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Old March 17th, 2006, 10:04 PM   #421
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Malaysia's AirAsia mulls joint ventures, more flights to China
By CAROLYN LIM
17 March 2006

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia is thinking of setting up joint ventures in Indochina and the Philippines over the next 18 months, and will likely increase flights to China, a senior executive said.

AirAsia Bhd. already manages 49 percent-owned joint venture low-cost carriers in Indonesia and Thailand. It plans similar arrangements in Indochina and the Philippines over the next 12 to 18 months, Executive Vice President of Strategy Timothy Ross told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview Thursday.

He would not say which of the Indochina countries -- Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos -- the new ventures will likely be in.

The airline, the region's biggest low-cost carrier in terms of fleet size, also is likely to increase its routes and services to China, including possibly flying from Kuala Lumpur to southern Chinese cities such as Shenzhen and Guangzhou, he said.

"With the Airbus 320s, going to South China from Kuala Lumpur is possible," Ross said. Previously, AirAsia had said flights to China were only possible from Bangkok because all its fleet were Boeing 737s. AirAsia currently flies to Xiamen, its only mainland China destination thus far, from the Thai capital.

Since December, AirAsia has taken delivery of four of the 60 new Airbus 320 planes it ordered. With 180 seats each, the Airbus can carry about 22 percent more passengers than Boeing 737 jets.

AirAsia will have seven new Airbus jetliners by June 30, the end of the financial year, Ross said.

"New services to China are being actively considered right now, including lifting Bangkok-Xiamen from four times a week to daily," he said.

Ross was also upbeat about the ongoing restructuring of domestic routes.

On Thursday , the government said Malaysian Airline System Bhd., which operates flag carrier Malaysia Airlines, will only fly key domestic routes and give all the others to AirAsia.

The move was aimed at reducing losses at MAS, which announced recently that only four of its 118 domestic routes are profitable. MAS has also announced a sweeping business turnaround plan after a series of losses in the financial year that ended Dec. 31.

Ross said AirAsia may lease eight or nine of Malaysia Airlines' 39 Boeing 737 planes to operate the additional domestic routes it will inherit.

"Any form of (domestic route) rationalization will provide us with more opportunities," Ross said.

The government's route split plan will lift AirAsia's share of domestic air traffic to 83 percent in one to two years' time from 29 percent currently, Citigroup aviation analyst Corrine Png said in a report.
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Old March 19th, 2006, 08:53 AM   #422
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Quote:
Originally Posted by globocentric
You misunderstood what i said. What i was saying is that there are no flights between Asian cities and the two cities below
Buenos Aires, Stockholm
and Kuala Lumpur is the only exception because of MAS brilliant idea to commence flights to these destinations. I'm sure many people cannot understand the rationale for those flights. How many Malaysians go to Stockholm in any given day?the figure just will not exceed 20 or 30 and i dont think Malaysia as a country is well known to the Swedes either

I am aware that Cathay flies to Rome on a daily basis and Thai flies to Milan as well. Rome has quite a number of conncections with Asian cities.
You don't know anything about Latin American aviation. Nowadays, MAS and Japan Airlines are the two Asian airlines that fly to Latin American cities. You must know that MAS does to Buenos Aires via Johannesburg and Cape Town, and JAL flies to Mexico City via Vancouver and Sao Paulo via New York City.
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Old March 19th, 2006, 12:57 PM   #423
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From: http://au.news.yahoo.com/060319/19/yaga.html
___________________________________
Sunday March 19, 02:06 PM
AirAsia looks to China, India for Asian ambitions to take-off

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Low-cost carrier AirAsia hopes to launch more flights to China and subsequently to India as part of its ambitious plans to become an Asia-wide airline.
Southeast Asia's most profitable budget carrier is also looking at forming new joint-ventures in the region to boost revenue, group deputy chief executive Kamarudin Meranum told AFP over the weekend.

