The theory is simple enough, sell the tickets cheap and more people will fly -- even if they get herded aboard like cattle with nothing more than peanuts and soft drinks for dinner. \nLow-cost airlines have been a success in the US and Europe, and a new batch is now swooping into Asia to see if the formula works here. \nThey are popping up so fast -- some independent, some owned by bigger airlines -- that it almost looks like an aviation gold rush, promising travelers more choices and cheaper fares. \nSingapore Airlines is the latest big player to join the fray, with plans to start a low-cost carrier, Tiger Airways, next year in partnership with the founder of the budget European carrier Ryanair. Their prices haven't been announced. \nBut Indonesia's Lion Air, which also plans to begin operations next year, says a one-way ticket from Singapore to Jakarta would cost US$49, compared with about US$313 on a full- service carrier. \nThai Airways plans its own version next year, and British airline tycoon Richard Branson is moving into the New Zealand market with Pacific Blue Airlines, after starting up Virgin Blue in Australia. \nVirgin Blue has knocked prices lower in Australia: Travel agents charge about US$855 for a ticket from Melbourne to Perth. The nation's only other big carrier, Qantas, charges about US$1,340, but plans to respond with its own cut-rate airline, Jetstar, next year. \nAviation experts expect more startups, though some caution quite a few probably won't last long. \n"We ain't seen nothing yet," said Peter Harbison, managing director at the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation, a consultancy in Sydney, Australia. "This is going to be a big, big movement." \nConsumers can benefit as cheap carriers slash prices to compete for market share, though often the rock-bottom prices that get advertised only apply to a few tickets for flights at odd hours. \nPrices on Australian tickets now being offered by Virgin Blue and Qantas often end up within a few dollars of each other, but Harbison said that since Virgin Blue came along in 2000 the new competition forced them down sharply in many cases. \nThe low-cost concept became a money-maker in the US, where it was pioneered in the 1970s by Southwest Airlines -- the model for budget carriers elsewhere like Ryanair and easyjet that took hold in Europe. \n"Asia is playing catch-up," said Joyce Lai, a spokeswoman for the low-cost Malaysian carrier AirAsia, which has been successful on domestic routes and moved international this month with flights to the Thai resort island of Phuket. More international services are coming soon. \nAirAsia claims its operating costs are less than half that of other successful Asian carriers, and it's made air travel an affordable option for more Malaysians. \nThe concourses of Kuala Lumpur's international airport still teem with business executives in suits and well-heeled tourists, but they're now joined by many less-flush travelers flying back home to visit relatives in the provinces. \n"Most of the time you can get really good rates -- in fact, sometimes it's cheaper than bus tickets from Penang to Kuala Lumpur," said George Ong, who runs a travel agency on Penang island specializing in local tour packages. \nBut some naysayers note that Asia is quite different from the US and Europe -- which have huge, open aviation markets -- and that could stop the low-cost carriers from enjoying the same success. Asian regulators typically have been reluctant to open up routes to more competition, though that's easing. \nAnd while travelers might be fine with no amenities on flights that last an hour or two, many routes in this region take longer. \n"Here in Asia, four-hour flights are bread-and-butter flights," Wickham said. "You have to start giving people more than coffee and peanuts."
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
RECEIVING TREATMENT: President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai and Premier Su Tseng-chang visited former president Lee Teng-hui yesterday morning Taipei Veterans General Hospital yesterday rebutted speculation that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had died a day earlier, saying that he was weak, but receiving treatment. The hospital said the 97-year-old Lee was not in good condition and needed ongoing care, adding that if there are any changes in his condition, it would make those public. The comments came after rumors emerged online on Tuesday that Lee had died after being hospitalized since early February. Soon after the unsubstantiated rumors emerged, reporters started flocking to the hospital seeking confirmation. Lee was admitted to Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Feb. 8 after choking while drinking
THAI CASE UPDATE: Twenty-nine close contacts of the worker have been tested with two types of tests, including 18 dorm mates, with 28 negative results so far Five imported cases of COVID-19, four from the Philippines and one from Hong Kong, were reported yesterday, bringing the total confirmed cases in Taiwan to 467, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. The four returning from the Philippines were on the same flight, and the local health department has identified 15 people who had direct contact with them — including 10 passengers in the two rows in front or behind them, who have been put under 14-day home isolation, and five crew members, who will practice 14-day self-health management, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang