SIA fare cuts are 'most aggressive' in recent years

SIA fare cuts are 'most aggressive' in recent years
PHOTO: Singapore Airlines

It is a good time to fly with premium carriers such as Singapore Airlines (SIA), Etihad Airways and Cathay Pacific, which are enticing travellers with super deals.

SIA has slashed fares - with short flights going for under $200 - to boost passenger numbers as it commemorates its 70th birthday this year.

The current sale, which also includes fare cuts for long-haul flights and in business class, is one of SIA's most aggressive in recent years, industry analysts said.

Other carriers such as Etihad and Qatar Airways are also offering major discounts, with return tickets to Europe for about $1,000.

Besides flights to cities like Kuala Lumpur (KL) and Jakarta for under $200 return - with taxes and other charges included - SIA is also selling tickets to destinations in India and China for less than $500 and to Australia, for under $600.

There are some conditions attached, however. For example, the special fares do not apply for popular flights like morning services to KL and Jakarta that are always full with business travellers.

A spokesman for Chan Brothers said that recently airlines have been extending promotional fares with an average of 5 to 20 per cent savings for long-haul flights and up to 15 per cent off short-haul fares.

The firm, which is participating in this weekend's Travel Revolution fair at Marina Bay Sands, is selling SIA tickets to Perth from $470, Seoul from $570 and Wellington from $970.

"The fares - same time last year - were about $570, $670 and $1,070 respectively," she said.

SIA would not say how the response has been from customers so far, citing commercial sensitivities. A spokesman would only say that fares are a function of supply and demand, and they may move up and down throughout the year due to numerous factors.

Good times or bad, "there are always travel deals and savings to be mined for the prudent traveller", she added.

The increasingly competitive landscape over the last few years has been great news for travellers who continue to benefit from attractive fares as airlines battle it out to win customers.

Private tutor Alan Wong, 24, said: "Given that SIA is usually out of reach for many young people, the deals are definitely quite attractive, especially to cities in the region. It's about the same as what you would pay on a budget carrier."

With the demand for air travel, especially in the Asia-Pacific, growing strongly, premium carriers are competing not just with one another, but also with budget carriers, to grow market share.

University student Ruswin Sandhu, 22, who lives in Los Angeles, said: "A few years ago, there was no way you could pay under US$1,000 (S$1,400) for an SIA flight to Singapore but now it's possible. It just shows how competitive the industry is."

karam@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Feb 25, 2017.
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