International Discount Airlines
One of the things that is happening as we witness the industrial growth going on right now in China is an increase in travel between major hubs around the world and the Far East. American, European and companies all around the globe are expanding their commercial and consumer enterprises into China to meet this new found demand for goods and services. We are now seeing several discount airlines emerging, offering fares often at half the rate of commercial carriers.
Oasis Hong Kong, a discount airline based in Hong Kong, began discounted long haul service between Hong Kong and London Gatwick in October of 2006. A few months later Vancouver was added to the schedule. San Francisco will be added in January of 2008. This airline broke even financially just 6 months after its first flight.
Business-class seats on British Airways and Cathay Pacific are often priced up to $8,000 between London and Hong Kong. Oasis Hong Kong has its business-class seats priced at $1960 round trip. They will also serve two free hot meals along with soft drinks, tea and coffee.
With its discount fare structure and long range flights, Oasis Hong Kong is seeking licenses for flights between Hong Kong and Chicago, Italy and Germany. They provide similar comfort and service and customers don't have to change planes to get lower fares.
Oasis is not the only airline bullish on the low-cost long haul business sector. Air Asia, based in Malaysia, is developing a long haul spin-off called AirAsiaX, which will begin flights on November 2nd between its Kuala Lampur hub and Gold Coast Airport in eastern Australia. It hopes to expand service to China, Europe, India, Japan and the Middle East. AirAsiaX will join Jetstar, the three year old low-cost division of Quantas that flies between Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Hawaii.
In the United States, the newcomer Virgin America, partly owned by the Virgin Group, began service between the West and East coasts in August. And since June, Zoom Airlines, based in Ottawa, has offered discount flights between New York and London as well as between Canadian cities and several British cities and Paris.