S'pore, M'sia to discuss route for budget carriers
Thu, Nov 01, 2007
SINGAPORE - SINGAPORE and Malaysia will discuss allowing budget carriers to ply the route between the two during a meeting in mid-November, transport ministers said Thursday.

Budget flights between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur will end the domination by national carriers Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines which has sparked complaints of overpriced tickets for the flight of less than one hour.

Singapore Transport Minister Raymond Lim said transport officials from both sides will discuss expanding a bilateral air services agreement to allow more flights.

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said last week the Malaysian government has agreed to allow Malaysia-based budget carrier AirAsia to ply the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route.

Singapore-based low-fare carrier Tiger Airways, which is backed by Singapore Airlines, has also expressed a desire to fly the route.

'We discussed that it is timely for the air services agreement between Singapore and Malaysia to be reviewed,' Mr Lim told reporters after a meeting of Southeast Asian transport ministers in Singapore.

'So we have agreed that our officials should meet in mid-November into this matter.'

'They will look into the possibility of expanding the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur flights for a start for two extra services daily and also the opening up of the secondary cities in Malaysia.'

Malaysian Transport Minister Chan Kong Choy said the Malaysian government proposed to Singapore to allow low-cost carriers to fly two flights daily from both sides.

'I have conveyed to the minister officially this stand of the Malaysian government and we have agreed to allow the officials to discuss about the details,' he told reporters.

Neither minister named any airline, but AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes said earlier Thursday the low-fare airline hopes to start flights between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore in December.

'Fares will drop a lot,' Mr Fernandes told reporters on the sidelines of an aviation conference in Singapore.

'I think we will be dropping it by about 50 to 60 per cent. It won't be 30 percent.'

AirAsia plans to charge 150 Malaysian ringgit (S$ 65.2) for a one-way ticket including taxes. -- AFP

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