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Old October 16th, 2007, 06:26 AM   #901
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Kuala Lumpur - Gold Goast

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Old October 17th, 2007, 05:18 PM   #902
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Jakarta - Bangkok: Indonesia AirAsia New Route

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Old October 18th, 2007, 01:11 AM   #903
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Phuket - Singapore : Thai AirAsia New Route

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Old October 18th, 2007, 07:33 AM   #904
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Johor Bahru - Jakarta

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Old October 20th, 2007, 06:26 PM   #905
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 05:49 AM   #906
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MASkargo to start services to Baltic States by year-end
By Presenna Nambiar
October 22 2007


Quote:
The cargo arm of Malaysia Airlines will immediately start its operations once the Cargo Account Settlement System is implemented in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
MALAYSIA Airlines Cargo Sdn Bhd (MASkargo), the cargo arm of Malaysia Airlines (MAS), plans to launch freighter services to the Baltic States namely Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania by the end of this year, says its Scandanavian general sales agent.

Nordic Asia Pacific cargo manager Magnus Idris Sparredal said MASkargo has established an office in the Baltic States in anticipation of the launch of its operations there.

"We are awaiting the implementation of the Cargo Account Settlement System (CASS) in those countries. Once that is done, probably in a month or two, we will immediately start our operations," Magnus told Business Times in Kuala Lumpur.

CASS is not compulsory, but it provides a certain amount of security to the airline when it comes to securing payment from freight forwarders.

MASkargo's Scandanavian operations currently cover countries such as Norway, Sweden and Finland, using both its own freighters and the bellyhold of MAS' passenger aircraft.

Magnus said the sector sees a 50 to 60 per cent jump in cargo volume this year, compared with last year's volume of 3 million kg.

The Scandanavian operations load cargo for MAS' six-weekly passenger flights out of Stockholm and for cargo flights out of Amsterdam and Frankfurt.

MASkargo's average freight load factor is some 80 per cent.

Magnus said he does not expect to see further growth in volume as there is limited capacity for cargo on the carrier's passenger flights, but instead will focus on filling up its freighters that fly out of Amsterdam and Frankfurt.

He added that in the past one year, filling up the bellyhold of MAS' passenger flights had been the company's priority.

Most of the cargo coming out of Sweden and Finland are machinery and electronic parts for the telecommunications industry.
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Old October 23rd, 2007, 07:30 PM   #907
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Indonesian budget airlines to take flight in 2008

Indonesian budget airlines to take flight in 2008
Oct 23, 07 | 10:47 am



BY Stéphane Hanot l eTN Asia/Pacific Staff writer
While Indonesia's aviation record is under scrutiny over recent plane crashes, the country's budget airlines are looking at expanding overseas. Next year might see a shift in the development of Indonesian carriers. Until now, airlines emphasis has been on domestic developments with traffic soaring from less than 8 million passengers in 2000 to 34 million last year. So far, most of the budget carriers offer only one or two daily flights to Singapore or Malaysia.



As countries in Southeast Asia move towards an open sky policy from 2009 and with the possible abolition of the fiscal tax on overseas travels for Indonesian citizens, Indonesian airlines have started to position themselves on international destinations. Flying to neighboring countries should not be a problem as Indonesia has fairly liberal air agreements with its neighbors.

Indonesia AirAsia is the first to move forward. The airline already flies to Kuala Lumpur and has just launched flights from Jakarta and Palembang to Johor Bahru, near the Singapore border.

In an unexpected move, Indonesia AirAsia is to launch a daily flight between Jakarta and Bangkok by November 1st. Thai Airways recently added a second daily flight to Jakarta and competition will now be tough on fares. Promotional fares on Jakarta-Bangkok are currently sold at US$98 a return (including taxes), a real bargain compared to the cheapest fares offered by both Garuda (US$310) or Thai Airways (US$370).

Indonesia AirAsia also has to begin service to Penang and Macau in a near future.

