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Old July 23rd, 2007, 03:17 PM   #801
ntly1
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Originally Posted by travellator View Post
Monday July 23, 2007

Virgin Group to take stake in Fly Asian Xpress

KUALA LUMPUR: Richard Branson's Virgin Group will sign an agreement next month to take a 20 percent stake in Fly Asian Xpress Sdn. Bhd., the new long-haul budget airline owned by the main shareholders of Malaysia's AirAsia, executives familiar with the plan said Monday.

Branson's Virgin Group Ltd. is scheduled to sign an agreement Aug. 10 to take the stake in FAX for about 24 million ringgit (US$6.9 million; euro5.0 million), pending approval from the Malaysia's Foreign Investment Committee, which oversees all foreign investments, one of the executives told Dow Jones Newswires.

AirAsia, the region's most prominent low-cost carrier, will exercise an option to buy just under 20 percent of FAX as well, the executive said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the negotiations.

FAX is presently 100 percent owned by AirAsia's founders, including its chief executive Tony Fernandes and deputy chief executive Kamarudin Meranun.

The fundraising will allow FAX to partially finance its operational expenses and buy new aircraft, another executive said.

On completion of the stake sale, FAX will have a paid-up capital of 120 million ringgit (US$34 million; euro25 million) and will mull an option to sell more shares to further strengthen its balance sheet, the executive said.

FAX, which plans to launch low-cost flights from Malaysia to India, China and Europe later this year, recently agreed to buy 15 wide-body A330-300 aircraft from Airbus, with the first new A330 to be delivered in the third-quarter of next year.

The airline has a 30-year license to use the AirAsia brand and facilities.

The airline is seen as a test of whether the highly successful low-cost airline model can be profitable on long-haul flights, which are dominated by full-service airlines. - AP
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Old July 24th, 2007, 02:54 PM   #802
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New low-cost carrier eyes Aussie destinations
July 24, 2007 - 4:32PM

New long-distance budget airline Air Asia X says it will announce its first Australian destination within days, and its promotional fares to London will be as low as $11.30.

The carrier - an offshoot of Asia's biggest low cost airline Air Asia - hopes to fly to Australia for its inaugural flight from its Kuala Lumpur base in September.

It expects to offer Australians standard fares 30 to 50 per cent cheaper than its competitors, to the Malaysian capital, and then a host of far flung places, including the UK, Middle East, India and China.

Air Asia X's new chief executive Azran Osman-Rani is in Australia this week holding final talks with airports around the country.

"This week is going to be key in terms of making some decisions and we may be in a position to announce our first destination in the next few days," Osman-Rani told AAP.

Air Asia X is eyeing Avalon, in Victoria, Adelaide, the Gold Coast and Newcastle for its first Australian destination, he said, adding the airline could expand to service "two or three" other destinations soon after its launch.

However, Newcastle was "unlikely" to be the airline's first Australian entry-point due to ongoing issues with the government.

"(Newcastle is) the key base for the Royal Australian Air Force, and it just means a lot more arrangements need to be put in place ... but we definitely remain interested and will (continue) discussions with the airport," Osman-Rani said.

He added: "I think one of the key factors is going to be the state of readiness of the airport, because some of these airports are going to need to be upgraded to accept international flights."

Air Asia X has leased one plane and is looking for a second, while it awaits its order of 15 new Airbus 330s, due to come on line late next year.

Osman-Rani said Australia would "very, very likely" be the airline's first destination, although discussions are also underway with two cities in China and one in India.

"Obviously Australia is appealing for us just from an operational simplicity, because it is an English-speaking market, it is also a market that is very used to low-cost travel and very internet savy," he said.

"Interestingly enough, Australians today are one of the top six nationalities that already use the Air Asia website.

"There is already a reasonable degree of familiarity with the brand, that makes the launch a lot easier here than say China."

Osman-Rani, who has been in the top job for just a few weeks, said the airline was trying to attract passengers who had never flown before with its low prices.

Promotional fares would include $US10 ($A11.30) flights to London on selected flights, but regular fares would still be significantly cheaper than full service carriers, he said.

"It would not be unreasonable to expect fares at 30 to 50 per cent lower than the average fares on full service carriers," he said.

The low fares were possible because of the airline's lower-cost model, its more frequent use of its planes and greater numbers of seats on the aircraft, he said.

"If you have got 100 more seats on a plane and that plane travels 40 per cent more frequently, that creates a much bigger revenue base on the same aircraft cost," Osman-Rani said.

