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Wed, Sep 01, 2004 - Page 12 News List

Tiger Airways launches with S$1 fares

LOW-FARE AIRLINES The Singapore-based carrier is offering promotional S$1 flights to Thailand in its first week of operation. A rival said it welcomed the competition

AFP , SINGAPORE AND HONG KONG

Newcomer Tiger Airways taunted rivals in Southeast Asia's growing budget carrier market yesterday with a S$1 (US$0.59) promotional fare for a one-way ticket to Thailand.

The Singapore Airlines-backed Tiger Airways announced Monday that a third of its tickets to Bangkok, Phuket and Hatyai would be sold at that price in the first week of services.

It is the lowest fare of any carrier in the region.

A return trip will cost two dollars, excluding taxes, but the special rates are available only through the company website www.tigerairways.com.

The response from the public has been extremely encouraging when ticketing sales started online yesterday, a Tiger Airways spokesman said.

"We don't have any specific numbers right now but it has been overwhelming," the spokesman said.

"It's been phenomenally successful."

The promotional fare is available only for the first week of the carrier's maiden flights to the three Thai destinations, which are highly popular with Singaporeans, as well as international tourists.

A Tiger Airways plane will undertake its first ever commercial trip on Sept. 15 to the Thai capital.

The company will ply the ultra-competitive Singapore-Bangkok route three times daily.

On Sept. 22, Tiger will start its daily service to the southern town of Hatyai, followed by the resort island of Phuket a week later.

Valuair, another Singapore budget carrier that also plies the Bangkok route, said it welcomed the rivalry and was confident of holding its ground in the battle for passengers.

"We welcome competition which will help to grow the industry. More jobs will be created and more tourists will come to Singapore," spokesman Nilesh Pritam said.

"More importantly, once the hype is over, travellers will start making considered judgments about the airlines they want to fly with," he said.

A check with Valuair's booking website showed the carrier is offering a two-way return ticket to Bangkok for S$138.

Seats on Valuair's Singapore-Bangkok routes are on average 75 percent taken up, according to Pritam.

Unlike its main rivals, Valuair offers passengers light meals with refreshments, a 20kg baggage allowance and assigned seating ahead of boarding the plane.

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