Liberalisation unleashes three LCCs into SIN-KUL market

Image: advert It is unusual for three airlines to start serving the same route on the same day but that is what will happen on 1 February after the governments of Singapore and Malaysia allowed LCCs to enter the key Singapore – Kuala Lumpur market. Both countries agreed to allocate two daily frequencies to LCCs in their own country. Singapore split its allowance between Tiger Airways and Jetstar Asia while Malaysia gave both its frequencies to AirAsia. The schedules of the three carriers are shown below:

Airline Dep SIN Arr KUL Dep KUL Arr Sin
Tiger Airways 10:50 11:45 12:15 13:10
Jetstar Asia 15:00 15:55 16:35 17:30
AirAsia 11:30 12:25 10:00 10:55
AirAsia 21:40 22:40 19:50 20:50
Source: Airline websites

To put this in context the three airlines are adding a total of 28 weekly departures into a market where Malaysia Airlines already operates 50 weekly flights and Singapore Airlines 42. From departing their home base to returning back to it Tiger Airways is the fastest at two hours 20 minutes followed by AirAsia’s morning flight (two hours 25 minutes), Jetstar Asia (two hours 30 minutes) and AirAsia’s evening flight (two hours 50 minutes).

Chinese New Year creates fare spikes

Image: advert MalaysiaOne-way fares for the first two weeks of operations were examined in both directions. Between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur Jetstar Asia’s fares are currently surprisingly flat with little variation except on Wednesday 6th February. Tiger, which is the most expensive of the three for the first 10 days is then the cheapest for the last five days. AirAsia’s fares track those of Jetstar Asia very closely.

Chart: CHT SIN-KUL
Source: Airline websites on Tuesday 22nd January.
Green shaded period is Saturday/Sunday.
SGD 1.434 = USD 1, SGD 2.090 = EUR 1

For one-way travel between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore fares are again surprisingly flat for all three carriers across the entire period apart from the weekend of 9/10 February. AirAsia is now consistently the cheapest with Jetstar Asia the most expensive.

Chart: CHT KUL-SIN
Source: Airline websites on Tuesday 22nd January.
Green shaded period is Saturday/Sunday.
SGD 1.434 = USD 1, SGD 2.090 = EUR 1

The Chinese New Year (4706 and The Year of the Rat) begins on 7 February and the celebrations in Malaysia on 7th and 8th February could explain the demand for SIN-KUL traffic on the 5th and 6th and the return peak on 9th and 10th.


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