"We continue to talk to various parties to explore the possibility of establishing joint-ventures," Kamarudin said.

Kamarudin said Indochina countries and the Philippines were on AirAsia's radar to form joint-ventures.

"From our experiences in Thailand and Indonesia, we can set up joint-ventures fairly quickly.

"But it must fit into our strategic plan to make AirAsia become an Asian carrier and to provide easy and affordable access for people to travel in the region," he said.

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The Malaysia-based AirAsia has already managed 49 percent-owned joint venture low-cost carriers in Thailand and Indonesia since 2004.

Kamarudin declined to state with which Indochina country -- Cambodia, Laos or Vietnam -- the carrier would establish a joint-venture.

"In any joint-ventures, we will try to retain as much stake as allowed by the law of the country without contravening the air services agreement," he said.

The AirAsia official also declined to comment on a report in January that the carrier had partnered with privately-owned Spring Airlines in hopes of tapping China's budget travel market.

Kamarudin said with the arrival of new Airbus 320 aircraft, AirAsia hoped to increase both flights and frequency to China and other destinations.

"Our Thai hub will cover China and may look at the possibility of going to the Indian subcontinent of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

"It is a natural plan of action to capture the leisure and business market in that region," he said.

Kamarudin said AirAsia Thailand hoped to mount daily flights from the Thai capital Bangkok to Xiamen in southeast China, up from four flights a week now.

"We want to have a minimum of one flight a day to all our destinations. From there we will increase the frequency," he said. Besides Xiamen, AirAsia flies to the southern Chinese territory of Macau.

But with the arrival of the A320s, airline officials said AirAsia would consider flying from Kuala Lumpur to China's southern cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen, which neighbours Hong Kong.

Kamarudin, however, said AirAsia now faced a shortage of aircraft but when more of the A320 planes arrive, "we will increase the frequency and routes."

Since last December, AirAsia has taken delivery of five of the 100 A320 aircraft it had ordered. By end of 2006, it will have 15 in service along with the Boeing 737-400s that would be slowly phased out.

AirAsia, which has welcomed the Malaysian government's domestic rationalisation plan, Friday said that it would hold talks with flag carrier Malaysia Airlines to acquire its 737-400 aircraft and staff.

AirAsia on Thursday secured approval to fly most of Malaysia's domestic routes.

Under the rationalisation programme, AirAsia would operate all secondary domestic services while also operating on perhaps the five-10 busiest routes with Malaysia Airlines.

The government has ordered both AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines to identify and workout the division of routes by March 27.

Malaysia Airlines has 39 737-400 aircraft which are primarily used for domestic and regional routes.

AirAsia was launched as a budget carrier in December 2001 with just two aircraft. It offers more than 100 domestic and international flights to Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
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Old March 27th, 2006, 04:13 PM   #424
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Thai AirAsia Swings To Pft '05 On Better Ops, Forex Gain
23 March 2006

BANGKOK (Dow Jones)--Thai AirAsia Ltd., a Thai budget carrier, has swung to a net profit in 2005 for the first time since it was set up two years ago, boosted by higher fares, passenger traffic, and a foreign exchange gain.

In 2005, the company posted a net profit of THB116 million, compared with a loss of THB253 million in the previous year.

"We have posted a net profit last year due to improving operations and forex gains," Chief Executive Tassapon Bijleveld said at a briefing with analysts.

Revenue jumped to THB2.49 billion in 2005, up 84% from THB1.35 billion a year earlier.

Last year, the company booked a foreign exchange gain of THB137 million, compared with a foreign exchange loss of THB15 million in 2004.

The company said the number of passengers rose 52% and its average fare increased 20% last year.

Thai AirAsia is a joint venture between Malaysia's AirAsia Sdn. Bhd. (5099.KU) and Thailand's Shin Corp. PCL (SHIN.TH).
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Old March 28th, 2006, 06:25 AM   #425
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Malaysia Airlines to axe staff, lose routes to AirAsia

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28, 2006 (AFP) - Flag carrier Malaysia Airlines will axe a third of its workforce and hand over all but 19 of its domestic routes to low-cost carrier AirAsia under a sweeping turnaround plan.

