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Old December 19th, 2006, 03:57 PM   #601
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Thai AirAsia to double passengers to 6 million in ‘07

By Isabelle Francis
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Thai AirAsia Co Ltd expects to double its number of passengers to six million next year aided by additional capacity and frequencies as well as new destinations to be introduced starting mid-year.

Its chief executive officer Tassapon Bijleveld said: "With 10 (Boeing 737-300) aircraft this year, we carry about three million passengers. Next year, we will be having five more planes. We are looking at about five to six million next year, an equivalent of what we have carried in the past three years.”

Speaking at a media briefing on its newly introduced Bangkok-Langkawi flight in Kuala Lumpur on Dec 19, Tassapon said some 50% of the six million passengers was expected to be international travellers and the rest local travellers. Of the three million passengers this year, 40% were international travellers.

He said the low-cost carrier was also looking to add frequencies to its existing flights to Malaysia, especially for its latest Bangkok-Langkawi route that will start on Jan 6.

He hoped to provide daily flights for the destination in the next six to eight months compared with the initial once daily on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Tassapon said it also planned to introduce more international flights, with a strong focus on destinations in Indochina and Southern China. He expected its new Indochina flight, Bangkok-Ho Chi Minh City, to be introduced next June.

Thai AirAsia now flies to Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia as well as to Singapore, Hanoi, Phnom Penh and Yangon.

On the financial front, Tassapon said that the company expected to at least double this year’s revenue. For financial year ending Dec 31,2005, it posted a net profit of 100 million baht (RM10 million) on the back of 2.3 billion baht revenue.

Tassapon said it expected an average load factor of about 85% next year compared to 80% this year. He expected a double-digit growth in the region’s low cost carrier business due to economy growth and better affordability among travellers.

Thai AirAsia’s shareholders are Thailand-based Asia Aviation Co Ltd (50%), AirAsia (49%) and Tassapon himself (1%).
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Old December 20th, 2006, 04:18 AM   #602
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Thai AirAsia sees 75% load on Langkawi route

BY CHAN CHING THUT



KUALA LUMPUR: Thai AirAsia Comp Ltd expects a passenger load factor of more than 75% on its new Bangkok-Langkawi route commencing on Jan 6 next year.

The sister company of Bursa Malaysia-listed AirAsia Bhd will serve the Bangkok-Langkawi route thrice a week, with one flight each departing from Bangkok and Langkawi.


Thai AirAsia chief executive officer Tassapon Bijleveld said the airline expected to improve flight frequency from three times a week to daily after three to six months.

Langkawi will be Thai AirAsia’s fourth destination in Malaysia, after Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Kota Kinabalu, and its 10th international destination.

“We have chosen to fly to Langkawi because of the island’s growing tourism appeal, especially for tourists visiting Bangkok. These tourists are always interested in visiting neighbouring destinations and Langkawi is among their favourite destinations,” he told a media briefing yesterday.

Tassapon said Thai AirAsia, which was established in 2004, had flown six million passengers to date.

“We carried three million passengers this year. Next year, we are targeting five to six million passengers and increasing our aircraft to 15,” he added.

Thai AirAsia planned to fly to new destinations such as Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City by the first half of next year, Vientiane in Laos, and Kunming and Shenzhen in southern China by the end of next year, Tassapon said.

“Next year, we will have three to four destinations in China. It depends on the approvals,” he added.

The airline has offered 1,000 free seats (exclusive of taxes and other fees) on the Bangkok-Langkawi route to guests who book their tickets online from Dec 12 to 20 for travel between Jan 6 and 31, 2007.
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Old December 20th, 2006, 05:14 PM   #603
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nazrey View Post
AirAsia to add third daily flight to Macau
December 19 2006
BusinessTimes

An A320 has 180 seats, an additional 32 seats compared with a B737. The airline is currently in the progress of phasing out its B737s and replacing them with an all-new A320 fleet.
At the risk of being accussed of pedantic leanings, let me put this right.

The quoted statement is another example of a not-too-knowledgeable journalist who propogates not-too-correct information. The specific model - A320* - of the Airbus narrow body family of the same name is cited against the B737 as if the latter is a specific model when that designation generally refers to a whole airplane family of myriad models spanning 3 generations.
The more correct way to put it is something to this effect: "An A320 has 180 seats, an additional 32 seats compared with a B737-300" (as is currently in AirAsia's fleet).

A320 family (capacity ranges from 117 to 220 in 1-class configuration) :
A318
A319
A320
A321

B737 family (capacity ranges from 118 to 215 in 1-class configuration) :
B737-100
B737-200
B737-300
B737-400
B737-500
B737-600
B737-700
B737-800
B737-900


*The A320's direct competitor is the B737-800 which can seat 189 passengers in the same high density 1-class layout as AirAsia's A320.

