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Q1 Airfares Stable Across Asia Pacific But...

Q1 Airfares Generally Stable Across Asia Pacific But…

Steady and significant increases recorded across all classes over past three years

4 April 2006 – Airfares across all classes in all Asia Pacific markets have remained generally stable in the three months ending January 2006, however the latest American Express Airfare Index reveals a steady and upward regional trend overall for the past three years.

One of the biggest individual changes quarter on quarter was on Business Class fares from New Zealand – down 2.9 percent. The decrease was led by a decline of just over 11 percent in business fares tracked on the trans-Tasman route, according to Mr Robert Tedesco, Head of Consulting Services Japan Asia Pacific Australia at American Express.

Mr Tedesco said that the decline was a reflection on the competitive nature of the route and the constant battle between carriers to maintain and expand the trans-Tasman corporate customer base out of New Zealand.

Other changes were recorded from Australia where First Class and Business Class fares increased 0.9% and 0.5% respectively while Discount Economy and Lowest Off-Season Excursion fares from Australia fell 1.7% and 0.6% through the quarter. There was some shift in domestic fares within Australia with Discount Economy fares down 3.6%, while Lowest Peak-Season and Off-Season Excursion dropped 1.2% while Business and Full Economy remained unchanged.

Minor changes were recorded in fares from India and Indonesia for the quarter. Lowest Peak-Season Excursion and Lowest Off-Season Excursion from India dropped 1.1% and 1.6% while both fare categories were down 2.9% from Indonesia.

The overall indices for the Asia-Pacific region have however increased steadily over the past three years in First Class and Business Class, up 8.3% and 9.5%, respectively for the period ending Q1 06. The Full Economy and Discount Economy airfare indices increased 6.2% and 6.4% respectively over the same period. Airfare increases in the leisure travel economy categories (which are often too restrictive and therefore unsuitable for corporate travel) increased at a considerably slower rate, with the Lowest Peak Season Excursion and Lowest Off-Season Excursion indices increasing just 1.4% and 1.7% respectively over the three years.

The Index provides quarterly benchmarking data on trends in corporate travel costs, based on a survey of 924 published airfares making it the most comprehensive airfare survey conducted in the Asia Pacific region. American Express has developed the Index as a tool for companies to benchmark against the average published airfare market, identify and understand airline trends, and plan accordingly.

“The impact of the growing influence of low cost carriers on the region is clearly visible in this quarter’s survey. On top of the three year trend highlighting the growing published fare gap between excursion fares and business style fares, this quarter’s survey further highlights declining excursion fare levels out of India and Indonesia,” Mr Robert Tedesco, Head of Consulting Services Japan Asia Pacific Australia at American Express, said.

“As demographics change and the rate of liberalisation within the region gathers pace, this momentum will continue with low cost carriers and their hybrid cousins yielding improved market shares across a number of routings.”

Mr Tedesco said the ongoing impact of high crude oil prices continued to be a major contributor to the upwards trend in fares.

“The oil price mostly remained above US$60 in recent months with the Malaysian Tapis spiking above US$70 a barrel in January. Substantial temporary fuel surcharges remain in place for travel with most Asia-Pacific airlines, which are additional to the airfares tracked in the Index.”

“With these very small movements in airfares this quarter, the annual growth rates in airfares also remained moderate, compared with the relatively large increases observed in previous years. Over the past year (Q1’06 compared with Q1’05) the Overall index for First Class airfares across the region increased 2.6%, Business Class and Full Economy 2.0%, while Discount Economy, Lowest Peak-Season Excursion and Lowest Off-Season Excursion rose 1.8%, 1.7% and 1.4% year on year.

Overall Summary – Asia-Pacific Region to ALL destinations
Airfare type
Qtr-over-Qtr Q1’06/Q4’05 Overall Percentage Change in Local Currencies Year-over-Year Q4’05/Q4’04 Overall Percentage Change in Local Currencies
First Class 0.1% 2.6%
Business Class -0.1% 2.0%
Full Economy 0.0% 2.0%
Discount Economy -0.2% 1.8%
Lowest Peak-Season Excursion 0.0% 1.7%
Lowest Off-Season Excursion -0.2% 1.4%

INDIVIDUAL MARKET RESULTS (in local currencies)

New Zealand – Business Class Airfares from New Zealand fell 2.9%. Discount Economy fares increased marginally 0.2% while First and Full Economy Class were unchanged. Year on Year, the big changes were Full Economy and Discount Economy up 4.8% and 4.7% while Business Class fell 3.3% and First Class rose 1.3%.

Other markets:

Australia  First Class airfares from Australia increased 0.9% in Q1’06 quarter from the previous quarter while Business Class airfares from Australia increased by 0.5%. Full Economy airfares from Australia dropped slightly by 0.1% and Discount Economy airfares from Australia fell 1.7%. This represented a year on year increase of 3.2%, 2.3%,1.8% and 0.3% respectively for First, Business, Full Economy and Discount Economy.

Hong Kong – No change quarter on quarter was recorded across any fare class. First Class fares year on year from Hong Kong increased 2.7%, Business Class was up 1.8%, Full Economy increased 0.4% and Discount Economy fares 0.1%.

India – The only fare class to change during the quarter from India was First Class which rose 0.3%. Year on year, there were increases across First, Business, Full Economy and Discount Economy of 3.2%, 2.6%, 3.8% and 3.8% respectively.

Indonesia – While there were no recorded increases during the quarter, significant increases were recorded year on year in Indonesian fares in USD with First Class, Business Class, Full Economy and Discount Economy recording increases of 7.4%, 7.3%, 7.5% and 7.3%.

Japan – All classes were stable, recording no growth during the quarter with minimal year on year growth of 2.4% for First Class and 2.0% across Business Class, Full Economy and Discount Economy.

Malaysia – First, Business, Full and Discount Economy airfares from Malaysia recorded no change during the quarter with a year on year 5.7% in First and Business Class, and 5.3% in both Full and Discount Economy.

Pakistan – No changes were recorded within the Q1 period however year on year First Class and Discount Economy Fares rose 5.1% and Business and Full Economy 5.2%.

Singapore – Negligible changes were recorded during the quarter with year on year increases of 3.7%, 4.1%, 2.8% and 2.7% for First, Business, Full Economy and Discount Economy.

No changes were recorded for the quarter for fares from Taiwan or Thailand while year on year the only fare to change was Discount Economy Fares which were up 0.3% from Taiwan and 0.2% from Thailand.


ABOUT THE INDEX

The American Express Asia Pacific Airfare Index is published every quarter as a guide to airfare changes and trends in the Asia Pacific region. It is produced exclusively for American Express by Access Economics. It tracks airfare activity in 165 city-pairs, all originating in the Asia-Pacific region, with destinations throughout the world. The airfares are surveyed from published airfares available for ticketing from the first day of the quarter.

As well as providing critical analysis of airfare trends in the region, the American Express Asia Pacific Airfare Index assists organisations to measure and keep track of their performance in terms of business travel expense management.

Each edition of the American Express Asia Pacific Airfare Index measures data across six fare categories including First Class, Business Class, Full Economy, Discount Economy, Lowest Peak-Season Excursion and Lowest Off-Season Excursion. The countries covered by the Index are Australia, Hong Kong SAR China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.

ENDS

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