Singapore Airlines is determined to push ahead with its campaign to fly between Australia and the United States despite the latest snub by the Federal Government in blocking its hopes to fly on the route.
Responding to the Federal Government's latest green paper on aviation, which has, in effect, again prevented the Singapore flag carrier from competing with Qantas on the trans-Pacific service, Singapore Airlines' chief executive, Chew Choon Seng, said the carrier was used to being "fobbed off" in its desire to fly on from its Australian destinations.
But Mr Chew said Singapore Airlines was prepared to be patient in its long-running battle, even though the Australian Government has given the go-ahead for a second Australian carrier, V Australia, to take on Qantas on the key Sydney-Los Angeles route.
The Australian airlines will be joined by a second US carrier, Delta Airlines. With the current US carrier, United Airlines,
that will make four airlines servicing the route between the two countries.
Speaking after Singapore Airlines launched its revamped A330 service to Brisbane yesterday, Mr Chew recognised that the Government had taken another step in expanding the trans-Pacific service but was nonetheless disappointed that Singapore had been prevented from joining the route.
He said the airline felt aggrieved that the Government's latest statements did not recognise the nature of freer bilateral arrangements, particularly given that Qantas was allowed to fly on to other international destinations out of Singapore.
"It is not a situation we believe is ideal," Mr Chew said.
But he recognised it was as much a question of geography and location as economic benefits and said that his airline would be prepared to bide its time and eventually secure rights to fly the route.
In the meantime he indicated the Australian travel market was proving to be more resilient than other regions in the world.
He was cautiously optimistic that the carrier's traffic between the two countries would hold up. But he accepted that revenue was soft, as shown by his company's last quarterly results, and that passengers were holding off booking trips until the economic situation improved.
from www.smh.com.au (Sydney Morning Herald)