Last edited by phenom; December 20th, 2006 at 05:41 PM.
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Old December 23rd, 2006, 01:04 PM   #604
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AirAsia invests RM150m on AirAsia Academy

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AirAsia Bhd has invested RM150 million over the past two year for its pilot training school AirAsia Academy to produce between 60 and 100 pilots a year as part of its next five-year expansion plan.

Its chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes said while AirAsia had no shortage of pilots now, the training school would cater to its future expansion.

Speaking to reporters after accepting the delivery of its 50th aircraft, which is its 15th Airbus A320, Fernandes said each aircraft would require 10 pilots.

AirAsia is celebrating its fifth year as a low-cost carrier. "The past five years has been a blast. Our growth from two to 50 planes is a testament that we have a winning product - low fares and quality flying experience."

Fernandes said it had todate carried over 26 million passengers and currently served over 70 routes across 10 countries.

It now operated more than 300 flights per day. AirAsia is also set to become the single largest Airbus A320 operator in the Asia-Pacific by 2012, with its confirmed order of 100 Airbus A320.

Fernandes also said AirAsia was in talks with prospective companies to jump start the local airline maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) industry.

"In the pipeline is the development of the MRO facilities in Malaysia and AirAsia is currently engaging in discussions with prospective companies to jump start this area.

"MRO has been identified as a new growth area for Malaysia and the country having progressed significantly in the aviation industry has tremendous potential to grow in MRO services," he said.

On whether AirAsia would be revising its fuel surcharge, he said: "We are already 50% lower than everyone else."

He also said AirAsia group was targeting to carry 18 million passengers for next year.
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Old December 24th, 2006, 11:26 AM   #605
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AirAsia to boost route network
23-12-2006
The Star
By LEONG HUNG YEE


SEPANG: AirAsia Bhd will be strengthening and enhancing its route network by connecting all the existing cities it flies to and expanding to new destinations, group chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes said.

The budget carrier plans to expand further in Indochina, Indonesia, Southern China and India next year with the delivery of more new Airbus A320s.

However, we will continue to focus on developing our hub in Bangkok and Jakarta through our sister companies, Thai AirAsia and Indonesia AirAsia, Fernandes told a press conference after the delivery of its 50th A320 aircraft at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal here yesterday.

AirAsia, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, has ordered 100 A320 with an option for 30 more.

Fernandes said looking at AirAsia's aggressive network expansion plan, the 100 aircraft might not be sufficient to support its growth. The airline, he said, was considering placing more orders with Airbus.

AirAsia expects passenger volume to hit 18 million by end-2007, backed by the increase in number of aircraft and more destinations.

To a question, Fernandes said the company was optimistic of securing rights to fly the lucrative Singapore-Kuala Lumpur route by next year.

I think we could have something next year. I think the only reason in not giving us Singapore is to protect Malaysia Airlines and it is about time that ends, he said, adding that the carrier was confident of กงtaking a lot of hard traffic from Singapore over to Kuala Lumpur.

Meanwhile, Fernandes said AirAsia had no plans to review its current fuel surcharge.

Our surcharge is already one of the lowest in the world. Besides, the oil price trend is still rather volatile. We will only review it once it (oil price) reaches our target level,กจ he added.

AirAsia has also invested RM150mil over the past two years in its pilot training school, AirAsia Academy, to produce between 60 and 100 pilots a year as part of its expansion plan for the next five years.

Fernandes said while AirAsia had no shortage of pilots now, the training school would cater to its future expansion.

Meanwhile, AirAsia is engaged in talks with prospective companies to jumpstart the airline's maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities.

MRO has been identified as a new growth area for Malaysia and with the country having progressed significantly in the aviation industry, such services have potential to grow, he added.
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Old December 24th, 2006, 11:27 AM   #606
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AirAsia To Build MRO Facility Within Five Years
22-12-2006


SEPANG, Dec 22 (Bernama) -- Budget airline, AirAsia Bhd plans to build its low cost maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities in Malaysia within the next five years, group chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes said.

"This is in our five-year plan. I think with our 100 aircraft, we will be able to make a headstart on what I believe to be the most low cost MRO with higher quality in the world," he told reporters at an event to celebrate the arrival of the airline's 50th aircraft, a brand new Airbus A320 into its fleet, here Friday.

The MRO, said Tony, has been identified as the new growth area for Malaysia and the country having progressed significantly in the aviation industry has tremendous potential to grow in MRO services.

Commenting on the new aircraft, AirAsia's 15th Airbus A320, Tony said its leather seats and wider seat pitch, among others, would give passengers more convenience and comfort.