AAP
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Old July 27th, 2007, 11:03 AM   #803
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photo from malaysiawings.com

AIRASIA X (Airbus A330-300)
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Old July 27th, 2007, 05:06 PM   #804
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WOW so the 15 planes are now ready ??? KL really needs a HUGE low-cost-terminal now !
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Old July 28th, 2007, 07:38 PM   #805
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no, the new 15 planes will only be arrived from next year. First two planes are under lease...
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Old July 29th, 2007, 11:33 AM   #806
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Malaysia's AirAsia X sees 2009 breakeven-paper
Updated : 28-07-2007


KUALA LUMPUR, July 28 (Reuters) - Fly Asian Xpress, owner of Malaysia's first long-haul budget airline AirAsia X, expects the carrier to break even by 2009, chief Azran Osman-Rani said in an interview with the Edge newspaper on Saturday.

The firm, a sister to fast-growing budget carrier AirAsia Bhd (AIRA.KL: Quote, Profile , Research), has ordered 15 new Airbus A330-300 (EAD.PA: Quote, Profile , Research) aircraft, the first to be delivered in time for a September launch, and has options on 10 more, the paper said quoted Osman-Rani as saying.

AirAsia X, co-founded by AirAsia chief Tony Fernandes and slated to start flying out of the Malaysian capital in September, initially to Australia, should be cashflow-positive within a year, the paper reported.

AirAxia X will eventually fly to China, India, the Middle East, the United Kingdom and Europe, the paper said.
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Old July 30th, 2007, 05:49 AM   #807
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That AirAsia A330 looks pretty good. Knowing that AirAsia is a low cost Airline like RyanAir or Southwest seeing this makes me think of a Southwest Airlines or RyanAir Boeing 767 (or 787).
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Old July 30th, 2007, 06:42 AM   #808
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MAS Wins 'World's Best Cabin Staff' Award

KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 (Bernama) -- With its excellent passenger support services, national carrier Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has won the 'World's Best Cabin Staff'award at the World Airlines Award 2007 held recently.

MAS took the top position in the 11-month survey conducted by Skytrax Research, a London based airline research organisation between August 2006 and June 2007.

MAS chief executive officer Datuk Idris Jala said he was very proud of the cabin crew for their outstanding performances and their demonstration of the best of Malaysian hospitality.

Apart from the on-board customer experience, the survey also looked at the "soft service" by the cabin staff including friendliness, enthusiasm, attentiveness, sincerity, consistency and efficiency in service delivery, said MAS in a statement here.

The worldwide survey data for the award involved three million respondents representing 90 different passenger nationalities who nominated their chosen airlines based on their on-board experiences.

--BERNAMA
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Old July 31st, 2007, 08:02 AM   #809
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Given Branson has a 20% stake why doesn't he rename the airline Virgin Asia (providing SIA allows the use of the Virgin name) or VAAX?
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Old July 31st, 2007, 09:14 AM   #810
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Air Asia is already a strong brand name so there's no need to change that. If he wants the airline to be branded under his Virgin underpants his former protege Tony Fernandes would have not allowed it.
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Old July 31st, 2007, 09:25 AM   #811
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Old July 31st, 2007, 03:15 PM   #812
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cal_t View Post
Given Branson has a 20% stake why doesn't he rename the airline Virgin Asia (providing SIA allows the use of the Virgin name) or VAAX?
May be Branson just has 20% and not 50% or 51% or not more ! cheers !
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Old July 31st, 2007, 03:21 PM   #813
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Asia’s best low-cost airline

SEPANG: AirAsia was named the Best Low-Cost airline in the Asia 2007 regional worldwide category by Skytrax Research of London, the world’s most popular, independent travel forum and air travel information website.

From operating only with two Boeing 737-300s in 2002, AirAsia now has a fleet of 56 aircraft serving more than 75 domestic and international routes to Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Macau and parts of China.

Group CEO of the airline, Datuk Tony Fernandes said: “It is an honour to receive this accolade. To be known as one of the best in the Asian region in only five years is an astounding success story.”
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 10:34 AM   #814
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August 03, 2007 10:58 AM

AirAsia Sponsor English Referees

From Zulhilmi Supaat

MANCHESTER, August 3 (Bernama) -- After two fruitful years sponsoring the English outfit, Manchester United, AirAsia, the leading and largest low-cost carrier in Asia, on Thursday extended its cooperation with the English League by becoming the official sponsor for Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL).

AirAsia's deputy group chief executive officer Datuk Kamarudin Meranun said the exclusive deal with PGMOL -- the body representing all the professional football referees in England -- was for three years.

He, however, did not want to disclose the allocation for the sponsorship.

"AirAsia prides itself on a reputation for reliability and dependability and all these qualities are reflected in the work of the PGMOL and its referees whose dedication and commitment to fair play are crucial to the success of English football.

"This sponsorship will see the AirAsia brand being associated with top notch professionalism and the spirit of good sportsmanship with the aim of reaching out to a bigger audience and elevating the brand to greater heights," he said.

