Singapore

Travellers could enjoy lower fares

Changi Airport to offer more flights and destinations

More flights and seats to existing destinations as well as services to new cities will be available to travellers at Changi Airport over the coming weeks.

These could lead to lower fares, especially on popular regional routes.

In May, Singapore Airlines will launch a new service to Stockholm in Sweden, via Moscow, while its long-haul budget arm Scoot will start flying to Athens, Greece, in June.

There will also be more flights to 12 destinations in the Asia-Pacific, Changi Airport Group told The Straits Times.

In all, 12,000 weekly one-way seats from Singapore will be added progressively, with about two-thirds of the growth on Asian routes.

Cities with more flights to be added include popular destinations such as Bangkok, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Phuket and Yangon.

ADDING FLIGHTS

Airlines are also adding flights to Ahmedabad in western India and Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, as well as to the Australian cities of Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

The numbers are based on schedules pre-filed by carriers for what is known as the northern summer season, which started yesterday and ends in late October.

Changi's managing director (air hub development), Mr Lim Ching Kiat, said: "Travel in the Asia-Pacific region has seen healthy growth in the past 12 months, and we are pleased that the increase in services will strengthen Changi Airport's network."

He added: "With Africa as the next frontier in emerging markets, we are also excited about the relaunch of flights to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)."

Ethiopian Airlines, which stopped flying to Singapore from Addis Ababa in September 2014 because of weak demand, will resume services in June with five flights a week between the two cities.

Changi Airport, which handled a record 58.7 million passengers last year - 5.9 per cent higher than in 2015 - is expected to continue to increase flight numbers and services as the demand for air travel in the region continues to grow, analysts said.

The growth at Changi mirrors expansion in other South-east Asian countries, the Centre for Aviation said in a recent report.

MODERATE GROWTH

However, its Singapore-based analyst, Mr Brendan Sobie, noted that while passenger traffic in Malaysia and Vietnam is expected to grow strongly this year, Singapore, as a more mature market, can expect more moderate growth.

Overall, the future is bright for the region, with economic growth and a growing middle-class fuelling demand for air travel. In the longer term, airports in the region will continue to bustle, with South-east Asian carriers accounting for about 20 per cent of the total global aircraft orders, and 30 per cent of orders made by the budget carriers, Mr Sobie said.

While this may not necessarily be a good thing for airlines, especially in the current climate, with capacity outstripping the growth in demand for air travel, it is good news for airports and travellers, he said.

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