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Old July 17th, 2006, 10:37 AM   #501
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AirAsia May Get Easier Access to Fly Overseas Routes
17-07-2006
Bloomberg
By Chan Tien Hin


July 17 (Bloomberg) -- Malaysia's government will include AirAsia Bhd. in its bilateral talks for easier access to overseas routes, a move that will hasten plans of Southeast Asia's largest budget carrier to fly to India and China.

The Malaysian government will also sent up a committee to monitor the domestic aviation industry to prevent ``predatory'' pricing after state-owned Malaysian Airline System Bhd. was allowed to offer cheaper fares on some domestic routes, AirAsia, based outside Kuala Lumpur, said in a statement today.

Malaysia gave these concessions to AirAsia after the government earlier this month removed the floor prices for Malaysian Airline on some domestic routes, a move opposed by the discount carrier. The government's decision to include AirAsia in bilateral air talks will allow the airline to soon gain access to India and China where negotiations for rights tend to take long, the carrier said.

``The government has reaffirmed its commitment to AirAsia's future and we anticipate some very positive developments in terms of domestic airports and foreign route access,'' AirAsia said in an e-mailed statement today.

AirAsia shares tumbled 12 percent to a 20-month low since July 10 when the government allowed Malaysian Airline to offer cheaper fares on some domestic routes. AirAsia shares fell 1 sen, or 0.8 percent, to 1.29 ringgit, at 9:11 a.m. local time on Malaysia's stock exchange.

Malaysian Airline will hand over more than 90 of 118 mostly unprofitable domestic routes to AirAsia from Aug. 1, part of a three-year business plan aimed at helping cut its losses this year and return to profit next year.

Shares of AirAsia were downgraded to ``sell'' from ``neutral'' by OSK Research Sdn. analyst Christopher Eng on July 10, saying the reintroduction of competitive pricing on domestic routes has ``direct bearing'' on earnings of AirAsia.

Malaysian Airline's Boeing Co. 737-400 aircraft leases will also be readjusted to market rates, removing ``the final traces of subsidies'' enjoyed by Malaysian Airline, said AirAsia. The move ``showcases the government's serious drive for a level playing field to all parties,'' the company said.

Other concessions include allowing AirAsia unrestricted freedom to access any domestic routes, the discount carrier said.
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Old July 18th, 2006, 05:44 AM   #502
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Thai AirAsia plans Hanoi-KL flights
July 18 2006


HANOI: Thai AirAsia, a subsidiary of Malaysia- based budget carrier AirAsia, plans to open direct flights between Hanoi and Kuala Lumpur later this year, a company official said yesterday.

"We plan to conduct one flight a day between Hanoi and Kuala Lumpur, starting this October," a spokes woman for the airline said.

Thai AirAsia, which entered the Vietnam market in 2005, currently flies twice a day between Hanoi and Bangkok.

Singapore-based Tiger Airways became the first budget airline to operate flights to Vietnam in April last year.

The Vietnamese market is now shared by more than 20 international airlines and two domestic carriers. - AFP
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Old July 18th, 2006, 05:29 PM   #503
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AirAsia gears up for flights to China, India as Malaysia promotes open skies

KUALA LUMPUR, July 18, 2006 (AFP) - Low-cost carrier AirAsia on Tuesday said it plans to fly to Asia's booming economies of China and India in early 2007 as Malaysia liberalises its aviation industry.

Mohamad Azmi, the budget carrier's chief financial officer, told AFP that AirAsia could now pick up new regional routes after the government allowed rival Malaysia Airlines to offer discounts on domestic services.

"Now it is free competition. We are comfortable with this environment. We can probably fly to the lucrative markets of China and India in 2007," he said.

Azmi described India and China as markets with huge potential and "we foresee the positive impact ... on our bottomline."

AirAsia, which has already said it hopes to fly to China's southern cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen, would probably fly the new routes from its Borneo island hub of Kota Kinabalu in Sabah state, he said.

The budget carrier late Monday said the government had "handed AirAsia access to fly to India and China."

It also said the government would monitor domestic ticket pricing by Malaysia Airlines to ensure "a level playing field" and "no predatory pricing environment."

"We anticipate some very positive developments in terms of domestic airports and foreign route access," it said in a statement.

Azmi said the carrier was targeting all Asian capitals including Singapore and leisure destinations where there was a sizeable movement of people.

Under a new aviation policy which takes effect on August 1, AirAsia is to take over 99 of Malaysia Airlines' domestic routes, many of which are currently losing money.

The AirAsia share price fell sharply after the controversial decision by the government just over a week ago to allow Malaysia Airlines to offer discounts on its remaining 22 domestic routes despite strong opposition from AirAsia.

AirAsia, which was listed in November 2004, plunged 12.2 percent last week to 1.30 ringgit (0.36 dollars) on Friday -- the lowest level in one-and-half years.

On Tuesday, the stock was firmer at 1.32 ringgit.

Azmi said despite challenges posed by rising fuel prices and fears of a possible price war, the carrier's growth plan remained intact.

"Come August, when rationalisation begins, we will have more routes to fly. It will accelerate our growth plan," he said.
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Old July 19th, 2006, 07:02 AM   #504
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More MAS flights to Rome
From Shahriman Johari
July 19 2006


Malaysia Airlines will now fly five times a week
to Italy's capital from three times a week currently


FARNBOROUGH (England): National carrier Malaysia Airlines will operate more flights to Rome under a new agreement between Malaysia and Italy.

It will now fly five times a week to Italy's capital from three times a week currently.

The carrier would also be allowed to operate air cargo services three times a week to either Rome or Milan. The agreement would be effective immediately.

"This will help MAS to develop further as an international airline," Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak told reporters at a media briefing here yesterday.

Transport Minister Datuk Chan Kong Choy and his Italian counterpart, Alessandro Bianchi, signed the Memorandum of Understanding at the sidelines of the Farnborough International Airshow.

Under the MOU, MAS would also enter into code share arrangements with Italy's national carrier, AirItalia. The two countries would also agree to hold talks next year to increase passenger flight frequency between Kuala Lumpur and Rome.
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Old July 19th, 2006, 07:41 AM   #505
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KL-Hangzhou Direct Flight In The Offing
18-07-2006
By Shelly Chong


HANGZHOU, July 18 (Bernama) -- Malaysia's proposal to start a Kuala Lumpur-Hangzhou direct flight received the nod from the Zhejiang provincial government Tuesday.

Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Donald Lim said both Malaysia and the Chinese provincial government also agreed to provide various assistance to the airline company that will operate the flight.

"We will assist the airline for the first two years of operating the direct route," Lim said.

He said Malaysia and Zhejiang also agreed to ensure that the airline will enjoy full flights on the route.

Malaysia would have no problem promoting the route as Hangzhou was already a favourite tourist destination for thousands of Malaysians. Last year, more than 200,000 Malaysians visited the province.

"On our part, we will work with travel agencies to promote the route. The Zhejiang government will do likewise in China," he told Bernama after his meeting with Zhejiang Province Deputy Governor Zhongshan here Tuesday.

Lim said it was difficult to sell Malaysia to potential Chinese tourists in Zhejiang province because there was no direct flight between Kuala Lumpur and Zhejiang's capital Hangzhou at the moment.

Meanwhile, Zhongshan said 23,000 Zhejiang Chinese visited Malaysia last year.
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Old July 19th, 2006, 10:26 AM   #506
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France, Amsterdam, and Rome.. it all makes sense, part of Skyteam alliance.
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Old July 19th, 2006, 02:47 PM   #507
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AirAsia plans to fly to China, India

By Anna Maria Samsudin
[email protected]


AIRASIA Bhd expects to launch Kota Kinabalu-Shenzhen flights, its maiden flight service to mainland China, by the end of the year.

According to sources, the airline plans to use Shenzhen as the gateway to Hong Kong, replacing Macau, upon the commencement of the service. Macau, in turn, will be used as a gateway to Guangzhou.

AirAsia chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes, when contacted, refused to give details but said the southern area would be the airline's first priority before expanding to other parts of China.

"I do not want to be too specific right now but our focus, at the moment will be on areas that are closer to Hong Kong," he told Business Times yesterday.

AirAsia will be aggressively expanding into China and India, following a recent decision to include the airline in Government's bilateral air talks.

The move is seen as a boost for the airline, which has been on a long waiting list for landing rights negotiation, to penetrate into the world's two fastest growing air travel markets.

Other areas in China which AirAsia plans to serve include Hainan, Kunming and Xiamen.

