Low-fare Airlines Take Asia by Storm

Jetting around Asia is getting easier -- and cheaper -- thanks to a flood of low-fare airlines. USA TODAY's Gene Sloan profiles eight of the region's newest flying tigers.

Kingfisher Airlines

Launched: 2005

Aircraft: 11

Background: Backed by the UB Group, one of India's largest conglomerates, the fast-growing airline mimics JetBlue with upscale amenities, including personal video screens at every seat.

Hub: Mumbai, India

Serves: India (Bangalore, Delhi, Goa, Jaipur and more).

Sample fare: Delhi to Mumbai, $195 one way.

On the Web: flykingfisher.com

SpiceJet

Launched: 2005

Aircraft: Six

Background: Indian backers hope to tap soaring demand for domestic flights in India -- growing more than 25% a year. The airline just confirmed an order for 10 more Boeing 737s.

Hub: New Delhi

Serves: India (Bangalore, Mumbai, Goa, Kolkata and more).

Sample fare: Mumbai to Bangalore, $36 one way.

On the Web: spicejet.com

Jetstar Asia Airways

Launched: 2004

Aircraft: Four

Background: An Asian offshoot of Jetstar, the low-cost domestic Australian airline owned by Qantas.

Hub: Singapore

Serves: Thailand, Taiwan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, India, Cambodia, Burma (Myanmar).

Sample fare: Singapore to Hong Kong, $74 one way.

On the Web: jetstarasia.com

Valuair

Launched: 2004

Aircraft: Four

Background: Jetstar Asia took over the year-old start-up in July, but it continues to operate separately, with a focus on Indonesia.

Hub: Singapore

Serves: Thailand, Indonesia.

Sample fare: Singapore to Jakarta, $49 one way.

On the Web: valuair.com

Tiger Airways

Launched: 2004

Aircraft: Six

Background: A joint venture between Singapore Airlines, Ryanair founder Tony Ryan and former America West CEO William Franke.

Hub: Singapore

Serves: Australia, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines.

Sample fare: Singapore to Guangzhou, China, $31 one way.

On the Web: tigerairways.com

Nok Air

Launched: 2004

Aircraft: Two

Background: A low-cost spinoff of Thai Airways.

Hub: Bangkok

Serves: Thailand (Chiang Mai, Phuket, Udon Thani, Hat Yai, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang).

Sample fare: Bangkok to Chiang Mai, $27 one way.

On the Web: www.nokair.co.th

AirAsia

Launched: 2002

Aircraft: 39

Background: A relaunch of an Asian carrier that failed in 2001, expanding at a blistering pace.

Hubs: Kuala Lumpur and Senai, Malaysia; Bangkok; Jakarta, Indonesia.

Serves: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, China, Singapore.

Sample fare: Kuala Lumpur to Jakarta, $34 one way.

On the Web: airasia.com

One-Two-Go

Launched: 2003

Aircraft: 13

Background: A low-fare offshoot of Orient Thai, which has operated as a charter airline in the region since the 1990s.

Hub: Bangkok

Serves: Thailand (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket, Hat Yai, Surat Thani).

Sample fare: Bangkok to Phuket, $42 one way.

On the Web: fly12go.com



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