Another airline actively planning its international development is Lion Air. With the accelerated delivery of some of its 122 ordered Boeing 737-900 ER, the Indonesian carrier is expectedly setting its focus on venturing abroad. “We plan to launch during the first quarter of 2008 new flights to Hong Kong from Jakarta and Surabaya as well as flights on the Jakarta-Bali-Perth route,” declared Lion Air communications director Hasyim Arsal Alhabsi. “During the second quarter, we want to start flights to India from Jakarta via Medan and plans to serve Bangkok from Jakarta as well as Singapore from Medan and Surabaya.”

Another Indonesian carrier looking to expand outside Indonesia is Mandala Air. Managed by the US group Indigo Partners, the company has transformed itself from a legacy into a budget airline. According to the airline spokesman Alexius Widjojo, Mandala will launch before the end of the year round trips from Jakarta to Penang and Singapore.
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Old October 23rd, 2007, 07:50 PM   #908
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Vina AirAsia can’t get gov’t nod on budget airline

Vina AirAsia can’t get gov’t nod on budget airline
16:58 23/10/2007
VietNamNet Bridge – The information that Vinashin and Air Asia signed a MOU on establishing a joint venture budget airline, Vina AirAsia, several days ago caused a stir among the public. However, in the latest happening, the project has been refused by the government.



Domestic airlines don’t welcome newcomers




Vietnam Airlines is 100% state owned
Some people say that domestic airlines, including Vietnam Airlines and Pacific Airlines, did not ‘play fair’ by lodging a proposal to the government not to licence Vina Air Asia.



The two partners planned to form up a budget airline in Vietnam with the legal capital of $30mil.



It is worthy to note that Air Asia once intended to make investment in Pacific Airlines, but the two sides could not reach an agreement. According to Luong Hoai Nam, Chief Executive Officer of Pacific Airlines, the 30% of capital Air Asia intended to contribute to Pacific Airlines comprised two parts, tangible and intangible, while the intangible assets proved to be very difficult to be valued.



If not counting the intangible assets Air Asia planned to contribute to Pacific Airlines, the price the Malaysian partner planned to pay for Pacific Airlines’ stakes was too low compared to that offered by other foreign investors, including Qantas.



Meanwhile, Qantas demanded that Vietnam would not licence any new airline for three years after the air carrier made investment in Pacific Airlines.



Vietnam Airlines’ Director General and Chairman Nguyen Sy Hung told the press yesterday that the national air carrier protested the joint venture project because “Vietnam should not be so easy on issues relating to commercial freedom.”



Mr Hung said that Vietnam Airlines itself still cannot get the right to fly from Beijing to Moscow though it applied for that a long time ago. The US, the author of the ‘open sky’ policy, does not allow foreign airlines to fly domestic routes due to security problems.



Air Asia to corner domestic aviation market?



Air Asia entered Malaysia in 2001, and the airline began competing fiercely with Malaysia Airlines in 2005, making the domestic airline incur heavy losses of $500mil in the same year, and pushing the airline to the verge of bankruptcy. The government of Malaysia had to restructure Malaysia Airlines and narrow its production scale by cutting 23 international routes (110 to 87).



Meanwhile, in dispatch No 2337 of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam sent to the Ministry of Transport, Deputy Head Luu Thanh Binh suggested that Vietnam prioritise licencing domestic owned airlines, while not allowing foreign invested airlines to set up at this moment.



Experts say that it is necessary to consider thoroughly the possible influences of a new airline on the domestic aviation market.



In another happening, Geoff Dixon, Chief Executive Officer of Australia’s Qantas, said directly to Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung that Qantas needed more time to restructure Pacific Airlines.



Duc Hanh
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Old October 24th, 2007, 07:53 PM   #909
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AirAsia's new route: Kuching - Macau



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Old October 24th, 2007, 08:24 PM   #910
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http://http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific_business/view/307589/1/.html

Malaysia approves AirAsia flights to Singapore: report
Posted: 25 October 2007 0023 hrs

KUALA LUMPUR : Malaysia's cabinet has reportedly given in-principle approval to Malaysian budget airline AirAsia to start flights to Singapore.