"With all the new Airbus A320 rolling in for the next few years, we look forward to the Visit Malaysia Year 2007 as we stimulate greater interest to travel with our low fares," he said.

AirAsia, to date has carried over 26 million passengers and currently serves over 70 routes across 10 countries, with 300 flights per day.

The company targets to carry 18 million passengers next year.

With its recent confirmed orders of 100 A320s, Tony said that the low cost airline company would become the single largest Airbus A320 operator in the Asia-Pacific region by year 2012.

The company is currently in the progress of phasing out its 35 Boeing 737-300 aircraft and replacing them for an all new Airbus A320 fleet.

To date, 75 percent of AirAsia's fleet in Kuala Lumpur is Airbus A320 and by July 2007, our Kuala Lumpur hub will be fully operated with A320s, said Tony.

As for its Thailand operations, he said, it would receive its first Airbus A320 in October next year, while Indonesia by January 2008.

Meanwhile, Tony, who also unveiled AirAsia's next five-year plan today, want to undertake some aggressive strategies to strengthen and enhance its route network by connecting all the existing cities in the region within the time frame.

He said, the company aimed to expand further into Indo China, Indonesia, Southern China (Kun Ming, Xiamen, Shenzen) and India.

"The airline will focus on developing its hubs in Bangkok and Jakarta through sister companies, Thai AirAsia and Indonesia AirAsia," he said.

Tony also said that AirAsia was confident of securing the rights to fly the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur route by early next year.

"I think we could have something by the first quarter... and we are confident of taking a lot of hard traffic from Singapore over to Kuala Lumpur. It is crucial in making KLIA (KL International Airport) an important hub," he said.
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Old December 26th, 2006, 10:19 AM   #607
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AirAsia to start 9th daily Kuching-KL, KL-KK flights

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AirAsia Bhd will start its ninth (9th) daily flight from Kuching to Kuala Lumpur and KL to Kota Kinabalu respectively, beginning Jan 4, 2007 due to strong demand for the two key routes.

In a statement on Dec 26, AirAsia said the airline had recorded high loads of over 90% for both routes in the past three months.

The ninth flight from Kuching to KL will depart daily at 6.45am, and from KL to Kota Kinabalu at 7.55am.

"These early departures will appeal especially to business travellers who like to have an early start to the day or even make day trips," said AirAsia.

Meanwhile, to kick off Visit Malaysia Year 2007, AirAsia will be offering a “three-day special” promotion for both the added 9th frequency flight from Dec 27–29, 2006 for travel period beginning Jan 4.

AirAsia executive vice president (commercial) Kathleen Tan, said: “The demand for low fares has escalated for these two key routes and this has prompted us to add the ninth frequency for both routes.

She said the rapid expansion of route network covering 10 countries and the increased frequencies connecting Peninsular and East Malaysia would help boost tourism, stimulate the growth of cultural integration and economic activities.

"Our service for both routes has become increasingly popular as a shuttle service, where guests can easily make quick day trips for business or pleasure and choose from our high frequency flights.”

“The response for flights operating out of our Kuching and Kota Kinabalu hubs has exceeded our expectations and we are confident that we can expect increased traffic going forward.

"In the past five months since we began operations out of these two East Malaysia hubs, we have recorded over 500,000 guests with just the two aircraft based at both Kuching and Kota Kinabalu respectively,” Tan said.
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Old December 29th, 2006, 04:17 AM   #608
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AirAsia has no plans to form new partnerships: CEO

By Anna Maria Samsudin
[email protected]

December 29 2006

BUDGET carrier AirAsia has no plans to form new joint-venture partnerships with other international airlines at the moment.

Chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes said its current partnerships in Thailand and Indonesia are sufficient to support its network and frequency expansion plans.

Nevertheless, he admitted that the airline had been approached by numerous foreign carriers from Asia and the Middle East interested in collaborating with AirAsia.

He said that to date, AirAsia had received at least eight joint-venture proposals.

"Yes, we have received a lot of proposals, but it is nothing to shout about. We have yet to receive a proposal that really captures our interest," he told reporters after AirAsia's annual general meeting in Sepang yesterday.

Meanwhile, Fernandes said the strengthening ringgit would have a positive impact on the airline's future bottom line.

He said that since 75 per cent of the airline's cost is US dollar-dominated, a stronger ringgit would result in significant cost-savings.

"The strengthening ringgit has a huge impact on a company like us, especially when you are buying 100 aircraft. In addition, oil accounts for 40 per cent of our cost and is also paid in US dollars. We will certainly enjoy the benefits of a stronger ringgit," he said.

Fernandes said the airline is focused on increasing frequencies of existing flights rather than exploring new routes.

"I think in the first five years of our operations, we have basically covered a good portion of South-East Asia. Now all we have to do is increase the frequencies."