The budget carrier hopes to fly to India by early next year, focusing on the coastal areas.

In another development, Fernandes, commenting on the stock's performance, told investors at a briefing in Kuala Lumpur yesterday that AirAsia's share price has taken a dip after the announcement by Malaysia Airlines to offer discounts on domestic flights.

"I think we lost about RM1 billion in market capitalisation.

"We are here today just to reassure investors of our growth story that business is as usual and August 1 is still a big day for AirAsia,"

Under a new aviation policy, which takes effect on August 1, AirAsia will take over 99 of Malaysia Airlines' domestic routes, many of which are currently losing money.

Fernandes said the company will explain to shareholders and employees the airline's developments as well as its directions and plans.

He is confident that AirAsia would be given access to more routes and that its venture into China and India would have a very positive impact on investors.

Despite the latest development, OSK research manager Chris Eng expects AirAsia to remain lacklustre and maintained a "sell" call on its shares.
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Old July 19th, 2006, 03:39 PM   #508
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Malasyia's AirAsia to raise fuel surcharge Aug.1, its third this year
18 July 2006

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Southeast Asia's largest low-cost carrier AirAsia will raise its fuel surcharge -- its third this year -- from Aug. 1 to offset a surge in jet-fuel prices due to hostilities in the Middle East, company executives said Tuesday.

The Malaysian-based carrier has no plans to hedge its fuel needs but will increase fuel surcharge to between 15 to 66 ringgit (US$4-18, €3-15) per sector, up from 10 to 50 ringgit previously, said its chief financial officer Raja Mohamad Azmi.

The measure "should give us a cost recovery of US$29-30 per barrel of oil equivalent," he told an analyst briefing.

AirAsia had imposed surcharges in March on select routes and in May for all its domestic and international destinations.

The airline's chief executive Tony Fernandes earlier Tuesday told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview that the company saw no need to hedge its fuel needs because it believed oil prices would drop.

"We won't believe oil prices will stay (high)," he said. "We may tweak our fuel surcharge up a bit. There's been no decline in demand despite fuel surcharge rises (in the past)."

Jet fuel prices are 27 percent higher from a year ago, hovering at around US$90 a barrel. They have risen in tandem with benchmark crude oil prices that have surpassed the US$78 a barrel mark on rising tension in the Middle East.

AirAsia Bhd. is the region's only publicly listed low-cost carrier, with a fleet of 43. It has plans to buy 60 new Airbus A320s over the next five years for nearly US$4 billion (€3.3 billion).

Fernandes also downplayed a price war with national carrier Malaysia Airline System Bhd. over domestic routes, with the government recently announcing it would remove a floor price for the suffering national airline, pitting it in a direct fight with AirAsia. The Malaysian government owns nearly 70 percent of Malaysia Airlines.

"The floor price (on domestic fares) would have been nice to have but it was never critical (to AirAsia's success)," Fernandes said.

After plunging last week, AirAsia shares firmed up to 1.33 ringgit (US$0.36, €0.3) Tuesday on bargain hunting. Analysts predict will strengthen further on news of the fuel surcharge.
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Old July 19th, 2006, 10:03 PM   #509
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More MAS flights to Rome under new deal

By CHOI TUCK WO

[email protected]

LONDON: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will fly five times weekly from Kuala Lumpur to Rome as part of the airline's expansion programme to Europe.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the move would pave the way for discussions next year on the possibility of operating daily flights between Malaysia and Italy.

The arrangement will enable MAS to make Rome one of the major gateways to Europe, he said after witnessing the MoU signing ceremony between Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy and his Italian counterpart Alessandro Bianchi at the Farnborough International Air Show 2006 in Farnborough, Hampshire, about 80km southwest of London, yesterday.

AGREEMENT: Chan exchanging documents with Bianchi (right) after the MoU signing ceremony at the Farnborough International Air Show 2006 yesterday. Looking on are Najib and Finmeccanica CEO Alberto di Benedictis.
Under the agreement for more landing rights in both countries, MAS will increase to five its present thrice weekly flights between KLIA and Fiumicino Airport in Rome.

MAS, which now flies to Rome on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, will decide on the two additional flights as soon as possible.

Under the agreement, MAS can also operate three weekly cargo services on the KL to Rome or Milan sectors or a third point of call in Italy.

The designated airlines of both countries can also enter into a code-sharing arrangement with the airlines of the other party or a third party.

