Singapore 2010: Low cost carriers in focus

Tiger A320.jpgRecently, we spoke to Singapore Airlines CEO Chew Choon Seng, whose carrier took delivery of the Airbus A380 around the time of the 2008 Singapore Airshow.

Two years ago, the headlines came from full service carriers like SIA, who ordered aircraft like the A380 and Airbus’ A330 and A350, as well as Boeing’s 777 and 787, in droves.

This year, some of them might surprise us and announce an order. But if anything, after the economic downturn of the last 18 months, that is more likely to come from the guys who have actually increased their market share in this crisis.

Low-cost carriers like AirAsia, Tiger and Jetstar have been adding aircraft and hiring people as they tapped on the growing market for low-fare travel, and took some of the traffic from their floundering full-service rivals in the region.

We hear that there might be some announcements next week, possibly from low-cost carriers. Times, however, have certainly changed from two years ago when almost every airline was confident about its prospects.

Chew believes that increasingly,  the market will be divided between the likes of SIA that offer very good full-service options and the likes of AirAsia, who have cornered the short-haul market with their low-fare options. The rest, as he puts it, will continue to be in a squeeze.

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