The loss-making carrier will also lose its government subsidies under the three-year revamp aimed at returning it to profitability by 2007, the prime minister's office said in a statement late Monday.

Under the new structure which takes effect August 1, AirAsia will take over 96 of Malaysia Airlines' domestic routes, many of which are currently losing money.

Malaysia Airlines will operate only the remaining 19 domestic trunk services, to major destinations like the resort island of Langkawi and tourist centres on Borneo island, leaving it to focus on reviving its international business.

The government said that under the restructuring, it will stop underwriting the loss-making domestic services which the national carrier was previously obliged to operate.

"The government will not be giving any subsidy to Malaysia Airlines or AirAsia to operate the domestic sector," it said.

AirAsia, the region's biggest no-frills airline, has been pushing for access to domestic routes, saying it can succeed where the national carrier has failed and wring profits from services to rural and small-town destinations.

Malaysia Airlines, which announced the turnaround plan last month, said Monday it would lay off some 6,500 of its 23,000 employees and reduce its fleet from 40 to 21 aircraft.

The carrier's newly appointed managing director Idris Jala hailed the future collaboration with AirAsia as "the beginning of a new era for the airline industry in Malaysia.

"The government has agreed to give us a free hand in managing the network, and this will mean that we will have full control on determining capacity, frequency and pricing," he said.

"Managing yields will be a key factor to ensure profitability and it is important for us to be able to manage this."

Ngu Chie Kieng, head of research at local brokerage TA Securities, said the move was a "positive development for Malaysia Airlines" and the decision to slim down its bloated workforce was overdue.

"Giving them the freedom to manage their business is a good move," he said.

"But looking at the bottom line improvement, it may not be immediate," he added, pointing out that Malaysia Airlines will probably have to pay compensation for the loss of jobs, resulting in more costs.

"For the long-term it is positive, it makes great economic sense. They should've done it a long time ago."

The changes are part of a bold four-billion ringgit turnaround plan announced in February to revive the carrier's fortunes after it posted a 1.3 billion ringgit (350 million dollar) loss for the 2005 financial year.

The troubled carrier also plans to cut unprofitable international routes and sell off its landmark headquarters in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia Airlines has blamed its losses on crippling fuel prices and lower load factors but hopes to be back in the black by 2007 and to achieve record profitability the year after.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 02:04 AM   #426
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Revamped Malaysian airline sector poses threat to Singapore, says AirAsia chief
By VIJAY JOSHI
28 March 2006

SEPANG, Malaysia (AP) - Budget carrier AirAsia said Tuesday its massive expansion in Malaysia's domestic market will help turn the country into a regional aviation hub to rival neighboring Singapore.

"Watch out, Singapore, is all I have to say," said Tony Fernandes, chief executive of AirAsia, Southeast Asia's largest low-cost carrier by fleet size.

Under a major restructuring of Malaysia's aviation sector announced by the government Monday, flag carrier Malaysia Airlines will give up its near-monopoly in the market, hand over 99 domestic routes to AirAsia for exclusive flights, and lose all government subsidies. The changes take effect Aug. 1.

Malaysia Airlines, or MAS, will be left with only 19 domestic routes that it will operate as a full-service airline in competition with the no-frills AirAsia.

Fernandes said the arrangement benefited both AirAsia, which has been eager to expand domestically, and MAS, which needed to shed unprofitable routes.

He sought to portray it as a collaborative effort, even if they will be competing on some routes.

"Both of us working together will win big-time," Fernandes said. "With so much global competition, it really makes sense to combine our strength."

MAS Managing Director Idris Jala, speaking alongside Fernandes at a news conference, was more circumspect about the dynamics behind the new arrangement.

