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20 January 2009

Mr Kobus De Ru Has a Say

By Kobus

Please open serivce between Johannesburg, South Africa and Asia (Bangkok or KL)

There is world of opportunity waiting for AirAsia. Thai Airways is stopping its service to JNB from BKK and Malaysian Airlines is cutting its schedules. We are now left with Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines which charge up to 11,000ZAR for discount economy class ticket. Middle class families cannot afford to travel to Asia any longer (every year).

The middle east airlines is just not an option as it could take up to 24 hours to reach Bangkok as stop overs could be as long as 10 hours.

Open the skies for Southern African travellers to get quick flying experience to Asia and to enjoy the variety of connections AirAsia offers.

As a concerned citizen and regular traveler I felt compelled to share my view on the current situation with regards to High Airline Airfares. Not only are airfares just increasing, but the latest addition to advertising. You are quoted a fare, but then reminded of the approximate additional taxes and levies. Most airlines do not even explain why a passenger has to pay almost the same amount for these taxes and levies. What is even more of concern is that most airlines are still charging very high fuel surcharges. Just last week the price of oil was R$35. How do they justify this? Maybe the answers lie in attachment ‘Oil Prices’, on the last page Changes to IATA Fare construction rules.

Yes, there will always be competition among airlines. However I do not see this as the problem. I have a problem with for example SAA quoting a fare to Sao Paulo for R4000, and then add R3500. The answer is that this is airport taxes? Is it really? Please refer to excel spreadsheet on benchmark. In July 2008 oil prices peaked $150.

From my little investigation I gathered that there are numerous codes used when calculating fares. Departure Tax, VAT, Airport Tax, Levies, Service Fees and still Fuel Charge Levies. Please refer to spreadsheet on benchmark. We as customers are entitled to know what we are paying for and especially why we still have to pay such very high fuel surcharges. Fuel surcharges according to my knowledge came into affect when oil prices started to rise at the end of 2003, if my memory serves me right.

SAA is one of the most expensive airlines. Why is it that other airlines like low budget airlines charge 4-5 times less and still operate? Airlines must look at opportunities to serve customer needs and not charge an arm and a leg.

This is not an attack on any specific airline company, but a request for clarification on how fares are now being constructed. Oil prices have been falling ever since its peak in July 2008 and reached levels last seen in 2004 May. If you look at the petrol price, this was close to R12 and will most probably be under R6 by next week. Why can we see this affect so soon, but not where airfares are concerned?

Or have airlines become to enjoy the high prices of airline tickets, just like the Oil Companies when oil prices were high, and look at the Oil Companies now…