On his meeting with British Defence Secretary Desmond Browne, Najib said they discussed the latest developments in the global defence industry as well as the current situation in Iraq and Afghanistan.

- Tha daily star -


http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp...707&sec=nation
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Old July 20th, 2006, 10:12 AM   #510
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AirAsia orders 40 A320
20 Jul 2006 11:44 AM
THEEDGEDAILY


AirAsia has ordered 40 more A320 family aircraft with an option for 30 more, Airbus said on July 20.

Airbus did not disclose how much the contract was worth. All the aircraft would be configured with 180 seats.

Airbus, in a statement, said this will bring AirAsia's total order for the Airbus single-aisle family to 100 of which seven are currently in service with the carrier.

Over time, Airbus would completely replace the Boeing B737-300 fleet currently used by the AirAsia Group, which comprises AirAsia in Malaysia, Thai AirAsia and AirAsia Indonesia.

“The superiority of the A320s in terms of fuel burn, maintenance requirements, increased capacity, wider cabin and larger cargo payload, has allowed us to have greater operational efficiency, while ensuring that our cost optimisation programme remains as the lowest in the world,” group chief executive officer of AirAsia Bhd Datuk Tony Fernandes said.
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Old July 24th, 2006, 07:14 AM   #511
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MAS Adds Flights To Phuket And Bangkok From KL
21-07-2006


BANGKOK, July 21 (Bernama) -- Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will add another daily flight for its Bangkok-Kuala Lumpur and Phuket-Kuala Lumpur routes beginning August 1, bringing it to three and two flights respectively.

MAS country manager for Thailand, Barbara Dirnberger, said the new flight will depart at 5.50pm from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok and return at 7.40pm, complementing the existing schedules at 10am and 3.15pm from Kuala Lumpur and 12 noon and 5.10pm from the Thai capital.

For the Kuala Lumpur-Phuket route which currently has 10 flights a week, the flights are at 9.30am and 6.10pm from Kuala Lumpur and returning at 10.25am and 7.20pm respectively.

As part of its new schedules promotion, Dirnberger said the national carrier will offer return ticket at 3,333 baht (excluding insurance, taxes and fuel surcharge) for the Kuala Lumpur-Bangkok route and 2,222 baht for the Phuket sector for a limited period.

According to her, the extra Bangkok-Kuala Lumpur flight will be an ideal connection to London, Frankfurt, Paris, Zurich, Johannesburg, Capetown, Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo.

"It will also be a good choice for businessmen who want to complete a full day's work in Bangkok before heading back to Kuala Lumpur for other engagements the next day," she said here Friday.

With a choice of daily and afternoon flights in the Phuket-KL sector, Dirnberger said it will also offer good connections to other locations from Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Despite being one of the most competitive sectors, both the MAS flights from Bangkok and Phuket to Kuala Lumpur and vice-versa have 75 to 80 percent load.

Before 2004, there were only two airlines flying between Malaysia and Thailand but now there are eight airlines, some flying multi-destinations and making stopovers in Kuala Lumpur from Bangkok, as well as low-cost carrier AirAsia.

MAS used to fly twice daily from Phuket but trimmed it to one after the Dec 26, 2004, tsunami crippled tourism activities on the island.

It had also flown to Chiangmai and Haadyai but stopped in 2001 due to lack of passengers.

MAS had planned a third flight in 2003 but SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), then bird flu, the Iraq war and the tsunami affected its plan.

Thailand is one the three major destinations in Asean for MAS besides Singapore and Indonesia.

In 2004, 1.4 million Malaysians visited Thailand, of which about 347,000 came by air. More than 860,000 Thais also visited Malaysia during the same period.
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Last edited by nazrey; July 24th, 2006 at 07:23 AM.
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Old July 25th, 2006, 07:09 AM   #512
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AirAsia eyes flights to south China, east India
July 25 2006

The budget airline is expanding its routes following its agreement to buy
40 A320 planes from Airbus valued at as much as US$2.6 billion


AIRASIA Bhd, South-East Asia's largest low-fare carrier, said it will seek to fly to southern China and the east coast of India as it expands routes following an order last week for 40 single-aisle A320 planes.

