Editor: If you are looking for free tickets issued on 26th August 2008, please go here.

No, you didn’t read it wrongly at all. If you are unable to get your free tickets from Tiger Airways the previous time, you can actually try your luck with AirAsia. However, you’d still have to pay for your own airport taxes and surcharges because AirAsia will not pay for you your taxes since they have already paid for your tickets technically. =)

Hmm… I wonder if I can expect some free tickets from Singapore Airlines soon… =)

FIRST Jetstar, then Tiger. On Thursday, it was AirAsia’s turn to entice Singapore-Kuala Lumpur air travellers with low fares and 30,000 free seats.

Come Feb 1, three low-cost carriers – Jetstar Asia and Tiger Airways from Singapore, and Malaysia’s AirAsia – will operate a total of four flights a day between Singapore and KL.

The Straits Times understands that any changes to this number will only be addressed after December, when the route is fully liberalised under an Asean initiative that seeks to free air restrictions between capital cities of the 10 member countries.

For Singapore-KL air commuters who have long complained of high fares – more than $400 for a two-way flight of about 40 minutes each, in a market thus far dominated by Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines – liberalisation has been a boon.

Jetstar’s offer of 88 cents for a one-way fare which was advertised on Jan 5 was quickly followed by Tiger’s offer of 15,000 free seats a few days later.

Travellers still have to pay more than $100 in taxes and other charges for a round trip.

At a press briefing in Singapore on Thursday, AirAsia’s chief Tony Fernandes more than matched this when he announced that the airline was giving away 30,000 free seats via online booking, to celebrate a much-awaited victory.

He said: ‘It’s taken us six years to get here. The opening of the route is a huge step forward for air liberalisation. Feb 1 is truly people’s day.’

With so much pent-up demand and potential, he expects that in five years, AirAsia – which currently has a fleet of 65 aircraft, with another 175 on order – could do 20 return flights a day between Singapore and KL.

Talks are still on with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) but AirAsia which operates out of the budget terminal at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, expects to fly to Changi’s budget terminal too, joining Tiger.

Jetstar will fly to the main terminals at both airports.

Meanwhile, high-end coach operators that charge about $100 to $120 for a pampered two-way Singapore-KL ride – which includes a hot meal and personalised audio-visual entertainment – are bracing themselves for business to be hit by about 10 to15 per cent.

The Express Bus Agencies Association (EBBA) which has 22 members, including big guns such as Five Star Tours and Transtar Travel, is already making plans for better training programmes for drivers and stewards to improve service levels, said spokesman Sebastian Yap.

Mr Fernandes said: ‘I do not think anyone is going to be hurt by our entry. There is a big enough market for everyone.’

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 11th January 2008

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