"You do collaborate with competitors when it makes sense," said Idris, who has promised to make MAS profitable by 2007. "You do compete with them when it doesn't."

Typically upbeat, Fernandes projected that the deal would turn Malaysia "into the center of low-cost travel, the center of premier travel, the center of maintenance, excellence, safety and training" -- and overshadow Singapore Airlines, or SIA.

"Without a doubt, I firmly believe that MAS is a far superior product than the robotic SIA," Fernandes said.

When asked to respond to Fernandes' comments, a Singapore Airlines spokesperson said: "We don't know what he's talking about."

The restructuring comes as MAS, which is 69 percent owned by the government, struggles to return to profitability after it suffered a 1.26 billion ringgit (US$340.5 million; €283 million) loss in the nine months through December.

AirAsia said its net profit for the half-year through December rose 20 percent to 65 million ringgit (US$17.6 million; €14.6 million) on revenue of 412.2 million ringgit (US$111.4 million; €92.6 million).

Singapore Airlines Ltd. said its net profit fell 14.6 percent in the October-December quarter to 397 million Singapore dollars (US$243 million; €201 million) on sales of 3.56 billion Singapore dollars (US$2.17 billion; €1.8 billion).

Malaysia Airlines said last month that only four of its 118 domestic routes were profitable. To keep the carrier afloat, the government has been bearing an annual loss of about 300 million ringgit (US$81.3 million; €67.6 million) -- providing the airline an indirect subsidy.

Fernandes predicted that following the revamp, many people would come to Malaysia from abroad and treat Kuala Lumpur as a hub before taking low-cost AirAsia flights to tourist destinations in Malaysia and elsewhere in the region.

Idris said MAS management is in talks with the company's unions about the fate of 6,500 MAS workers who will be retrenched from its current staff of 23,000 due to the reduced operations.

Both Idris and Fernandes confirmed some of the staff would be absorbed by AirAsia, but they refused to give details, citing ongoing negotiations.

"It's a new era for MAS and AirAsia. It is one vision of two national champions. I do want to learn best practices from AirAsia," Idris said. "We will have to improve our yield, reduce our costs. It will help us increase our profitability."

The 19 trunk routes that MAS will share with AirAsia include flights to tourist destinations such as Penang, Langkawi, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching in addition to state capitals.

In addition, AirAsia will have the exclusive right to operate 96 smaller routes in peninsular Malaysia and on Sabah and Sarawak states on Borneo island.
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Old April 5th, 2006, 04:51 PM   #427
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Malaysia Airlines labor unions launch talks to avert layoffs
5 April 2006

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Malaysia Airlines labor union representatives said Wednesday they have begun talks with management officials to spare employees from being forcibly retrenched under the flag carrier's sweeping revamp.

Malaysian Airline System Bhd., the company that operates the carrier, last week announced it plans to fire 6,500 employees from its current staff of 23,000 because it has to slash dozens of unprofitable domestic routes by August.

"Our goal is that there should be no (involuntary) retrenchments," said Alias Aziz, president of the Malaysian Airline System Employees Union, which represents 9,000 staff and is one of several unions involved in the talks.

The discussions -- which also involve compensation levels for workers who voluntarily leave Malaysia Airlines -- would take at least a month, Alias said, adding that the unions hope to also meet with Transport Minister Chan Kong Choy and other government representatives.

Malaysia Airlines workers plan to stage peaceful demonstrations and wear black armbands if the talks reach an unsatisfactory conclusion, Alias told The Associated Press.

Under a restructuring of Malaysia's aviation sector announced by the government last week, Malaysia Airlines will give up its near-monopoly in the market and hand over 99 domestic routes to budget carrier AirAsia for exclusive flights.

The airline will be left with 19 domestic routes that it will operate as a full-service carrier in competition with AirAsia.

Officials from both companies have said some Malaysia Airlines staff would be absorbed by AirAsia, but they have refused to give details.