The airline is seeking to create hubs in Thailand's Chiang Mai and eastern Malaysia, Tony Fernandes, AirAsia chief executive officer, said in an interview in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Fernandes has been expanding AirAsia's fleet, cutting fares and adding surcharges to help counter the rise in oil prices and keep its lead over at least 18 other rival carriers in the region of 500 million people. AirAsia agreed last week to buy the 40 A320 planes from Airbus SAS valued at as much as US$2.6 billion (RM9.59 billion), with an option to acquire as many as 30 more.

AirAsia is planning to obtain bank loans to help finance its latest plane orders, Fernandes said.

"Straight financing seems to be the best option for us. Many lenders have approached us already," he said, without elaborating.

The carrier also said it plans to increase fuel surcharges beflore August. AirAsia's oil bill for the nine months ended March rose 36 per cent, it said in May. - Bloomberg
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Old July 30th, 2006, 05:07 AM   #513
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by szehoong

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Old July 30th, 2006, 09:13 AM   #514
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so where does air asia fly to currently?
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Old July 30th, 2006, 09:48 PM   #515
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Quote:
so where does air asia fly to currently?
Almost everywhere in South East Asia, they also have Air Asia Thailand and AirAsia Indonesia which fly into Thai and Indonesia domestic routes...

Actually, I am quite surprised with how AirAsia Indonesia got in this past two years, from 2 destination, now they almost have 10+ domestic routes ...and its really getting bigger.

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Old August 2nd, 2006, 06:43 AM   #516
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Malaysian Air 2Q Loss Likely Less Than MYR180M - Source
1 August 2006

KUALA LUMPUR (Dow Jones)--Malaysian Airline System Bhd. (3786.KU) narrowed by 44% its April-June loss from the quarter earlier as it hiked air fares, cut costs and implemented other turnaround efforts, an industry source familiar with the carrier said this week.

For the quarter ended June 30, its loss is estimated to be below MYR180 million, down from MYR321.1 million in the first quarter, said the source who declined to be named. A year earlier, the national carrier posted a MYR280.7 million loss.

"For the first half, losses will come in under MYR500 million, and there's still a good chance of meeting the full-year target even though the financial targets are challenging," the source said.

The company's first-half performance is also above management expectations, he said.

The airline aims to narrow losses for 2006 to MYR620 million after suffering a record-high MYR1.26 billion loss in the nine months ended Dec. 31.

Malaysian Air, which is 69%-owned by the government's Penerbangan Malaysia Bhd., is in the midst of a three-year restructuring that aims to turn around the carrier in 2007 with a modest MYR50 million net profit.

Like many of its peers in the aviation industry, Malaysian Air has been hit by surging fuel costs and intense fare competition. It will report its second-quarter earnings later this month.

Due to ongoing losses and a deterioration in its cash position, Malaysian Air has said it will need external funding of up to MYR3 billion in 2006 and 2007.

Most of the funds will be raised toward the end of 2006, said the source. The airline's cash balance halved to MYR1.08 billion on March 31 from a year earlier, according to its latest financial statement.

In addition to funding linked to a planned issuance of redeemable preference shares, the company may also seek government backing for other types of financing, the source said.

Last Friday, Malaysian Air shareholders approved the proposed issuance of up to 1 million redeemable preference shares that "will provide (the company with) an option to serve credit facility (or facilities) at a lower cash cost compared to a conventional debt facility." The company didn't detail the structure of the credit facility sought.

"It will be interesting to see how much the government will back any financing structure, as the more they back, the lower the interest rates and costs," the industry source said.

A spokesman declined comment on Malaysian Air's second-quarter performance.

But Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer Azmil Zahruddin told Dow Jones Newswires late Tuesday more details on its redeemable preference shares-linked financing will be announced once the exercise is finalized.

"With respect to the other financing methods, the company has not ruled out any particular financing method. In accordance with stock exchange rules, we will issue an announcement at the appropriate time," Azmil said in an e-mail.

In December, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the government is prepared to lend the airline money, but he didn't elaborate.

Of the funds needed by Malaysian Air, about MYR1 billion will be used to repay a bridging loan provided by Bumiputra-Commerce Holdings Bhd.'s (1023.KU) Bumiputra-Commerce Bank, the industry source said.

In addition, Malaysian Air needs to cover a shortfall between revenue and operating costs of over MYR1 billion a year.

