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The Big Story

Asia's airline wars: The great profit squeeze in the sky

Competition from budget upstarts and Chinese carriers is hitting flag carriers

MAYUKO TANI, CK TAN and NIKKI SUN, Nikkei staff writers | China

SINGAPORE/HONG KONG -- On Jan. 3, Singapore Airlines shocked its customers with a plan to charge up to 50 Singapore dollars ($37) just to use a credit card to book its cheapest seats. The reaction was swift and furious. "Disgraceful money grab," wrote one of the many angry customers who took to the internet to vent.

Singapore Airlines retreated the next day. "Following a further review, Singapore Airlines will not be proceeding with the implementation" of the credit card service fee, it said in a three-line statement.

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