The restructuring comes as Malaysia Airlines, which is 69 percent owned by the government, struggles to return to profitability after it suffered a 1.26 billion ringgit (US$340.5 million) loss in the nine months through December.

Malaysia Airlines said last month that only four of its 118 domestic routes were profitable. To keep the carrier afloat, the government has been bearing an annual loss of about 300 million ringgit (US$81.3 million) -- providing the airline an indirect subsidy.
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Old April 5th, 2006, 05:10 PM   #428
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AirAsia CEO to enter budget hotel business

By Vasantha Ganesan
April 5 2006



THE group chief executive officer of low-cost airline AirAsia Bhd Datuk Tony Fernandes is venturing into the budget hotel business.

A source told Business Times that Fernandes is going into the new business in his personal capacity and to synergise with that of AirAsia's.

A chain of between 60 and 70 budget hotels is being planned, starting first in Malaysia before expanding across the region later. The first is expected to start business as early as at the end of this year.

Each hotel will have between 100 and 250 rooms, depending on their locations, the source said. The hotels will charge a room rate of between RM50 and RM100.

The source said the budget hotel business will complement AirAsia's, which now is the region's most successful low-cost carrier.

Many budget travellers prefer to book their airline tickets and hotels together and Fernandes will offer AirAsia customers the facility of making room reservations online as they book their flights.

The hotel chain is expected to be called Tune Hotel.com, after AirAsia's holding company, Tune Air.

Fernandes is expected to either purchase or lease existing hotels and remodel them or build completely new ones.

"His long-term plan is to eventually have hotels in all Air Asia destinations," the source said.

A few will be opened in the Klang Valley including possibly at the just opened Low Cost Carrier terminal in Sepang.

AirAsia's domestic destinations include Penang, Langkawi, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu. Within the region, the airline flies to cities such as Phnom Penh, Bali, Phuket and Manila.

Meanwhile, Fernandes is said to be working closely with Singapore-based SkyServ Holdings, a company which holds food and beverage concessions at airports and provision of retail F&B services.

SkyServ has a subsidiary called CafeCanteen Sdn Bhd which will focus on providing retail F&B services at this new hotel chain.

Fernandes and his team have made AirAsia a robust budget carrier within a short time. He was unreachable for comment.
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Old April 5th, 2006, 05:32 PM   #429
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Both Ryanair and easyJet websites also link to budget hotel booking services. It seems like a natural progression for AirAsia as well.
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Old April 5th, 2006, 07:22 PM   #430
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wow!!! this guy seems to have the midas touch. everything he touches seem to work. before it was music, now airlines, later hotel !!!
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Old April 14th, 2006, 06:21 PM   #431
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Report: Malaysia Airlines ordered to pay half-million dollars in overtime wages
14 April 2006

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Malaysia's national airline was ordered to pay overtime of more than 2 million ringgit (US$540,000; euro450,000) to 110 workers after failing to reduce working hours as required by an agreement, a newspaper and an official said Friday.

The Malay Mail said the Industrial Court found Malaysia Airlines responsible for not amending the working hours of staff at the Avionics and Mechanical Workshop under a 1995 agreement between the airline and workers.

A Malaysia Airlines spokesperson confirmed the substance of the report and said the airline is studying the ruling before deciding on the next course of action, such as an appeal.

The Mail quoted court chairman Yussof Ahmad as saying in a ruling Thursday that the company had acknowledged making a mistake, but "did not make arrangements for the staff to work only 39 hours per week" instead of the 42 hours prior to the agreement.

The court ordered a total payment of 2,013,853 ringgit (US$548,840; euro453,812) to the 110 affected staff.

Malaysia Airlines, which is 69 percent government-owned, has been struggling to return to profitability after it suffered a 1.26 billion ringgit (US$340.5 million; euro283 million) loss in the nine months through December.

