DO NOT expect Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to slash their fares for flights between the Republic and Kuala Lumpur any time soon.
Two weeks after the lucrative route was partially opened to budget airlines, the two national carriers are under no pressure to make drastic cuts.
In fact, according to Tiger Airways and Jetstar Asia, travellers' habits have not changed significantly. They added that their flights between the two cities are, on average, just over half-full.
SIA chief executive officer (CEO) Chew Choon Seng and MAS head Idris Jala confirmed that the competition has not made an appreciable dent in business.
'Things are not as bad as we had thought,' Mr Idris yesterday told reporters on the sidelines of the inaugural Singapore Airshow Aviation Leadership Summit at the Raffles City Convention Centre.
'We are looking at the loads on a daily basis and, depending on how competition develops, we will respond accordingly.
'To date, there is no need to press the alarm bell.'
SIA is not unduly worried either, but it is too early to say, Mr Chew said
Loads have been strong so far on the back of the recent Chinese New Year peak and will probably continue to be good with this week's air show, the one-week school break next month and then the long Good Friday weekend, he said.
'We shall see what happens after that. Depending on who you ask, there are various reasons the budget flights are not a bigger hit.'
Mr Idris suggested that, rather than affecting SIA and MAS, the budget flights are hitting another market - people who used to make the trip between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur by bus.
Every year, over 1.3 million people hop on express coaches to head north to Malaysia, paying between $25 and more than $60 for a one-way ticket.
When contacted, coach operators say it is too early to assess the impact of budget flights on their business. For Tiger and Jetstar, they say, one problem is that old travel habits are hard to break.
'It will take some time to change the traditional booking patterns on that route, where people have been used to turning up at the airport and just seeing what is available,' Tiger president and CEO Tony Davis said.
That the budget airlines currently operate just one flight a day each also means they are not able to serve travellers on day trips.
To be sure, both carriers say they are a little disappointed with the results so far, especially considering their long wait for the breakthrough.
It took six years of lobbying on their part for governments on both sides of the Causeway to clear the runway for a total of four budget flights a day between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, which Tiger, Jetstar and Malaysia's AirAsia started operating on Feb 1.
Between them, SIA and MAS operate 13 daily flights, offering more than 21,000 round-trip seats a week - four times the capacity of budget airlines.
But budget airlines are looking ahead to December to make up for lost ground. That will be when all restrictions on the route will be lifted to allow budget carriers to fly as often as they wish between the two points.
The move is part of an Asean initiative to free air travel between the 10 member countries' capital cities.
When that happens, Jetstar is ready to put up six flights a day and is confident that seats will be filled, said its chief executive officer, Ms Chong Phit Lian.
Industry watchers said until then, SIA and MAS - which currently charge more than $400, taxes and surcharges included, for a round-trip ticket, barring special promotions - are unlikely to drop fares suddenly.
But watch this space.
Mr Chew said: 'As we go forward, I think we shall see some interesting pricing manoeuvres.'