Kamarudin earlier signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between AirAsia and PGMOL at Manchester United's official training ground at Carrington Training Centre, about 20km from the city centre.

PGMOL general manager Keith Hackett signed on behalf of the association, which was established in 2001 and is responsible for training, developing and monitoring an elite group of 19 referees and 50 assistant referees, as well as the national list of 57 referees and 182 assistant referees.

Kamarudin said the AirAsia logo would appear on the sleeves of all referees officiating the matches, including Barclays Premiership, the Coca-Cola Football League, the Carling Cup, the FA Cup, the FA Vase and Johnsons Paint Trophy. AirAsia branding will also appear on all the referees' kits and training wear.

"The AirAsia logo will appear on the referee's sleeves for the first time at the Community Shield match this Sunday, between Manchester United and Chelsea.

"One of our brand strategies is to promote our brand overseas and to reach people via sports marketing and PGMOL provides an ideal platform.

"With nearly 50 matches being played every week and an average audience of nearly 100 million viewers every week across 200 territories, this sponsorship is certainly a powerful global branding tool for AirAsia in enhancing our brand awareness," he said.

Meanwhile, Hacket said the association was thrilled to have AirAsia as a sponsor.

"AirAsia's involvement will enable PGMOL to continue to improve our training methods, our investigations of new technology and our development of up-and-coming referees to ensure that the standard of refereeing in England remains one of the best in the world," he said.

On the renewal of sponsorship with the Manchester United team, which is due in two weeks, Kamaruddin said AirAsia was dealing with the English Champion.

"Both parties were happy with the cooperation and I'm sure AirAsia will renew the contract for the third year since signing it in 2005," he said.

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Old August 5th, 2007, 03:38 AM   #815
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Easier for disabled to fly AirAsia soon
Sunday August 5, 2007
By V.P. SUJATA

SEPANG: Low-cost carrier AirAsia will spend RM6mil to provide ambulifts and aisle chairs for wheelchair-bound passengers.

The new facilities are expected to be ready in three months and there will be no additional cost to disabled passengers.

The carrier has also gone one step further by promising to hire disabled people to provide services to disabled passengers, as they would understand their needs better. Also in the works are disabled call centres via its website.

These are some of the carrier’s immediate plans in response to protests by the disabled about inadequate facilities.

AirAsia chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes said the carrier initially wanted Malaysia Airports Bhd (MAB) to provide the facilities but decided later that the carrier could do it on its own for the sake of its loyal passengers.

Discussions with MAB led to nowhere, he said, but solutions were found after discussions with members of Barrier-Free Environment And Accessible Transport Group (BEAT), a coalition of 18 non-governmental organisations for the disabled which led the protest last month.

The ambulifts will be placed at the carrier’s hub here and another in Kota Kinabalu. Prior to this, the carrier’s staff had to physically carry disabled people on board.

Aisle wheelchairs will be used to push disabled passengers to their seats.

Fernandes said that BEAT had offered to train AirAsia cabin crew and call centre staff to handle disabled guests.

He said seven disabled people would be employed as guest service officers and to help man disabled call centres.

For totally immobile passengers, he said facilities were inadequate but assured them that in emergencies, AirAsia engineers would be called in to remove some seats to enable the passenger to lie flat.

BEAT co-ordinator Christine Lee said AirAsia’s move benefited the disabled as well as the carrier because families with disabled members previously had to choose other airlines due to the lack of facilities.

She thanked Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy for his immediate attention and intervention in the matter.

Describing Fernandes as a “CEO with a difference”, Lee said AirAsia admitted its fault and resolved the matter very fast.

She said the disabled community would extend its support to the low-cost carrier.
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Old August 5th, 2007, 09:18 PM   #816
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Tony Fernandes sayd, to a newspaper in Portugal, that their thinking adding Portugal in their list. It can be Faro or Porto, because Lisbon is too expensive!

I think they would do it to Porto, because is better served than Faro (Faro is almost only a charter airport, because of the English, Germans, etc that want to make holidays there.)

What do you all think?

Regards!
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Old August 6th, 2007, 07:35 AM   #817
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i think it bodes well because they made it clear they wont fly into major airport which charge high landing fees. They will likely to fly into secondary airport. Less crowded and cheaper charges. But i think Faro/Portugal destinations will only viable after 2-3 years of operation. For time being they will only concentrate on closer destinations such as India, China and profitable European route. I'm not saying Faro will not be profitable but mostly they will fly into countries that are popular among Malaysian.
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Old August 6th, 2007, 11:21 AM   #818
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AirAsia wants to be more profitable than SIA

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KUALA LUMPUR: Low-cost carrier AirAsia Bhd, which expects its passenger volume to surpass that of Singapore Airlines (SIA) by next year, is now aiming to beat the Singaporean national carrier in terms of profitability.