Another major focus of the airline is to get airport operators to reduce airport charges for low-cost carriers (LCCs) as this would encourage more people to travel and help bring more tourists into the country, he added.

"Airports need to have different charges for LCCs as the services and facilities provided are not the same. Security charges should not be the same. Operators should have different pricing for different airports," he said.





Strong ringgit a boost for AirAsia
By Alfean Hardy
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AirAsia Bhd, which expects to release its best ever quarterly results for the three months to Dec 31, 2006, is reaping the benefits of the strengthening ringgit and lower world oil prices, its chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes said.

He said the two primary factors had resulted in tremendous cost savings as the low cost carrier was mainly a "US dollar-based business."

“There are two major things going in favour of AirAsia: one is oil, the other is the ringgit, which has had a phenomenal appreciation," he told reporters after AirAsia’s AGM in Sepang on Dec 28.

Fernandes said many industry analysts had failed to pick up on the fact that the ringgit had appreciated 6% to 7%.

"About 70% of our cost is in US dollars and 6% to 7% makes a huge impact to our bottom line.

"We also never hedged our currencies because we felt the ringgit would strengthen and we are now benefiting from a stronger ringgit,” he said.

"We pay for our oil and planes in US dollars,” he said, adding that AirAsia had hedged almost 100% of its fuel requirements for the rest of the financial year ending June 30, 2007.

Nonetheless, he did not expect fuel to be a problem. “We believe fuel will oscillate between US$55 and US$65 and, no matter what OPEC is doing, oil is going down," he added.

On its current performance, Fernandes said AirAsia was "excited" about its performance in terms of passenger numbers for the first half of the current financial year.

"This will translate to the bottom line. It is our best ever quarter and I want to stress that this is the first quarter that AirAsia has operated really on a level playing field.

“The performance will be a mark of what investors should expect going forward. It’s the first true reflection of the company. Our load factors have never been so high and it bodes well for the future,” he said.

To a question on whether AirAsia would face falling revenue per passenger, Fernandes said its business model depended more on passenger traffic rather than yield, which was the focus of the premium airlines.

He said AirAsia's strategy for next year would be to focus on consolidation rather than expansion, particularly on improving its services, driving down costs and increasing flight frequencies.

“Now it’s to build frequency and focus on airport costs,” he said in reference to AirAsia's request to Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd to lower airport charges for the low cost carrier vis-a-vis the premium carriers.

“We don’t think the security charge should be the same for different terminals. There’s a lot more X-ray machines in the main terminal than there are in the low cost terminal.

“We encourage differentiated pricing. You don’t pay Mandarin Oriental rates for a three-star hotel,” he added.

On the government's plan to allow other low cost carriers to fly to the country, Fernandes welcomed competition. “We don’t believe in protection. We welcome more and more low cost carriers to come.”

He believed that KL International Airport could play an important role in making Malaysia a regional low cost carrier hub.

“On the premium side, Changi has won and Bangkok is strong but in low cost travel, KLIA is the biggest by far.

"We have the potential to carry 40 million passengers (per year) at the low cost carrier terminal), which is 10 times to 20 times bigger than the Budget Terminal in Singapore," he said.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that AirAsia Bhd said flight bookings through the Internet slowed on Wednesday after earthquakes off Taiwan damaged undersea cables and disrupted Internet services in Asia.

AirAsia isn't expecting any "major impact'' on sales, the carrier, said in a statement. The carrier increased the number of call centers to help facilitate bookings, Fernandes said.

"While our Internet booking have gone down, our call centres are up,'' Fernandes told Bloomberg in a telephone interview yesterday. "Surprisingly, it has no impact on the total bookings.''

About 65% of bookings are normally made through the Internet, the carrier said.

Malaysian Airline System Bhd and SilkAir, the regional unit of Singapore Airlines Ltd, also faced similar disruptions to their online services, the companies said in separate e-mail statements.

"We are experiencing a temporary slowdown and intermittent disruptions to online services on our Web site,'' SilkAir said.

"We are working with our technical vendors to mitigate impact, for example, minimising site congestion by boosting our connection bandwidth.''
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Old January 2nd, 2007, 09:38 AM   #609
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AirAsia to announce new service on Friday

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia said on Tuesday it would make a major announcement on a new service on Friday after a report that it was considering an alliance with Britain's easyJet and the Virgin group [VA.UL].

"It's a huge announcement. The transport minister will be attending the event in Kuala Lumpur at 10 a.m. (0200 GMT) on Friday." a company spokeswoman said by telephone. "It's about a new service."

She declined to give further details. AirAsia's Chief Executive Tony Fernandes declined on Monday to comment on a Malaysian newspaper report on the alliance.

