From Rolls Royce transfers to pre-flight massages, Asia’s top airlines are introducing a range of new services aimed at capturing the big-spending audience. While a large reduction in corporate travel budgets has caused business and first class ticket sales to decrease in recent years, Asian airlines are focusing heavily on the higher end.
Singapore Airlines, one of Asia’s largest carriers by volume, has been estimated to earn over 40 percent of its revenue from high-end services. The airline, which uses the leading Changi Airport as its ‘home base’ in Asia, is one of several in the region that actively targets high-end business and luxury travellers.
Other Asian airlines investing in luxury service include Cathay Pacific, one of the region’s most popular airlines based out of Hong Kong, and Emirates, which is an extremely popular Dubai-based airline. Both have invested heavily in services for first and business class passengers such as on-board chefs and private cabins.
Malaysia Airlines has announced its luxury first-class cabins will be child-free zones. Wealthy families who can afford the expensive price tag - often thousands of pounds per ticket - will in future be banished to more cramped cabins.
The reason for the increase in focus on high-end services, of course, is the immense per-passenger yields that premium services offer. Airlines earn an average of four to five times as much from premium passengers on a per-mile basis than they do from economy passengers, making the battle for Asia’s growing rich class a major one.
Asia’s financial centres have experienced relatively stable economic performance in the last five years, despite ailing investment from the West. Emerging markets, such as China, are also producing a large audience of travellers interested in premium services, particularly on long-haul flights to and from Europe and North America.