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Low Cost Airlines In NE Asia, Flying International  
User currently offlineManni From South Korea, joined Nov 2001, 4221 posts, RR: 22
Posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 3889 times:

We see them nearly everywhere, also in South East Asia, but why aren't any low cost airlines (read Air Asia, Jetblue, Easyjet and the likes, not Ryanair) flying between China, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea? Are the distances between the various major airports of the mentioned countrys to far apart to create a route structure that is financialy viable (low cost companys tend to make as many turnarounds as possible, I think)? Are the airport charges to high, due to the lack of competing airports in one city? Any other possible reasons? Do you think we might see them in the future, and why (not)? Would it be possible to make it work with a widebody aircraft?

There's a huge potential in this region, roughly 2 billion people (of wich more than 1.5 billion chinese, who offcourse not all have acces to airtransport). A flight from ICN to NRT/ KIX/ HKG cost you atleast 350€, while it doesn't take more than 2 hours to reach NRT and KIX and 3,5 to reach HKG. TPE sets you atleast 250€ back and a flight to mainland China 400€ and up, while that's within 1,5 hours reach. But it's not a problem to fly for 250€ to BKK, 5 hours away.


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9 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineSr176 From Switzerland, joined Feb 2001, 409 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 3863 times:

Korean Hansung Airlines started with ATR72 flying between South Korean cities and Cheju. They intende to add Fukuoka next year.

User currently offlineVincewy From Taiwan, joined Oct 2005, 767 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 3828 times:

If you're looking at cities like ICN, HKG, TPE, KIX, NRT, it won't work, fixed costs are very high on those routes and low cost, no frill services only provide marginal savings on fares, sometimes almost the same. IE, Jetstar Asia's TPE-SIN is almost 7000NT after tax (you can find fares from travel agent on non-peak for just slightly more on CX), well over 10000NT if you want flexible schedule, I might as well fly with CX, SQ, BR, CI for about the same rates with frills.

There's market, however, for secondary cities not linked by international services, as well as Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia, a lot of cities can't be reached by land and underserved by national carriers. Air Asia is filling the gap in the aforementioned market.


User currently offlineCloudyapple From Hong Kong, joined Jul 2005, 2454 posts, RR: 9
Reply 3, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 3801 times:

Quoting Vincewy (Reply 2):

Agreed. Also the sector lengths are typically 3-4hrs within Asia. Most European LCCs fly 2hr and under which makes sense for having no frills. 4hrs on a plane will usually straddle across a meal time (not to forget time passengers spend checking in/out and travelling to/from airports to complete the whole trip).

Another factor is bilaterals between countries. Whereas the US is one market with no restrictions (for local carriers) and the EU as a whole also has no restrictions, asia is very much less open. Many countries have state owned carriers who already have to compete with domestic local carriers. This makes any international routes they have their prime money earners. So governments are rather cautious in opening up the markets. There have been signs of change tho recently as bilaterals are up for renegotiation.



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User currently offlineVincewy From Taiwan, joined Oct 2005, 767 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 3753 times:

Quoting Cloudyapple (Reply 3):
Also the sector lengths are typically 3-4hrs within Asia. Most European LCCs fly 2hr and under which makes sense for having no frills. 4hrs on a plane will usually straddle across a meal time

Almost correct, any flight over 2 hours most passengers in the region would prefer some snacks/drinks, the triangle of HKG-ICN-NRT is considered no fly zone for LCCs, I've not found any narrow body flights between any city pair among those airports (HKG, TPE, ICN, FUK, NGO, KIX, NRT, soon you can add PEK, PVG, CTS), smallest aircrafts I've seen is 767 and A332, this is due to high landing charges and slot constraints (can't add frequencies). Another interesting feature of this market is, most people fly less than 4 times a year (they go on vacation), meals (quality of) onboard is a huge factor, I've read travel forums where people compare them, don't see that in US.

It's not to day LCCs aren't needed in Asia, in China, a lot of cities inland need air services fast, railroad can't keep up with demand fast enough, perhaps there's market for both domestic/regional LCCs.


User currently offlineCPH757 From Denmark, joined Sep 2005, 684 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 3711 times:

Unfortunately there is no real market of air fares inside mainland China. The prices are regulated by the national aviation authority. You can get some pretty good discounts already, but they are also regulated as far as I know.

A domestic fare is based on kilometers of travel, just like train fares. The airport tax are also fixed.

And finally, a return fare, is the double of a one-way fare...

But when that's said, I find the fares in mainland China to be less expensive than between the big SE Asian hubs...

Between the big hubs, it is often possible to find huge bargains from travel agencies as well. HKG-TPE for less than 100€ return, is not difficult to find. Check for instance www.zuji.com.hk og www.travel.com.hk



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User currently offlineZeke From Hong Kong, joined Dec 2006, 9104 posts, RR: 75
Reply 6, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 3671 times:

Quoting Manni (Thread starter):
We see them nearly everywhere, also in South East Asia, but why aren't any low cost airlines (read Air Asia, Jetblue, Easyjet and the likes, not Ryanair) flying between China, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea?

No open skies policy in Asia like the EU or North America. All routes and city pairs, and over flights are subject to bi-lateral constraints.

The bi-laterals prevent LCCs from starting up and taking business away from national airlines.



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User currently offlineCX777FAN From Australia, joined Feb 2005, 296 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3664 times:

UA and NW are as close as NE Asia come to LCCs both in terms of price (agents in Tokyo usually offer flights from NRT to HKG for less than USD300 return - I'm flying for USD200 in early DEC on UA) and in terms of service (compared to the likes of CX, JL, NH, SQ, Asiana etc....

User currently offlineVincewy From Taiwan, joined Oct 2005, 767 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3616 times:

Quoting Manni (Thread starter):
Between the big hubs, it is often possible to find huge bargains from travel agencies as well. HKG-TPE for less than 100€ return, is not difficult to find. Check for instance www.zuji.com.hk og www.travel.com.hk

The lowest I saw is 1300 HKD on KA, are you talking about 9I (Thai Sky)? Sorry, it's not an option, I've read a lot of complaints about the airlines (aborted takeoffs due to engine problems, constant/major delays of over 5 hours), from TPE, when it started 9I was offering 2999 NTD + tax TPE-HKG return, a 2000 NTD saving over promotional fares on CI, BR, CX, TG, and KA (most are in low 5000 + same airport tax).

Now the fares are creeping back to 3999 NTD, a more realistic price point to operate, when you realize all other competitors are using modern 744, 777, A330, A340 on this route, no sensible human souls in this market would want to save 1000 NTD to fly with 20+ year old ex-DL L1011s pulled from Arizona desert, I've heard about the conditions of those planes from a few passengers, which sounds pretty scary (also amusing), ie: metal pieces, patched onto the wings, ceiling rattles during takeoff/landing.

I'm surprised no one has talked about Thai Sky here,, unlike Orient Thai and Phuket Air.


User currently offlineAussie_ From Australia, joined Dec 2000, 1766 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 3595 times:

I flew Thai Sky BKK-KUL-BKK.

On time, excellent friendly service, better inflight catering than most other airlines.

Plus of course you get to fly a Tristar... Where can you go wrong?

As a bonus, I got a jumpseat landing too  Smile


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