Singapore boosted by enhanced bilateral with Malaysia; AirAsia now serves 15 destinations

Image: Singapore Kingfisher
September 17: The launch of Kingfisher’s Singapore Changi to Mumbai services. Rajesh Verma, Executive Vice President, Kingfisher Airlines; Siva Ramachandran, Head, Global Sales, Kingfisher Airlines; and Tan Lye Teck, Executive Vice President, Corporate, Changi Airport Group.

This weekend Singapore hosts its second Formula 1 Grand Prix, fresh from the revelations that last year’s race was ‘fixed’. Authorities will be hoping that this year’s event is controversy free and will attract lots of international tourists to the night race. It has had a good decade – passengers at Singapore Changi Airport increased by 2.7% last year to 37.7 million, almost 60% more than in 1998. The SARS crisis of 2003 briefly impacted traffic but recovery was swift and passenger numbers passed 30 million for the first time in 2004.

Chart: Traffic
Source: Changi Airport

Among the top 15 markets in 2008 traffic grew between Singapore and Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam by large volumes of 6.5%, 9.4%, 11.9% and 19.4% respectively. Long-haul markets to Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom also grew by 5.6%, 5.0% and 7.0%. Markets where traffic declined included China (down 5.2%) and Thailand (down 10.9%). Overall year-to-date traffic in 2009 is down by 6.1%, although passenger numbers in July were down just 1.1%.

Image: Fly Kingfisher
The first passengers to check-in for Kingfisher’s first flight out of Singapore, the Mascarenhas family, received a special very difficult to lose boarding pass and one free return air-ticket.

Malaysian traffic booming thanks to enhanced bilateral

Twice during the last 12 months (in October 2008 and then again in April 2009) the bilateral air services agreement between Malaysia and Singapore has been expanded to allow increased access to low-cost carriers. As a result the number of weekly flights and the number of carriers has increased in several markets from Singapore.

Route WF Sep 08 Carriers Sep 08 WF Sep 09 Carriers Sep 09
Kota Kinabalu 11 2 24 5 (Air Asia, Jetstar Asia, Malaysia AL, Silk Air, Tiger Airways)
Kuching 14 2 28 5 (Air Asia, Jetstar Asia, Malaysia AL, Silk Air, Tiger Airways)
Kuala Lumpur* 120 5 207 6 (Air Asia, Jetstar Asia, Malaysia AL, Silk Air, Singapore Airlines, Tiger Airways)
Langkawi 10 2 20 4 (Air Asia, Malaysia AL, Silk Air, Tiger Airways)
Penang 28 2 60 6 (Air Asia, Jetstar Asia, Malaysia AL, Silk Air, Singapore Airlines, Tiger Airways)
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 7 September 2009 and w/c 1 September 2008
WF: Weekly Frequency                            * Ignoring fifth freedom carriers

In addition there have been new routes launched by Firefly (to Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur Subang, Kuala Terengganu and Kuantan) and by AirAsia (to Miri and Tawau). None of these destinations were served from Singapore one year ago.

AirAsia now serves 15 destinations

In just a year AirAsia (and its regional partners in Indonesia and Thailand) has increased its route network at Changi from four to 15 routes; seven from Malaysia, two from Thailand and six from Indonesia.

Other new routes which have started during the last year include Cebu Pacific and Tiger Airways both serving Clark Airport in the Philippines, Kingfisher starting flights to Mumbai just last week, Jetstar beginning flights to Perth, Biman Bangladesh launching flights to Dhaka, and both Indonesia AirAsia and Jetstar commencing flights to Denpasar (Bali).

Furthermore Singapore Airlines began serving Riyadh (via Dubai) and Kuwait (via Abu Dhabi), while Turkish Airlines began flights from Istanbul (via Jakarta). This week sees the start of flights by Shenzhen Airlines to Shenzhen (taking on Silk Air and Tiger Airways), and there are several more new routes expected to launch at the start of the winter season later next month.

Carriers that have dropped services during the last year include Swiss (from Zurich via Bangkok) and Transaero (from Moscow).

Image: Route launch
July 1: Eddy Leong, (Firefly’s managing director) and Lee Seow Hiang, (CEO Changi Airport Group) welcome Firefly’s first service to Changi in the airport’s Budget Terminal.

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