The Star, quoting unidentified sources, said the three airlines were in talks to form a global no-frills alliance that would offer cheap flights within Asia as well between Europe to Australia via Kuala Lumpur.

It said the tie-up would give AirAsia access to London's Stansted airport. In return, Richard Branson's Virgin and easyJet would have access to Kuala Lumpur airport's low-cost terminal which is the home for AirAsia, it added.

Fernandes told Malaysia's New Straits Times on Saturday that there was a potential for a budget long-haul air service model.

"It's a matter of time before someone comes up with a good model for a low-cost carrier and I hope the innovation would come from Malaysia," he told the newspaper.

But a spokesman for easyJet said on Monday the British airline had not discussed any such alliance with AirAsia.

"We are not in any talks with AirAsia or Virgin," he said.

The Times newspaper in London reported on Tuesday that Virgin had re-entered talks with AirAsia about taking a stake in the group, which was founded in 2001 by Fernandes, who began his career in the finance department of Virgin Records.

Virgin Blue, Virgin Group's Asian unit, had discussed investment possibilities with AirAsia in 2003 but this did not materialise at that time.

It is believed a link-up with AirAsia will give Virgin access to Malaysia as well as other countries in the region, including Thailand and Indonesia, The Times said.

A Virgin spokesman refused on Monday to deny Virgin Atlantic has held talks with AirAsia.
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Old January 2nd, 2007, 12:31 PM   #610
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rumours has it that AK will order more Airbus 320s and 20 Airbus 330....
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Old January 2nd, 2007, 02:11 PM   #611
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333 is great for AK long haul plan. All this time there are rumours about Airbus talking with a LCC of selling widebody, could this be the one? I guess it is........
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 04:16 AM   #612
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AirAsia up 9.27% in early trade

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Share price of AirAsia Bhd rose as much as 9.27% or 14 sen to RM1.65 in early trade on Jan 3 ahead of a major announcement of a new service on Jan 5 and reported alliance with two other budget carriers.

AirAsia opened at RM1.54, up three sen from the last traded price of RM1.41 on Dec 30. Within the first half-hour, there were 4.96 million shares done at prices ranging from RM1.54 to RM1.65. At 9.30am, it was trading at RM1.63, up 12 sen.

Its call warrants opened at 26 sen, up two sen. Within the first 30 minutes, there were 7.17 million units done at prices ranging from 26 sen to 30.5 sen. At 9.30am, it was trading at 30 sen, up six sen.

AirAsia was reported to be considering an alliance with Britain's easyJet and the Virgin group.

It is also one of 70 approved securities under the regulated short selling, which was reintroduced on Jan 3 after nearly a decade.

OSK Investment Research had upgraded AirAsia to a "Trading Buy" even with no changes to its estimates.

"AirAsia's share price could well run up towards the RM2 level which would be closer to the fair value based on our 2008 earnings estimates as opposed to our current 2007 valuation," it said.
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 12:04 PM   #613
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pedang View Post
AirAsia up 9.27% in early trade
AirAsia was reported to be considering an alliance with Britain's easyJet and the Virgin group.
Nice!
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 12:09 PM   #614
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AirAsia Shares Rise on Virgin, EasyJet Speculation
03-01-2007
Bloomberg
By Soraya Permatasari


Jan. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Shares of AirAsia Bhd. surged after it said an associate plans to make an announcement this week, increasing speculation that Southeast Asia's biggest low-fare airline may form a tie-up with Virgin Group and EasyJet Plc.

AirAsia was headed to its highest close since Oct. 13. The shares rose as much as 9.3 percent to 1.65 ringgit and were trading at 1.62 ringgit, up 7.3 percent, at the 12:30 p.m. break in Kuala Lumpur. Fly Asian Xpress, or FAX, will make a statement on Jan. 5, AirAsia Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes said in an e-mailed reply to Bloomberg queries today.

``The shareholders of FAX may be in discussions with EasyJet and AirAsia, but we cannot make a comment on that,'' said Fernandes, who is also an owner of FAX.

Adding long-haul services would allow AirAsia and FAX to tap demand for travel between Europe and Asia. A tie-up with a European carrier may allow AirAsia to generate feeder traffic and to cut its distribution and operating costs on new routes.

``It would make sense if they could form some sort of an association with a low-cost carrier, or lower-priced carriers, on long-haul,'' said Peter Hilton, a Hong Kong-based Credit Suisse Group analyst. Still, ``I can't see anything that would really warrant, at this stage, the sort of appreciation that's happened today,'' he added.

FAX operates domestic services that AirAsia, based in Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur, received from state-controlled Malaysian Airline System Bhd. last year. The airline plans to add international routes, it said on its Web site.

