AIR ASIA WINS, FOR NOW. The Cabinet has agreed to let Air Asia fly to Singapore but Tony Fernandes' victory may cost us dearly. Our national carrier Malaysia Airlines will be the biggest loser, of course. Air travelers can expect cheaper fares, perhaps.
But the real winner, ladies and gentlemen, is ...
The Republic of Singapore.
The (Malaysian) Cabinet's decision to let Air Asia fly Singapore ["Air Asia can now fly to Singapore", Bernama] nmeans that Tiger Airways, the Best Budget Carrier of 2006, will get a go at the lucrative market as well. Tiger and Air Asia will fight it out.
While some say Singapore's national carrier SIA will also lose out (the lucrative KL-Singapore sector, which is one of the busiest routes in Asia, has been dominated by SIA and Malaysia Airlines for years), it must be remembered that SIA and Tiger Airways complement each other.
SIA has a 49 per cent share in Tiger.
Malaysia Airlines has none in - and no love lost with - with Air Asia. Malaysia Airlines has been seen by Air Asia as a competitor, at times, and an obstacle, at other times.
So, if Singapore is the winner, what will that make Malaysia?