Home' Asian Aviation : AAV April 2012 Contents 34 AsianAviation | APRIL 2012
Jetstar Airways' Airbus A330-200
Asia-Pacific low cost carriers (LCCs) have really
only been around for about a decade, maybe
slightly longer in the case of Australia. During
this time, they have adapted to operating out of
primary hub airports, prospered in a region still
dominated by restrictive air ser vice agreements
and found creative solutions to the lack of
internet penetration in some markets by accepting
bookings and payments via convenience stores and
In short, they have managed to adapt to Asian
conditions that are distinctively different from
those found in North American, European and
Australian markets where low-cost first took off.
There have been some challenges, but they have
convinced large segments of the public that they
are safe and reliable.
And while the conditions for LCC travel
may not always be perfect - as with the lack of
secondary airports for instance, Asia s LCC
industry has proved adept at coping - in the latter
case through budget terminals at gateway airports,
namely Kuala Lumpur International Airport and
Singapore Changi Airport.
Again, while they may not have been the first
with this concept, Asia has been a notable success
for the budget terminal concept -- both KLIA and
Changi are building new facilities to cope with
growth. Kuala Lumpur s new KLIA2 is now on
track for completion in April 2013, while Changi
Airport s Terminal 4 will be built on the site of
the current Budget Terminal and is slated for
completion in 2017.
In short, while it may have been late into the
low-cost game, Asia has proved adept at perfecting
the art of low-cost travel. And while it may have
lagged behind Europe and North America in
short-haul LCC operations, it has taken the lead
in the evolution of medium- and long-haul LCCs.
The failures of Hong Kong Oasis Airlines and
Viva Macau notwithstanding, two such carriers are
currently in ser vice -- Jetstar Airways of Australia
and AirAsia X of Malaysia, although the latter has
recently hit a few snags and was forced to terminate
operations in Europe and India, followed by a
suspension of its Christchurch, New Zealand
ser vice. Nonetheless, AirAsia X has had been more
successful in markets such as Australia and China.
Jetstar Airways, meanwhile, has successfully
milked its hub in Singapore to provide links to
Melbourne, Auckland, Beijing , Taipei and Osaka.
It continues to grow its string of destinations
in China and has two Airbus A330-200s in
Others have been watching with interest.
It surprised many when Singapore Airlines
announced plans to launch a long-haul budget
airline -- subsequently named Scoot - using Boeing
777-200s that are scheduled to leave SIA s fleet.
Scoot s CEO Wilson Campbell noted that these
777s were available at the right timing and price
and will be deployed on routes up to 10 hours
flying time from Singapore. Sydney, followed by
Gold Coast in Australia are the airline s first two
destinations with the former operating parallel to
SIA s own services starting mid-2012.
Scoot s branding has been described by
Campbell as "quirky and memorable" and he
recognises that Scoot will not be solely reliant on
Long-haul low-cost has always had it's doubters, but Asian
carriers seem to like the idea, writes Kok Chwee Sim
"There is rock solid demand for nonstop flights from the
Philippines to the Middle East but there is no home carrier to
serve it", Lance Gokongwei, CEO, Cebu Pacific
KOK CHWEE SIM
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