"The cash burn rate is about MYR100 million-MYR150 million a month and the previous financing (from the bridging loan) needs to be repaid by December," said the source.
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Old August 3rd, 2006, 06:50 AM   #517
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AirAsia Plans China Flights This Year, India in 2007
02-08-2006
Bloomberg
By Stephanie Phang


Aug. 2 (Bloomberg) -- AirAsia Bhd., Southeast Asia's largest low-fare carrier, will start flights from Malaysia's Sabah state to China's Xiamen and Shenzhen by the end of this year after winning government approval for the routes.

The airline, based in Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur, aims to fly to six Indian cities, starting with two destinations next year, Tony Fernandes, AirAsia's chief executive officer, said in a telephone interview in Kuala Lumpur today.

AirAsia is able to speed up the introduction of new international routes after the government last month agreed to include the carrier in its bilateral talks for air rights. International air traffic in China and India, the world's two most populous nations, may expand 10 percent in 2006, leading Asia's growth in passenger traffic, the International Air Transport Association said in February.

``It has opened up a whole list of possibilities for us and we're excited,'' Fernandes said. The government has given AirAsia ``routes that we never dreamt of getting before.''

The move by the Malaysian government came after it removed the floor prices for Malaysian Airline on some domestic routes, which allows the carrier to offer cheaper fares, a move opposed by AirAsia.

The government has approved the two China routes from Sabah and has given AirAsia permission to apply for routes to India, he said. Negotiations for rights to China and India tend to take long, the carrier said in July.

Singapore-based discount airline Tiger Airways Pte flies to Guangzhou, Haikou and Shenzhen. No-frills airline Jetstar Asia, which combined with Valuair Ltd. last year, flies to Bangalore.

Singapore Flights

AirAsia is still considering flying to Singapore, Fernandes said. The Malaysian airline, which had failed to secure landing rights from Singapore in its previous bids to fly to the city- state, has submitted a request to the Malaysian government, which will help it negotiate landing rights with relevant authorities overseas, the Business Times reported yesterday, citing an unidentified official.

``There's a huge potential for AirAsia there,'' Fernandes said today, declining to say if he is reviving efforts to fly to Singapore. ``We're looking at all routes and Singapore is one of them, but our focus right now is more China and India.''

AirAsia is negotiating with Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd. for ``substantially lower'' airport landing and parking charges at the low-cost carrier terminal in Sepang, he added. Passenger service charges and airport taxes for domestic passengers should also be cut, he said, without elaborating.

Fleet Expansion

AirAsia agreed last month to buy 40 more Airbus SAS A320 planes for about $2.6 billion and has an option to acquire as many as 30 more. The order is in addition to the 60 planes it placed in March 2005.

The airline may exercise its option to buy the additional 30 planes soon, Fernandes said. ``In our planning, we believe we can absorb those 30 very quickly,'' he said. The airline doesn't have enough planes to immediately start flying to the two China routes it seeks to serve this year, he said.

The airline is ``comfortable'' with its current fuel surcharge, until fuel prices rise to $100 a barrel, he said.

Jet fuel traded at an average of $85.39 a barrel in Singapore in the three months ended June, 26 percent more than the same period a year earlier, according to Bloomberg data. The price of jet fuel has risen as much as 27 percent this year to a record $90.35 a barrel on July 17.
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Old August 5th, 2006, 06:56 AM   #518
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AirAsia keen to fly to Yogyakarta, Palembang
August 5 2006


AIRASIA Bhd, Malaysia's budget carrier, is keen to fly to Yogyakarta and Palembang and wants to add more flights to Pekanbaru and Solo in Indonesia, its chief executive officer said.

There is a surge in Indonesian passengers flying with AirAsia and the number may grow to three million next year from two million currently, Datuk Tony Fernandes said.

AirAsia is expected to fly nine million passengers this year and 15 million next year, he added.

"We have always been bullish about Indonesia. There is also demand for Penang-Jakarta. I hope to get the routes. Getting the routes is one thing, now we need to find the planes," he told reporters after the dialogue session in Kuala Lumpur.

AirAsia, which currently has 60 Airbus A320 aircraft, has just ordered 40 more. It also has the option to buy another 30.

The board has yet to decide on the option plan, Fernandes said.

