[IMG=21259-7120] The competition for blocks on Moscow – Dubai – Singapore flights by Singapore Airlines between tour operators that specialize in exotic destinations is tightening. The airline made contracts with six tour operators for the winter season, while a number of ‘candidates’ was twice as much, travel market experts say. According to unaccredited information, among the ‘lucky’ ones are ITM Group, Solvex, Lanta-tour voyage. The Moscow office of Singapore Airlines withholds giving detailed comments. However, Lubov Trofimova, Sales Manager, pointed out that the situation became tense owing the increased demand for air traffic volume to Singapore: the Airline can not allocate more seats to partners as the demand among direct clients is high. Furthermore, Elena Popkova, Head of the South-East Asia Department of ITM Group, specified: ‘the choice of partners was made upon their volumes for the period the Singapore Airlines works in the Russian market (from March 2006). Our norm is 180–200 tourists per month that was enough for Singapore Airlines to choose our company’.
Meanwhile, travel market players believe that the Airline interested tour operators because of its image as an ‘elite’ one. Nevertheless, the companies left overboard understate their discontent. On the one hand beside Singapore Airlines Emirates and Qatar Airways operate flights to Singapore. These airlines do not position their services as luxury class ones and their rates are around 100$ less. On the other hand, travel market players that organize tours to Bali can use a direct Transaero flight from Moscow to Denpasar. Thus, Konstantin Denisov, Head of the South-East Department of Kwinta-tour, observed that: ‘this variant is the most convenient. Besides, at the moment the connection in Dubai takes more than an hour. Passengers are not always allowed to leave the plane’.
Furthermore, tour operators that were not chosen by Singapore Airlines emphasize that they themselves were not satisfied with contract terms. ‘Singapore Airlines have high tariffs. Besides, they offer blocks of seats on Tuesday and Thursday flights, while we are interested in flights on Saturdays’, tour operators say. Moreover, they agreed that if Singapore Airlines decide to increase a number of flights per week the policy of the airline will be more flexible and attractive for potential partners. Apropos, the airline has such a plan, but withholds official comments on it.
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