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Asian carriers fly higher on luxury

By: Jacelyn Woo, Singapore
Published: Nov 28, 2011

UPGRADES   AIR FLIGHTS

Asia - Asian airlines are now upgrading their premium services to keep up with the price competition.

Flourishing economies in Asia have created a price-sensitive middle class of frequent travellers, as well as built a growing pool of business and leisure travellers willing to pay full price for airline tickets, according to Andrew Orchard, regional airline analyst at the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Airlines have started catering to this trend, with All Nippon Airways and Singapore Airlines upgrading their first and business class cabins.

Qantas however is having a minimum stake in a premium airline, according to USAToday.

Asia-Pacific is currently the second-largest market in the world with a greater number of affluent people compared to Europe.

While director of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines in Kuala Lumpur Andrew Herdman said business travellers may still decide to get cheaper tickets for leisure, vp of marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes Randy Tinseth believed business and first-class passengers still make up the majority of airline revenues.

Generally, business class drums up to four times more revenue compared to economy class, and international first-class seats could generate up to five to six times more revenue than economy, according to a Boeing estimate.

Business and first class passengers makes up about 40% of total revenue for Singapore Airlines, according to spokesman Nicholas Ionides.

The number of corporate travellers is expected to increase as more Asian economies are forecast to boom over the next few decades, according to Daniel Tsang, founder of Hong Kong-based aviation information and consulting firm Aspire Aviation.

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