As part of cost-cutting measures the airline gave up its near-monopoly on money-losing domestic routes, and plans to sell its headquarters and lay off 6,500 employees from its current 23,000.

To keep the carrier financially afloat, the government has been bearing an annual loss of about 300 million ringgit (US$81.3 million; euro67.6 million), providing the airline an indirect subsidy.
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Old April 17th, 2006, 04:59 AM   #432
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Ministry's move to attract tourists
16 April 2006
New Sunday Times

PUTRAJAYA: The Tourism Ministry has proposed some changes to AirAsia's operations to attract more tourists for Visit Malaysia 2007.

AirAsia has been urged to consider increasing the number of flights between Malaysia and Asian cities, changing the flight times of certain routes to maximise passenger loads, and adopting a code-sharing arrangement with Malaysia Airlines.

"I suggested these to AirAsia CEO Da tuk Tony Fernandes at a meeting on Friday and he seemed receptive," Tourism Minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said here yesterday.

The minister was at the Putrajaya Shangri-La Hotel where he hosted a lunch for Indonesian journalists.

The proposals are aimed at improving connectivity between long-haul and inter-Asian flights and to capitalise on routes popular with European tourists.

"Flights from Bangkok, Haadyai and Siem Reap to Kuala Lumpur are popular with Europeans. Perhaps the number of such flights could be increased," he said.

On code-sharing, he said it would be ideal for European tourists planning trips to Asia as they would be able to buy connecting tickets under MAS, using AirAsia as the carrier. He said he would forward to the Government AirAsia's request for a rail link to be built between its Low-Cost Carrier Terminal and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
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Old April 19th, 2006, 07:28 AM   #433
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MAS: No sky-high in-flight meal costs
By Doreen Leong
By Doreen Leong, 18 Apr 2006 8:09 PM


Nasi lemak served on Malaysia Airlines in-flight meal costs the national carrier between RM5.85 and RM36.78 per passenger depending on the types of sambal used and flight class.

For a variety of premium brands of tea produced locally and imported, the cost is between 11 sen and 60 sen per serving, while the cost per coffee-bag was between RM1.36 and RM3.20 depending on brand and weight.

This is the first time that MAS has revealed the costs of its in-flight meals. A few years ago, there were rumours that MAS' per serving of nasi lemak or each simple souvenir cost it "hundreds of ringgit".

In a statement yesterday to refute recent local news report that MAS incurred high costs for supply of its in-flight meals, the national carrier said the RM3.20 coffee-bag is equivalent to seven cups of coffee.

It said nasi lemak is one of its "signature" dishes and the options include nasi lemak with sambal sotong, sambal udang or sambal ikan bilis.

MAS said in its new service delivery (NSD) and trolley services, the cost of nasi lemak per passenger is between RM15.97 and RM36.78 for its first class and business class.

It said NSD is a new service where food is prepared in the galley by cabin crew and served directly to first and business class passengers, with emphasis on meal presentation.

MAS said the nasi lemak served in a casserole to business and economy class passengers cost between RM5.85 and RM7.13 per passenger.

“We are able to keep these costs low as the suppliers provide their products at subsidised prices in return for the brand recognition they get by associating with a five-star carrier like MAS,” it said.

MAS said they provide five-star service to its passengers at competitive costs, including in-flight entertainment and food and beverages.

MAS said the costs for tea and coffee, and nasi lemak were lower or comparable with the same served at top-quality hotels and restaurants.

“Overall, our meals are prepared under strict supervision for high standards of cleanliness and quality control,” MAS said in a statement.

“We also wish to reassure our customers that whilst we are prudent in our expenditure for frontline service, we do not compromise on the quality of our products and services, both in-flight and on ground,” it added.

MAS said the need for gourmet coffee and tea was necessary for its customer service and to sustain its competitive standards.
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Old April 20th, 2006, 05:54 AM   #434
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AirAsia offers 500,000 seats under super deals promotion
By Kevin Tan, 19 Apr 2006 9:19 PM


AirAsia Bhd has launched its biggest online campaign for 2006, with over 500,000 seats available under its Super Deals promotion at super low fares beginning from 99 sen.