According to a media report, it said the move could take effect late this year or by the end of the first quarter of 2008.

The move will liberalise lucrative routes dominated for decades by Malaysia Airline System and Singapore Airlines.

The report said the two governments would have to work out the formalities.

It added that a bilateral meeting on the issue is expected in the coming weeks. - CNA
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Old October 25th, 2007, 04:15 AM   #911
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AirAisia gets the nod for flights to Singapore
Thursday October 25, 2007
By WONG SAI WAN


PETALING JAYA: Now everyone can fly cheap to Singapore. AirAsia got the nod from the Government yesterday to operate two flights daily to the republic.

It is learnt that the Cabinet gave the nod at its weekly meeting. This decision comes a few days after Singapore's Transport Ministry said that it was keen to see further liberalisation of the air services agreement with Malaysia.

According to sources, Tiger Airways, Singapore’s own budget airline, would also be offered to fly the same route.

“This means that travellers will have a choice of not only one low-cost carrier to Singapore but two. This will surely spark a price war,” an aviation analyst commented.

On average, MAS flies seven shuttle flights a day to Singapore while SIA does it six times daily.

For the shuttle service, which is jointly operated by the two airlines, the price of a one-way ticket is RM167 while an economy non-shuttle one is RM266. Airport tax and surcharges cost RM140.

AirAsia and Tiger Airways are expected to charge about 30% of the non-shuttle fare but will have the usual cheap offers for limited seats. The two low-cost carriers will operate the route between the LCCT at KLIA and the Budget Terminal at Changi Airport.

It was learnt that AirAsia and Tiger Airways would only be allowed to operate the two flights each on off-peak hours. Sources expected the two carriers to start operations in January.

The analyst said the decision would be a big boost to the two airlines as Singapore and Malaysia were two popular international hubs aimed at different markets.

“The cheaper 40-minute flight between KLIA and Changi airports will mean more international passengers stopping in Singapore or Kuala Lumpur to make the extra hop to either place.

“AirAsia will benefit more than Tiger Airways because of the regional connections it already has. Couple that with the coming of AirAsia X, they will be able to even pull long-haul passengers from Singapore,” he added.

AirAsia chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes could not be contacted for comment. AirAsia officials said he had flown to Singapore.

Fernandes had been vocal about the reluctance of the two governments to allow budget airlines to operate between the two countries ahead of the Asean open skies agreement, which will come into force in 2009.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 04:16 AM   #912
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AirAsia set to fly to Singapore from four cities
2007/10/25 By Deborah Loh and Farrah Naz


KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia has been given the green light to operate two daily flights each from Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching to Singapore, taking the country a step further towards becoming the region's premier hub for low-cost travel.

Sources said the cabinet agreed yesterday to open the routes to budget airlines from the two countries under a reciprocal arrangement, starting in December or January once the logistics are sorted out.

The new routes will expand AirAsia's connectivity to more than 80 destinations across the continent, and provide additional connections for its sister airline AirAsia X, which is due to fly to Australia's Gold Coast on Nov 2, to Guangzhou, China at the end of the year, and to Melbourne and London next year.

Prices for the Singapore flights are expected to start at RM9.90 for return trips.

Contacted yesterday, AirAsia chief executive Datuk Tony Fernandes said: "I'm in Singapore. I am not aware of the decision."
Currently, the lucrative Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route is exclusively served by Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines, which together fly 20 times a day between the two cities.

In line with the Asean Open Sky Policy, scheduled to take off on Jan 1, 2009, both Malaysia and Singapore have, since last year, been in talks to liberalise their air space to further boost travel and tourism between the two countries.

AirAsia and Tiger Airways have expressed keen interest to operate the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route and want it liberalised sooner.

