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Airlines offer freebies to Singapore as demand falls

May 22, 2014 16:39 IST

Airlines offer freebies to Singapore as demand falls

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BS Reporter in Mumbai

Airlines are luring agents with free tickets and extra bonuses in addition to regular commission as competition heats up on the India-Singapore route.

Singapore Airlines is launching its Airbus A380 flights to Mumbai and Delhi from May-end and is offering agents in the two cities free tickets for selling maximum seats on the super jumbo flights.

Jet Airways is giving a 10 per cent additional incentive to agents for selling its business class seats to Singapore.

This incentive is in addition to the regular commission which it pays agents.

Earlier this month, Air India also launched special economy and business class fares to Singapore and plans to operate its Boeing 787 between Mumbai-Singapore.

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Image: A stewardess posing for a photo in the business class cabin Airbus A380 superjumbo after it landed in Singapore.
Photographs: Rediff Archives

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Airlines offer freebies to Singapore as demand falls

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Currently, however, the national carrier flies one stop via Chennai and hence, is not the first choice of travellers from Mumbai.

Singapore Airlines is also offering its first-class passengers a night’s free stay in Singapore hotels and members of its premium class, rewards such as extra miles and discounts on purchasing tickets on A380 flights.

Industry sources say the demand for premium traffic on the route has shown a dip over the last few years and yields too have fallen.

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Image: An Airbus A380 jet of Singapore Airlines takes off.
Photographs: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

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Airlines offer freebies to Singapore as demand falls

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With Singapore Airlines launching new products, competition has intensified.

“Our focus has been to offer good value proposition to our customers.

"We want to reward both, agents and customers,” said Singapore Airlines’ general manager (India) David Lau, adding the airline was expecting strong, single-digit growth from India after the introduction of Airbus A380 flights.

The airline has rationalised capacity on Mumbai and Delhi and will operate two daily flights, including a A380 operation, instead of three daily services which it does now.

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Image: With Singapore Airlines launching new products, competition has intensified.
Photographs: Reuters

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Airlines offer freebies to Singapore as demand falls

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Singapore Airlines, which carries about 35-40 per cent of passengers, is impacted by the seasonal nature of the Indian air travel market.

Thus, while April-May is a good season for outbound travel from India, the inbound load is less.

In June-July, outbound leisure travel drops but holiday travel increases in Australia and New Zealand, increasing occupancy on inbound flights to India.

Currently, the airline flies a mix of Boeing 777-200 and Boeing 777-300 to Mumbai and Delhi, with 266-284 seats in two-and three-class configurations.

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Image: India's Trade Minister Anand Sharma (R) shakes hands with Singapore Airlines Ltd (SIA) Chief Executive Officer Goh Choon Phong as Tata Group Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata (C) looks on before their meeting in New Delhi October 25, 2013.
Photographs: Reuters

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The airline is clubbing two Boeing 777-300 operated flights (eight first class, 42/50 business class and 226/228 economy seats) with an Airbus A380 flight. The Airbus A380 can seat 471 passengers in a three-class configuration (12 first-class suites, 60 business class and 399 economy class seats).

“We want to see how the market develops over the next few months.

“We launched a third flight to Delhi last year. Silk Air (sister airline) started flights to Visakhapatnam in 2012.

“Overall, our capacity to India will grow five per cent, which is in line with market growth,” Lau said.

Currently, there are no immediate plans to seek a revision of traffic rights, he added.


Image: A Silk Air aircraft.
Photographs: Courtesy, Wikimedia Commons

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