Bookings on all AirAsia’s domestic and international flights in the Super Deals promotion can be made for travel right up to March 2007, it said on April 19.

The promotion is only valid for online purchase and available for booking from April 18 to April 30 for travel between June 15 this year and March 24, 2007.

The low fares range from 99 sen to RM79.99 one way to as many as 30 domestic and international routes departing from Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru. These fares exclude airport taxes and fees, and fuel surcharges.

In conjunction with the promotions, its “Go Holiday Travel Packages” are available from RM78 per person. These packages include airfare and a three-day, two-night stay at a hotel.

“With over half of a million seats available at such amazing low prices, the Super Deals promotion is AirAsia's biggest online promotions for 2006. We would like to encourage guests to take advantage of this promotion to plan and book early for their year-end holidays,” said its executive vice president (commercial) Kathleen Tan.

With this offer, passengers can travel to Langkawi at fares from as low as RM9.99 or to Bali for RM49.99, it said.
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Old April 21st, 2006, 11:22 PM   #435
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MAS Voted No. 1 For Economy Class Onboard Service Excellence

KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 (Bernama) -- Malaysia Airlines (MAS) clinched the "Economy Class Onboard Service Excellence 2006" award in the Skytrax Airline Excellence 2006 awards.

The international airline survey, which was conducted by Skytrax Research of London, involved assessments applied through a detailed product and service agenda covering up to 800 different rating items.

An award panel made up of directors and audit staff at Skytrax, with the additional grading for the award process utilising a selective study among 3,424 members of Skytrax Business Research Group, voted MAS as the number one.

MAS managing director Idris Jala said the airline was proud of the timely achievement.

"We have increased our economy class competitiveness by focusing on the leisure traffic, the key driver of our profitability. I commend the efforts of our staff for their exemplary customer service delivery which has won us this reputable recognition," he said in a statement Friday.

Skytrax marketing director Peter Miller said the awards were based on the actual quality of product and service delivered.

"Aside from the many 'bells and whistles' aspects of an airline product, what every customer wants is a sense of trust and belief that their chosen airline can, and will, deliver standards on a consistent and continuous basis," he said in the statement.

-- BERNAMA
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Old April 26th, 2006, 03:31 PM   #436
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AirAsia plans autumn launch of Bangladesh flights


Aircraft from Malaysian Airlines and Malaysia's budget carrier AirAsia on the tarmac of Kuala Lumpur's International Airport.


DHAKA - Malaysia's AirAsia said its new joint venture budget airline in Bangladesh will start flights in October by offering fares at least 40 percent below other carriers, an official said Wednesday.

The company, which will team up with Bangladesh's East West Airlines to launch Air East Asia, plans to operate daily flights between the capital Dhaka to Chennai and Kolkata in India as well as Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.

Air East Asia will be 49 percent owned by AirAsia with the newly-formed East West Airlines taking a 51 percent share, East West chief executive officer Mujibul Haq told AFP.

"The airline will be the first budget airline (in Bangladesh). There is a huge market for budget airlines in this region as an increasing number of people are travelling to and from Bangladesh," he said.

In 2004 Bangladesh witnessed nearly nine percent growth in international travel with 1.2 million people travelling to and from the country, according to government figures.

"The fares will be kept at least 40 per cent less than the normal fares," he added.

AirAsia and East West signed a memorandum of understanding last week in Kuala Lumpur and AirAsia's board is expected to approve the joint venture airline later next month.

Under the Bangladesh agreement, AirAsia will provide two brand new 180-seat Airbus A-320 aircraft to Air East Asia and also technical and management support while East West will bear all local expenses, said Haq.

The airline also plans to fly to four major cities in Bangladesh.