"But we are fairly confident that the board will approve it. We need the planes. Travel is getting robust," he added.
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Old August 5th, 2006, 06:57 AM   #519
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AirAsia sees passenger numbers hitting 15m by mid-2007
August 5 2006


AIRASIA Bhd, South-East Asia's biggest low-fare carrier, expects its passenger numbers to rise 67 per cent to 15 million in the year ending June 2007 as it adds routes to meet travel demand, chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes said yesterday.

The airline, based in Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur, likely flew 9 million passengers in the fiscal year ended June 30, Fernandes told reporters.

The company has yet to report earnings for the 12 months to June.

"A large part of our growth is foreign tourists," Fernandes said. "Many foreigners are now using AirAsia as we market South-East Asia as one tourist destination. For instance, a lot of Koreans and Japanese going to Brunei have two or three stops within the region".

AirAsia, which last month agreed to buy 40 more Airbus SAS A320 planes for about RM9.54 billion, is expanding its routes to win over passengers and keep its lead among at least 18 discount carriers in the region. The airline started flying to Brunei on July 11 and plans to begin services from Malaysia's Sabah state to China's Xiamen and Shenzhen by the end of this year. It is seeking flights to India by next year.

AirAsia is able to speed up the introduction of new international routes after the government last month agreed to include the carrier in its bilateral talks for air rights.

The airline expects about 3 million passengers of the 15 million passengers will travel routes in Indonesia. About 2 million of the 9 million travelers in the year ended June 30 also flew Indonesian destinations.

AirAsia soon plans to introduce new routes in Indonesian cities including Palembang and Pekanbaru in Sumatra, he said.

Aside from the 40 Airbus planes, AirAsia also has an option to acquire as many as 30 more aircraft. The order is in addition to the 60 planes it placed in March 2005.

AirAsia has carried over 20 million passengers since it started operations five years ago, the company said in an e-mail statement yesterday. - Bloomberg
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Old August 5th, 2006, 07:05 AM   #520
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Latest:
Manchester United to help 'sell' Malaysia

By Vasantha Ganesan
August 5 2006



Tourism Malaysia, AirAsia and TV3 will take part in the sponsorship deal with Manchester United, expected to be signed by end-month

THE Tourism Ministry, AirAsia Bhd and Sistem Televisyen Malaysia Bhd (TV3) are expected to sign a marketing deal by the end of the month with the Manchester United Football Club.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said that the ministry does not plan to renew its agreement with the Chelsea club in the coming season.

"We are no longer doing Chelsea sponsorship. We will be doing (the deal) with Manchester United," Tengku Adnan said.

"We believe MU has more viewership and fans and is easier to deal with," he said.

The deal essentially seeks to promote Malaysia on signboards during football matches, which would draw millions of viewers from around the world.

"We are finalising the agreement and the three parties - Tourism Malaysia, AirAsia and TV3 - will share the sponsorship," he added.

Tengku Adnan declined to say how much would be spent under the pact.

"It will be a much lesser amount than the Chelsea sponsorship," he told reporters at a media conference on "Meeting Malaysia 2006" that will be held on September 27-28 2006 at the Barbican Exhibition Centre in London.

If the Chelsea sponsorship is anything to go by, the team endorsed Malaysia as its official travel destination and allowed the ministry to display digital signboards of "Visit Malaysia Year" as well as the "Colours of Malaysia" promotion around Stamford Bridge, the team's home stadium.

The Chelsea team's one year sponsorship deal in 2005/2006 is reported to have been 1 million pounds (RM6.94 million). It is believed that the team had requested some 1.6 million pounds (RM11.10 million) to renew the deal.

This money to promote Malaysia via a football team is in addition to 1 million pounds spent on other marketing activities in UK to promote Malaysia and the Tourism Ministry's investment in the Awana Chelsea restaurant in London.

The "Meeting Malaysia 2006" event which is targeted to promote Malaysia especially to the meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition (MICE) market, hopes to be able to woo some one million tourists from UK and Europe.

Together with the government's target of bringing in another one million tourists from UK and Europe, this represents more than double the number expected this year from the region at around 600,000.

Meanwhile, Tengku Adnan said that the ministry plans to make another trip to Singapore, after arrivals from across the causeway dropped for five months.

"Singapore has its Tiger Airways and it is offering cheap fares as low as RM233 (inclusive of accommodation). We will be going to Singapore ...we are pushing. We are competing with Indonesia and Thailand (for the same crowd)," he said.

"We are studying and trying to team up with Singapore to promote 'one destination two countries'," he said.
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