Fernandes, along with two other AirAsia directors, are FAX's principle shareholders, the smaller carrier said.

Virgin, EasyJet, HolidayAir

AirAsia plans to team up with Virgin and EasyGroup to form a global long-haul budget carrier, the Star newspaper reported on Jan. 1, citing people it didn't identify. AirAsia has not had any discussions with Virgin or EasyJet, Fernandes said today. EasyJet, Europe's second-biggest discount airline, is part of EasyGroup.

EasyJet Plc Chief Executive Andy Harrison said on Jan. 2 that neither the carrier nor EasyGroup were in talks with AirAsia. Paul Charles, Virgin Atlantic Airways' director of communications, declined to confirm or deny the Star's report on Jan. 1.

AirAsia has bought almost half of HolidayAir, a Sri Lankan budget carrier that plans to start operations in March, the state news agency Bernama reported today, citing unidentified people in the aviation industry.
Sri Lanka's Asia Capital leads a group of local investors in the airline, while international investors include a group of Malaysian investors and a regional carrier, the airline's Chief Executive Arjun Ruzaik was cited as saying. He didn't identify the Malaysian investors or the airline. HolidayAir has attracted $20 million in investment, Bernama said.

HolidayAir will open its office at the Colombo International Airport next month and start its first flight service on March 10, Bernama said.
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 12:11 PM   #615
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New Lankan Airline With Malaysian Investment To Launch Operations
03-01-2007
Bernama


COLOMBO, Jan 3 (Bernama) -- A new Sri Lankan no-frills airline has brought in Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia on board as an investor and plans to launch operations from March 2007.

HolidayAir, which has been waiting in the wings for more than a year to launch mainly regional flights, will finally take off in March, its chief executive officer Arjun Ruzaik said recently.

He said the airline hoped to open its office at the Colombo International Airport next month and launch the first flight on March 10.

Initially it plans to fly to Cochin, Calicut, Trichy and Trivandrum in India, and within 24 months fly 16 to 20 routes in Asia and the Middle East, including Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore as well as the Maldives.

HolidayAir will have only one A320 aircraft, but within two years when the airline gets going to other destinations, it will have eight aircraft.

A consortium of local and foreign investors has come on board of the airline with a US$20 million investment.

"A consortium headed by Sri Lanka's Asia Capital will be investing locally, while there is a consortium of Malaysian investors and we have also tied up with a leading regional airline," said Ruzaik.

He declined to comment on the Malaysian investor or the regional airline concerned. But airline sources said that Malaysia's AirAsia headed by aviation dynamo Datuk Tony Fernandes has acquired a near 50 percent stake in the company.

Three Sri Lankan companies, HolidayAir together with Deccan Air and Expo Air, were granted approval to fly to four destinations in India late last year by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), but the latter two dropped out of the race after a much publicised battle.

HolidayAir is expected to give Sri Lanka's national carrier, SriLankan Airlines, a run for its money with low-cost operations and much cheaper tickets.

Another new state-subsidised airline, Mihin Air, also due to start in the February/March period, will also eat into SriLankan's gradually eroding profitability.

Mihin Air is banking on the lucrative Middle East sector, where thousands of Sri Lankans fly every year to work, with cheaper tickets.
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 10:34 PM   #616
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http://www.airliners.net/discussions....main/3179053/

^Bought another 100 A320's.

I hear they'll be flying to Manchester if this Virgin/EasyJet alliance goes ahead.
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Old January 4th, 2007, 03:36 AM   #617
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^ Here is the newswire article :

AirAsia to order more Airbus A320s-WSJ

NEW YORK, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Malaysian airline AirAsia Bhd is set to to order 100 Airbus jetliners, increasing its existing order for single-aisle A320s, as it looks to expand its service in Southeast Asia, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing a person it said had knowledge of the decision.

The order would be worth $6.7 billion based on list prices, the Journal said. It would mark a huge win for Airbus, majority-owned by European aerospace group EADS , against U.S. rival Boeing Co. . The low-cost carrier expects to take delivery of the new planes starting in 2012, the Journal said.

Earlier this year, AirAsia ordered 40 A320s and took options to buy an additional 30. An Airbus spokesman declined to comment on the report. A call to AirAsia was not immediately returned.
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Old January 5th, 2007, 07:14 AM   #618
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MAS targets RM450m in online sales this year
04 Jan 2007 9:58 PM
THEEDGEDAILY


Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is targeting to nearly quadruple its online sales via www.malaysiaairlines.com to RM450 million this year from over RM120 million last year.

In a statement on Jan 4, the national carrier said its website saw monthly hits reaching an all-time high of 1.3 million last year, far exceeding the 284,000 monthly hits in 2005.

