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Fee gripes swept aside in new Qantas Singapore deal

March 14, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Just two weeks after Jetstar group chief executive Gareth Evans warned that new fees at Changi could lead to fare hikes of up to 25%, forcing Jetstar to shift flights away from the Singaporean hub, Qantas yesterday joined the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Changi Airport Group (CAG) to announce a SGD 5 million partnership to promote Singapore.

The deal will promote Singapore as a destination and a connecting gateway to Asia, Europe and Australia.

With the return of Qantas’ Sydney-London services via Singapore from 25 March, the three-year tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will see all parties work together on a series of joint marketing campaigns in Australia, the United Kingdom and Southeast Asia to promote travel on Qantas services via Singapore.

Earlier this month, Evans told the CAPA Global Low-cost Carrier Summit in Singapore he was “very disappointed” in Changi’s decision to hike fees.

“We believe this will lead to fare increases of 10% to 25%,” he said. See: Jetstar soaring but Changi fees may push up fares

The fees include a new tax of SGD 10.80 per passenger from 1 July 2018 for departing travellers and SGD 3 for those in transit.  The airport’s passenger service and security fee will rise by SGD 2.50 to SGD 30.40 from 1 July 2018 and landing, parking and aerobridge fees will climb.

Changi Airport of the future

Yesterday, however, all that seemed forgotten as Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce said the new partnership aimed to boost the number of people travelling through Singapore from key markets in Australia and the UK.

“Singapore is Qantas’ largest hub outside of Australia, carrying more than 20% of our wide body fleet. It is a cornerstone city in our international network strategy and plays an important role in our ability to respond to the incredible growth we are seeing in travellers from Asia.

“The deal will allow Qantas to better leverage our powerful partner network in the region, which includes three Jetstar branded carriers that connect to our flights through Changi, providing more destinations for more customers.”

From April 2018, Qantas will operate over 50 return services in to and out of Changi Airport each week, making it one of the largest foreign airlines to operate out of the Singapore airport.

STB’s chief executive Lionel Yeo said that the partnership presented an opportunity to drive more visitor arrivals to Singapore and raise its profile as a quality destination through joint marketing efforts.

Departure Changi Airport

“Australia and the UK have always been important source markets for Singapore, ranking 5th and 12th respectively in 2017. The addition of more Qantas services, especially the return of the iconic Kangaroo Route, is set to draw even more visitors from the two countries.

“This new partnership builds on STB’s approach of cultivating strategic partnerships with airlines and industry partners to promote Singapore, grow visitor arrivals and achieve tourism success.”

In 2017, Changi Airport handled 62.2 million passenger movements, with about 30% of its passengers transiting through the airport. London is Changi’s busiest long haul destination and with Qantas’ new flights, Changi will offer a total of 53 weekly services (about 19,600 one way weekly seats) between Singapore and London. Changi Airport is also the most connected international airport to Australia, both in terms of the number of city links and weekly seats available.

Changi Airport Group chief executive Lee Seow Hiang said today’s travellers were increasingly discerning and selective, and this partnership was timely in raising efforts to differentiate Singapore as a seamless stopover point as well as destination.

“Qantas has been flying to Singapore for more than 80 years – it is one of the longest serving airlines to operate at Changi and is a valued airline partner.

“With Jewel Changi Airport set to open in 2019, this new partnership will strengthen efforts to raise awareness of Singapore as a compelling transit point as well as an exciting destination in its own right, which is a win for all.”

Written by Peter Needham

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