AirAsia, which was launched as a budget carrier in December 2001 with just two aircraft, has become a significant player in the industry and been imitated by national carriers along with a host of new low-cost entrants.

It is now Southeast Asia's biggest low-cost carrier in terms of fleet size and derives much of its business within Malaysia. It also operates in Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and China.

- AFP /ls
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Old April 28th, 2006, 04:26 PM   #437
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Malaysia Airlines expects 3,500 staff to accept layoffs: report

KUALA LUMPUR, April 27, 2006 (AFP) - Some 3,500 Malaysia Airlines employees are expected to accept layoffs in the first round of a scheme to slash its workforce and return the carrier to profitability, a report said Thursday.

Under the turnaround plan announced in March after posting a 350 million dollar annual loss, the airline will shed some 6,500 of its 23,000 employees and reduce its fleet from 40 to 21 aircraft.

Malaysian Airline System Employees Union secretary-general Ab Malek Ariff told the New Straits Times that 3,500 staff were initially expected to opt for retrenchment, lured by the prospect of "windfall" payments under the scheme.

However, he said the union has yet to receive details of the scheme which will be offered across the board except for pilots and engineering staff, as the airline is still awaiting approval from the government.

"The airline will have to give us a good package if it wants employees to leave voluntarily. For now, we have yet to receive any details, but we expect the government to make an announcement on this within one to two weeks," he said.

Malek said the union was in favour of the voluntary separation scheme, which addresses what critics say is a bloated and unproductive workforce at the national carrier.

"I think MAS is moving in the first direction in trimming down the workforce in order to remain competitive," he said.

Under the rationalisation plan, Malaysia Airlines will surrender all but 19 major domestic routes to lowcost carrier AirAsia, which will take over the remaining 96 routes from August.

AirAsia, the region's biggest no-frills airline, has been pushing for access to domestic routes, saying it can succeed where the national carrier has failed and wring profits from services to rural and small-town destinations.
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Old April 30th, 2006, 07:33 PM   #438
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MAS to close KL-Padang route

PADANG: Malaysia Airlines will discontinue its Kuala Lumpur-Padang service beginning May 1 as part of the massive restructuring program being undertaken by the loss-making airline.

The company's district manager for Medan and Padang, Abdul Karim, said in Padang on Thursday that the Kuala Lumpur-Padang route would be the second Indonesian service to be discontinued by MAS after the closure of its Kuching-Pontianak service late last month.

Abdul said that MAS had suffered major losses on the Kuala Lumpur-Padang route after AirAsia, a budget airline also based in Malaysia, began to serve the route in the middle of 2005.

With the closure of the two Indonesian destinations, MAS will now only serve four Indonesian cities -- Medan, Jakarta, Surabaya and Denpasar. JP
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 02:46 PM   #439
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AirAsia passenger traffic up 39.9% in March

By Isabelle Francis


AirAsia Bhd carried 557,079 passengers in March this year, up 39.9% from the 398,211 a year ago, it said on May 2.

Its Thai associate recorded a 62% increase to 249,409 passengers while the Indonesian associate recorded a 175% increase to 124,004 in March. The group recorded a 55.8% increase to 927,492 passengers.

For the third quarter of its financial year ended March 31, 2006, AirAsia carried 1.56 million passengers in Malaysia, up 41.9% from a year ago.

Its Thai associate recorded a 60.6% increase to 658,672 passengers in the third quarter while its Indonesian associate recorded a 161% rise to 313,099 passengers.

AirAsia said the total passengers carried represented the earned seat flow by AirAsia. Earned seats included seats that were flown whether or not the passengers had turned up because AirAsia is a no-refund airline.
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 01:59 AM   #440
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Completion date for Aircraft Upgrades

Anyone heard of a projected completion date for the first and business class upgrade of MH's 747s and 777s? I had heard April, 2006 - but when I call MH they tell me it is 90% for their 747s. That is the same thing they told me two months ago!
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