It attributed the steep increase in online transactions to its aggressive low fares promotional activities such as the Malaysia Airlines Travel Fair, MATTA Fair, the international Supersavers promotions and foreign-based campaigns.

It added that the introduction of web-fares and simplified booking processes last year further accelerated the growth momentum.

MAS said foreign transactions constituted over 60% of the sales.

It said local transactions were boosted by more than a 195% increase in the number of Internet users between 2000 and 2006, which saw Malaysia hitting a 40.2% Internet penetration rate last year.

Its commercial director Datuk Rashid Khan said: “Online transactions are the way to go especially as we move towards electronic ticketing this year where physical tickets will no longer be issued.

"To facilitate this move, we have allocated RM200 million over a five-year period to create a hassle-free and efficient distribution channel.

“When electronic ticketing is fully implemented, customers can easily print his/ her itinerary from the comfort of his/ her home, and manage itinerary changes easier. The best thing is that they no longer have to worry about lost or stolen tickets.”

MAS said that in September 2006, e-Ticketing accounted for 65% of tickets sold worldwide. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has mandated that the 265 airlines under its wings will need to achieve 100% paperless ticketing by end-2007.

MAS assistant general manager of distribution, Saat Abdul Samad, said: “As the Internet is a critical component of our distribution system, we are continuously fine-tuning our site.

"Customers can expect further improvements in the look and feel of the site, speedier transaction time and enhancements to the payment portal with more payment options.

“In addition, more travel options which allow customers to access different calendars listing all the flights and fares, including the lowest, would be made available.

"On top of this, they will be able to do online seat selection, online check-in and online redemption of Enrich Miles.” On its website, low airfares are available 342 days in advance.

In addition to online bookings of air tickets, customers can also make hotel reservations for any of MAS’ destinations worldwide.

Hotel rates are quoted in ringgit with the price of RM66 for a night-stay in Bangkok, RM88 for Bali and RM218 for London.
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Old January 7th, 2007, 01:01 PM   #619
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MAS package for EPL fans to watch live matches
Saturday January 6, 2007
TheStar


KUCHING: Fans of the English Premier League (EPL) now have the chance to see their favourite teams live in action following Malaysia Airlines’ launch of its premier football package.

The package, starting at RM3,888 on a twin-sharing basis, currently offers deals to watch the home matches of nine EPL clubs - Arsenal, Charlton Athletic, Chelsea, Fulham, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur.

MAS sales executive Saleh Hassan said it was a great opportunity for football fans to go and see their teams.

“We are launching the package here so that diehard fans in Sarawak will know about it and not miss out on the chance to watch a match live in the stadium,” he said recently.

The package includes a return economy class ticket to London, two nights’ hotel accommodation, airport transfers and a match ticket.

Optional stadium tours, upgrades and extensions are also available.

However, the return flight is from Kuala Lumpur and fans from Sarawak will have to add on a domestic flight.

“The lowest Kuching-Kuala Lumpur return fare is RM338, which has to be purchased nine days in advance, or RM398 if purchased seven days ahead.

“Alternatively, our Internet fare of RM139 one-way can be purchased 14 days in advance,” Saleh said.

All fares exclude airport taxes and fuel surcharges.

The package is available for reservations and purchase from MAS-appointed agent Holiday Tours and Travel Sdn Bhd.

For more details, go to www.malaysiaairlines.com
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Old January 7th, 2007, 01:03 PM   #620
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AirAsia X offers KL-UK route for as low as RM9.99 (Updated)
By Surin Murugiah & Gan Yen Kuan, 05 Jan 2007 6:59 PM
THEEDGEDAILY



From 3rd left:- FAX (Fly Asian Xpress) CEO Raja Azmi Raja Razali, AirAsia Bhd
Group deputy CEO Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, Minister of Transport Datuk
Seri Chan Kong Choy, Minister of Tourism Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku
Mansor, AirAsia Bhd chairman Datuk Pahamin A Rajab and AirAsia Bhd group
CEO & FAX (Fly Asian Xpress) director & co-founder Datuk Tony Fernandes
at the launch of AirAsia X in Kuala Lumpur



Fares from as low as RM9.99 from Kuala Lumpur to the United Kingdom - that is what Asia's low cost carrier pioneer, Datuk Tony Fernandes, wants to offer air travellers on a regular basis.

Fernandes broke new ground in the regional aviation industry, with the unveiling on Jan 5 of a low cost long-haul air service to be branded AirAsia X that will start operations in July this year with average fares at about 50% of the prevailing market rates.

The new long-haul service, which will be operated by Fernandes' private entity Fly Asian Xpress (FAX) out of Kuala Lumpur, will initially include flights to the UK as well as Hangzhou and Tianjin in China.

