Monday, March 12, 2007

More Fare Sales from MAS

MALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) plans to offer more fare sales this year in a move to provide bigger bargains to spur the demand for air travel during off-peak periods.

The sales would offer attractive international airfares as well as domestic and international Golden Holiday packages to stimulate travel demand throughout the year.

MAS senior general manager network and revenue management Bernard Francis said the fare sales were in addition to the Malaysian Airlines Travel Fair held in February and MAS would also continue to participate at the MATTA travel fair that was held twice yearly.

Globally the airline is organising more promotional activities to spur demand for inbound traffic. MAS enjoyed a 60% market share of all outbound traffic and its direct flights market share could be as high as 80%, said Francis.

“The best way to induce travel is via pricing,’’ he added.

Bernard Francis
MAS is now in control of its seat inventory following a massive revamp of the various processes in the organisation which involved network reconfiguration, overhaul of its reservation systems, review of its distribution network and most importantly enhancing its revenue management system.

Now the airline can rely on faster and more reliable data that allows it to sell at lower or higher prices.

“After the revamp we now have a better grasp of our inventory and that allows us to better plan our sales and offer discounts to stimulate growth during lean periods,’’ Francis said.

He also advised travellers to book their tickets early to get the best bargains. Having said that, he pointed out that while price was an important factor when purchasing airline tickets, it should not be the sole deciding factor.

Equally important were factors such as the terms and conditions attached to a particular fare and the product offering.

“Product offering involves seat pitch, food, entertainment and others. All these factors should be taken into consideration when deciding to fly a particular airline as there is also value attached that travellers should be mindful of. My advice is to read the fine print,’’ Francis said.

He said Europeans normally book their air tickets almost nine months in advance, in comparison with Asians, who planned their holidays in less than two months.

“The earlier you book the better the prices will be and with MAS you can book 342 days in advance,’’ he said. He also addressed the perception issue that MAS airfares were high. “We at MAS truly believe it is a perception issue. It is certainly untrue that our fares are high. The fact is that our fares are very competitive and we offer some of the best bargains on most of our routes,’’ he said.

He reiterated: “We are truly competitive as we have done enough lab analysis to prove that our fares are very competitive. In fact in some markets, our fares are the lowest,’’

However, he qualified that passengers would normally pay slightly more for direct flights – one clear example was the KL-London sector.

If a passenger were to fly Singapore Airlines or even Emirates to London from the KL International Airport (KLIA), the time taken would be longer than a direct flight from KLIA to London, thus the slight premium charged.

For a businessman time is of the essence but to a holidaymaker price may be a factor and he may be willing to travel longer hours than a businessman.

Source : STAR
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