At a time when domestic passengers are witnessing a sharp rise in air fares, going to Singapore for a business trip or leisure may not, necessarily, make a hole in your pocket. In fact, fares in the popular Chennai-Singapore route are sometime lower than a flight between metros in the country.
For instance, low-cost Asia-Pacific carrier Tiger Airways, which recently started operations in India, offers introductory return fares at Rs 5,299 (including taxes and fees) in the route.
The return fares of Air India Express, one of the big players on the Chennai-Singapore and Trichy-Chennai-Singapore route, are upwards of Rs 15,000. This amount is, however, inclusive of taxes and fuel surcharge. “Fares are determined by market conditions,” said sources in the company. “Both Chennai and Singapore have strong commercial connections that go back to centuries. There is a high seat factor on every flight in this route (85%-90%). So offering competitive fares is financially viable,” explained company sources.
Explaining the rationale behind the low fares, a source in Tiger Airways said, “All seats are booked due to high demand. Travellers pay for add-on services like seat selector (where you can pre-select your seats) and luggage upsize (which allows extra check-in luggage from 5 to15 kgs).”
Jet Airways’s lowest one-way basic fare for the Chennai-Singapore route is upwards of Rs 8,500. Tiger Airways’ initial pricing on the Chennai-Singapore route will be upwards of Rs 1,359 (one-way), excluding taxes and fees.
Singapore has aggressively promoted itself as a business and a tourist destination in recent years and this, in turn, has lured Indians to the islands in droves. Also visa and other formalities are simple here. This also is luring lot of tourists, business executives and frequent fliers to the island. “In fact, a lot of our passengers are businessmen from Chennai’s Burma Bazaar who make frequent trips to Singapore to source electronic goods,” said sources in Air India Express.