AirAsia X’s network focus will cover destinations more than four hours in flight duration offering daily point-to-point frequencies to destinations in China, India and Europe, where national air carrier Malaysia Airlines is not operating.

FAX is currently the operator of rural air services in Malaysia. FAX has also lined up flights to Berlin, Prague, Amritsar and a yet-to-be confirmed southeast Australia destination after July.

AirAsia X will operate out of the low cost terminal at KL International Airport. The new service will be branded AirAsia X pursuant to an MoU between FAX and Asia's first budget carrier AirAsia Bhd in a franchise arrangement for the long-haul service.

AirAsia has an option to take up a 20% stake, with an option for another 10%, in FAX. Fernandes is also a major shareholder and chief executive officer of AirAsia.

Fernandes said AirAsia X would also tie up with low-cost carrier partners at its various destinations in order to increase connectivity and route network.

The other owners of FAX are AirAsia's deputy chief executive officer Datuk Kamarudin Meranun and former chief financial officer Raja Mohd Azmi Raja Razali.

Kamarudin said AirAsia's board was deliberating the offer to take up the 20% stake and the option for another 10% in FAX.

Fernandes said fares for the new long-haul service to the UK would start from RM9.99, excluding surcharges and airport tax.

AirAsia X is finalising its aircraft requirements, which will either be the Boeing 777-300ER or Airbus 330-300. The Boeing 777-300ER will be able to make non-stop flights while the Airbus 330-300 will have to make technical stops on long-haul flights.

"The order we are looking at for AirAsia X is 20 new aircraft. We are targeting 500,000 passengers in the first year of operations," he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 5.

Fernandes owns 10% of FAX, while the other shareholders are AirAsia's deputy chief executive officer Datuk Kamarudin Meranun (50%) and AirAsia's former chief financial officer Raja Mohd Azmi Raja Razali (40%).

On news reports that AirAsia was in talks with the Virgin group and EasyGroup for possible alliances, Fernandes said: "I don't want to make any comment on that right now."

"There are many ideas; there are many thoughts; there are many discussions being held. But today, we want to focus on what we are talking about (the new service launch).

"We obviously have relationships with all those mentioned, but today it is about FAX. I do believe the timing of a low-cost world network is not very far away," said Fernandes.

EasyJet and Virgin Atlantic on Wednesday denied news reports that they were in discussions with AirAsia or FAX to form a global budget air travel alliance.

It was earlier speculated that Fernandes may team up with two other international personalities in the aviation industry - Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin group and Sir Stelios Haji-loannou of EasyGroup, the parent company of Britain's easyJet.

Earlier in his speech, Fernandes said AirAsia and AirAsia X would be operated separately, with him focusing on the former, while Raja Mohd Azmi would concentrate on FAX and the new service.

Raja Mohd Azmi, who is FAX chief executive officer, said FAX and AirAsia would remain two separate legal entities, each with its own operations.

"AirAsia's mandate is really to do short-haul. That is what they are good at. To mix it up will really (create) 'air complexity'.

"That is why we have two separate entities – one running long-haul. But we complement each other," he said.

Raja Mohd Azmi said FAX hoped to make profits from the long-haul flights within one to two years into operations.

"(FAX's cost) is 1.9 sen per ASK (available seat kilometre). AirAsia is talking about 2.2 sen to 2.5 sen per ASK.

"With 1.9 (sen), we think that we will be able to provide really low fares. That will provide the volume and therefore, we believe profitability will come not very far off."

Raja Mohd Azmi said the FAX's long-haul service would replicate AirAsia's model to enhance cost control, with similar brand and marketing strategies.

He said the service would include dual seating arrangements at different prices, with assigned seatings provided for the higher fares.

He said with the agreement to use AirAsia's brand name, website and uniforms, FAX would be able to save on its marketing costs.

Raja Mohd Azmi said the long-haul flights would not affect its existing operations of rural flights in Sabah and Sarawak, as these flights would have separate operations.

"They will be managed separately. Generally there will be separate people running it," he said.

He added that FAX would not channel the subsidies it received from the government for operating rural flights into the operations of the long-haul flights.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy, who was also present at the function, said FAX would initially be allowed to operate routes not offered by Malaysian Airline System Bhd.

"As far as the UK is concerned, Heathrow and Gatwick are out," he said. However, Chan said FAX had been given the nod to fly into Manchester. Last year MAS dropped its KL-Manchester route.

He said both FAX and MAS had roles to play to enhance the local tourism and aviation industries.

Chan added that while initially they would fly different routes, the government would later consider applications for same routes from both.

He said Malaysia Airports Holding Bhd was expected to submit a plan to the ministry on the expansion of the low cost carrier terminal at KLIA soon and would include parking space for wide-body aircraft.
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