CHENNAI: All for one, one for all — is the mantra Asia’s low-cost air carriers have just agreed on.
Eight budget airlines from Japan, Australia, Singapore and Thailand on Monday formed Value Alliance, the world’s first pan-regional low-cost carrier alliance, to help themselves and customers effortlessly fly across the Asia Pacific region. Importantly, it allows passengers to purchase tickets, baggage allowance and in-flight meals in a single transaction.
But, conspicuous by their absence were India’s most-profitable budget carrier IndiGo, Malaysia’s AirAsia, also Southeast Asia’s no-frills carrier, and Australia’s Qantas Airways. The move comes months after four Chinese LCCs formed an U-FLY alliance in January to improve synergies. It is also a departure from the traditional global alliances dominated by full service carriers.
Value Alliance members together served over 47 million passengers from 17 hubs last year, and catered to 160 destinations with a collective fleet of 176 aircraft. “Customers will be able to view, select and book the best-available airfares on flights from any of the airlines in a single transaction, directly from each partner website,” said Value Alliance. Aided by the growing middle-class, Asian budget airlines are not only gaining popularity, but also eating into the market of full-service players. Of the 11 commercial carriers in India, eight are no-frill and regional services currently flying over 60 per cent of travellers.
Value Alliance lets airlines extend privileges to customers. Passengers flying Air India, a Star Alliance member, can use lounge facilities, preferential check-in for business class even while flying international carriers of Star Alliance group.