Fri, Jul 06, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Budget carriers get better passenger ratings: survey

BRANDING:Respondents also named Samsung, Apple and Sony as the top three brands that were the most trusted or had the best reputation in 14 categories

Bloomberg

Asia-Pacific budget airlines AirAsia Bhd and Qantas Airways Ltd’s Jetstar overtook full-service carriers in a brand-reputation survey, as more passengers in the region turned to cheaper traveling options amid a global economic slowdown.

Singapore Airlines Ltd and Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd, among the world’s 10 biggest carriers by market value, were ranked below the two low-cost air-travel operators, according to the report compiled by Nielsen Holdings NV and Campaign Asia-Pacific.

“It’s an economic reality,” Therese Glennon, managing director of consumer insights for Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa at Nielsen, said in an interview on Wednesday.

“As the demand for budget travel increases, as the economic situation deteriorates, you see a lot of these bigger airlines adjusting their business models,” she added.

Cathay Pacific in May forecast “disappointing” first-half earnings. The carrier has pared passenger capacity growth, cut flights to North America and Europe, imposed a hiring freeze on ground staff and offered cabin crew unpaid leave.

“While we cannot comment on the validity of this specific survey, being unaware of its exact methodology, we can share that for more than 65 years, Cathay Pacific has been serving travelers from around the world,” the airline said in an e-mailed response to questions.

Singapore Air, which posted an unexpected fourth-quarter loss of S$38.2 million (US$30.17 million), started a low-cost carrier that completed its first flight last month. Nicholas Ionides, a spokesman for Singapore Air, declined to comment because he has not seen the Nielsen report.

Other full-service airlines that were ranked lower include Qantas, Australia’s largest carrier, and Korean Air Lines Co, South Korea’s biggest flier.

Nielsen asked 400 respondents in each of the 12 Asia-Pacific countries polled to name the top two brands they thought were most trusted or had the best reputation in 14 categories, including travel and leisure, it said.

Samsung Electronics Co, Apple Inc and Sony Corp were the top three brands in the survey.

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