The recent full liberalisation of the popular Singapore-Kuala Lumpur route – Southeast Asia’s equivalent of London-Paris or New York – London – has regional low-cost carriers increasing services.
Until recently, the shuttle was served only by Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines, a situation that gave rise to complaints of inflexible fares and inconvenient gaps between flying times.
No longer as low-cost carriers (LCC) Air Asia, Jetstar Asia Airways and Tiger Airways immediately jumped into action when the complete opening of the SIN-KUL airway from December 1 was made public by both governments.
Thanks to a staged liberalisation scheme, the LCCs had had a chance to test the market in previous months. Air Asia, which had already been operating on the route since February, goes from double daily to six-times-daily. For Tiger with a one daily return will increase five times each way daily. Jetstar will jump from once daily to 19 times weekly.
The development has also paved the way for more LCC traffic between Singapore and the East Malaysia cities of Kuching, Miri and Kota Kinabalu, which would benefit not only holiday makers but corporates as well. Said Jetstar Asia CEO Chong Phit Lan: “This will potentially increase both trade and tourism growth between both countries.
“We have observed an increasing trend of Singaporeans travelling to East Malaysia, especially Kota Kinabalu and Kuching. The entry of low-cost carrierts like Jetstar Asia brings a different value proposition to passengers. We are confident that we will be able to create even greater accessibility and connectivity for travellers on leisure trips, as well as business travellers.”
Meanwhile, SIA has enhanced services on the SIN-KUL route with subsidiary Silk Air now operating flights in the early morning, lunchtime and late afternoon.
Margie T Logarta