AirAsia group chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes said SIA had done a fantastic job but AirAsia can be just as well respected and bigger than its competitor from the neighbouring country.

“They (SIA) have been around for 36 years. We have been around for five. Give us some time. We are certainly after them,” he told reporters after giving a talk on corporate challenges for the young Malaysians at the first annual Malaysian Student Leaders Summit here on Saturday.

Fernandes said AirAsia was expecting its passenger volume to hit 18 million per annum next year while SIA was only carrying about 17 million passengers currently.

In his speech earlier, Fernandes said Malaysia was the land of the possible and urged Malaysian student leaders to “believe the unbelievable, dream the impossible and don’t take no for an answer”.

He illustrated the story of how AirAsia grew from a small company into one with a market capitalisation of RM4.67 billion, and it started from a vision that he had after quitting his corporate job in the music industry.

“We are our own worst enemy if we say certain things cannot be done,” Fernandes said, and declared that his current mission in life was to propel AirAsia ahead of SIA.

On AirAsia’s bid to get landing rights in Singapore, he jokingly said: “If they don’t give us KL-Singapore (route), I will buy Singapore Airlines. If they do give us, we will be in Changi and terrorise the Singaporeans.”

Elaborating on this later, Fernandes said Malaysians must get rid of the inferior complex that Singaporeans are better.

“We are as good as them, if not better. People may laugh at me for saying that I want to be bigger than Singapore Airlines. But hey, passenger-wise we are. So, profitability-wise we will go for it,” he added.

Fernandes also said AirAsia was not only concerned with profits but would improve its service quality by looking into matters such as refunding passengers if a flight delay occurs.
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Old August 7th, 2007, 08:14 AM   #819
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MAS Cabin Crew





















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Old August 7th, 2007, 11:57 AM   #820
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Virgin's Branson to form alliance with AirAsia for long-haul ops

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Asian low-cost airline pioneer Tony Fernandes looks set to score a major coup with British businessman Richard Branson coming on board to help get his struggling, high-risk long-haul venture off the ground, analysts said Tuesday.

Branson of Virgin Group is to take a 20 percent stake in Malaysia's AirAsia long-haul budget carrier, a report said.

AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes declined comment on the report even as the company said it would be making a major announcement on Friday.

"I am not saying anything," Fernandes told AFP.

In a separate statement, however, the company said long-haul operator "AirAsia X will be making a major announcement (Friday) involving a strategic global investor. We promise you it will be a memorable one."

The Star daily earlier cited an industry source as saying that "selling of the 20 percent stake is the first round of funding required by the airline to kick-start operations and partly pay for the 15 aircraft that have been ordered."

Branson, via the Virgin Group, would take the stake in Fly Asian Xpress Sdn Bhd (FAX), the long-haul operator. With the stake sale, FAX should be capitalised at 30 million dollars, the report said.

Branson is expected to attend the signing ceremony.

Shukor Yusof, aviation analyst with Standard and Poor's in Singapore described Branson's entry as a "coup for Fernandes."

"If the deal happens, it will provide vital funds for the long-haul carrier to take-off," he said.

Shukor said the task now for Fernandes was to put the plans in place and start flying after a three-month delay.

Peter Harbison, executive director with the Sydney-based Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, said the deal would have a major impact on the industry.

"Branson's involvement is good for Fernandes. It gives credibility to AirAsia's long-haul carrier. It gives passengers a lot of connectivity to European routes," he told AFP.

Harbison said long-haul travellers would stand to gain by cheap fares and its aggressive pricing strategy will spark competition among airlines.

"It will create a lot of competition among all the airlines," he said.

Harbison discounted critics who say the short-haul business plan cannot simply be scaled up to long-haul.

"Fernandes has the skills to make the plan succeed. The carrier has good strategies, good management and cheap prices," he said.

Fernandes, who holds 50 percent of FAX, and his deputy Kamarudin Meranum with 30 percent, are expected to sell some of their shares to Branson, the founder of Virgin Group.

FAX has 15 widebody A330-300 airliners on order from Airbus, the European manufacturer.

It is scheduled to begin long-haul flights to China and Australia September 8, using three leased planes, from the low-cost carrier terminal at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

At its launch in January, the carrier had promised budget flights to Britain beginning in July.

Fernandes launched AirAsia as a pioneering regional budget carrier in December, 2001, with just two aircraft. It now serves domestic and international routes throughout the region.

AirAsia shares were little changed in morning trade, adding just 0.01 to 1.92 ringgit (0.58 dollars) in early trade.
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