compete with
JetLite, Jet Airways’ other
Jet Airways surprised
the Indian aviation industr y
with the launch of JAK. JetLite,
previously known as Air Sahara,
was acquired by Jet Airways in April
Eventually, more than half of Jet Airways’ domestic
network will be taken over by JAK. Several Jet
Airways 737-800s have now been reconfigured or are
in the process of b eing reconfigured with a single-class
cabin for JAK’s operations. Jet Airways operates 38 of
the single-aisle twinjets.
According to Jet Airways executives, JAK has
proven to be very popular with travellers across India ,
thanks to its low fares. Jet Airways decision to launch
JAK was a response to changes in travel demand and
to encourage less affluent customers to fly. The idea to
launch the carrier was mooted in April 2009, with the
board giving its approval three weeks later.
India’s slew of LCCs – SpiceJet, GoAir, Kingfisher
Airlines, IndiGo, Jetlite, JAK, and Air India Express
have tog ether captured about 58 percent of the
country’s domestic air travel market.
On the South Korean scene, Air Busan a, wholly-
owned subsidiary of Asiana Airlines will start daily
flights between Busan and Fukuoka, Japan, on 29
March, adding Osaka services from 26 April. Both
routes will be operated using 737-400 aircraft.
Air Busan’s Chief Executive Officer Kim Soo -
cheon said Fukuoka was chosen as the carrier’s first
international destination as it is Busan’s twin city.
Introducing international flights is one of the carrier’s
strategies to reverse losses and become profitable in
Air Busan, which started operations in March
2009, has captured 42 percent of the market on the
route b etween Busan and Seoul’s Gimpo International
Like Seoul-based rival Eastar Jet, Air Busan has been
exempted from the requirement to operate scheduled
domestic flights for two years before introducing
international ser vices, based on South Korea’s open
skies agreement with Japan. South Korea has a similar
agreement with China.
Eastar Jet will start daily flights
to Shanghai on 29 March and
Shenyang on 28 April, with
both flights to be operated
by 737-700 aircraft.
The airline currently
services to Sapporo
and Kochi in Japan
and Kuching in the
east Malaysian state
of Sarawak .
Eastar Jet, which
operates one Boeing
737-600 and four 737-
700s, will add three more
- 700s to the fleet later this
year, with plans to add more
destinations in Japan and China, and
possibly services to Hong Kong .
Eastar Jet’s chief executive officer L ee Sang -jik said
the airline aims to take advantage of the Visit Korea
2010-2012 campaign to attract tourists and expand
Korean boasts four LCCs in total, with Jeju Air
and Jin Air operating alongside Eastar and Air Busan.
Former competitors Hansung Airlines and Yeongnam
Airlines have now ceased operations.
Shukor Yusof, an aviation analyst at Standard &
Poor’s in Singapore said more people are travelling
on LCCs as the low fare segment market grows. The
analyst estimated that LCCs in Southeast Asia will see
demand grow by about 12-15 percent this year while
the rest of Asia is projected to grow about 5-6 percent.
“Full service airlines will see a drop in market share
where LCCs operate, with MAS likely to be affected
most as AirAsia and AirAsia X expands,” he said. ●
plan to tap
the Indian market
aggressively, as Thailand is
popular with Indian tourists,”
says Thai AirAsia CEO
Cebu Pacific of the Philippines now operates 21 A320-family jetliners.
7/03/10 12:11 PM
7/03/10 12:11 PM
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