Fernandes has been one of the most consistent proponents of an open skies policy between Malaysia and Singapore, saying it will help turn Malaysia into a regional low-cost carrier hub and channel some of the tourist traffic from Changi International Airport to KL International Airport in Sepang.

The sources yesterday agreed that the cabinet's move was in line with the country's ambitions in tourism and the low-cost travel sector.

However, discussions to expedite the open skies pact have been put on hold, due largely to concern that the move could interfere with MAS' business turnaround plan.

MAS had opposed the move, saying it needs more time to execute its recovery and that Malaysia and Singapore should adhere to the original timeline for liberalisation.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy could not be reached to comment on the cabinet decision.

However, it is understood that the cabinet had asked that talks with Singapore on matters surrounding the new development should be held immediately.

Singapore had expressed hopes of a liberalisation of the Air Service Agreement with Malaysia to allow carriers from both nations, including budget airlines, to cover more routes than just Kuala Lumpur-Singapore.

Its Transport Ministry has said that apart from the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur route, its government was also keen to expand the sky pact to other major cities in Malaysia.

The Singapore government believes that a more liberal air services agreement between Singapore and Malaysia would be mutually beneficial as it would enhance trade, investment and tourism flows between the two countries.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 03:21 PM   #913
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Vientiane



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Old October 25th, 2007, 06:05 PM   #914
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Thai Airasia launches Airbus A320 in Chiang Mai

Thai Airasia launches Airbus A320 in Chiang Mai

CHIANG MAI, Oct 25 (TNA) โ€“ Thai Airasia has rolled out its first new aircraft, an Airbus A320 jetliner, signaling its determination to win a larger share of the region's budget travelers, and the company plans also to open new domestic and international routes in the coming year.

The new aircraft A320 flew from Bangkok to the northern province of Chiang Mai on its inaugural flight, with media on board, on Wednesday.

The company ordered 40 new aircraft to join its fleet lineup during the next six years.

Tassapon Bijleveld, chief executive of Thai Airasia, said the new and upgraded fleet will restore confidence among passengers who are concerned about the safety of budget airlines. The new aircraft is expected to elicit a good response from passengers of the economy carrier.

He said he is confident that the aviation industry will grow by 10-15 per cent next year as Thailand's political uncertainty disappears following the general election December 23.

Thailand's economy and tourism are expected to improve after the election as well.

Thai Airasia plans also to open a new domestic route to Ranong as the province has the potential for tourism development. Regarding international routes, it will launch new flights to Chinese destinations including Guangzhou, Qongqing, Chengdu, Guilin, Shenzhen, and Hainan as well as to Indonesia's Jakarta.

Cabin occupancy is expected to increase to over 80 per cent next year from 78 per cent this year, he added. (TNA)-E004
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Old October 27th, 2007, 02:14 PM   #915
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AirAsia to fly KL-S'pore as early as Dec
by Gan Yen Kuan & Lim Shie-Lynn, 26 Oct 2007 11:48 PM


KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia hopes to start operating the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route by December after the government confirmed yesterday that the budget airline is allowed to fly the route twice daily.

The budget airline is already eyeing 20 flights a day to Singapore once the Asean Open Sky Policy comes into effect in January 2009.

Its group chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes said AirAsia hoped to obtain the rights of flying to Singapore by December, and would immediately start operating the KL-Singapore route when it had the black-and-white.
“As soon as we get the bilateral rights, we are ready to go,” he said at a press conference in Petaling Jaya last night.

Earlier in the day, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said the government would officially propose to the Singapore government on the limited opening of the KL-Singapore route to low-cost carriers at the Asean Transport Ministers Meeting to be held in Singapore from Oct 29 to Nov 3.

Chan said he expected negotiations between the two governments on the matter to begin next month.

“We are not doing an open sky (agreement) with Singapore. This is only to allow two flights for the low-cost carriers from both countries.

“This is a bilateral issue. Malaysia cannot make a unilateral decision. I will be formally conveying this decision of the Malaysian government to my counterpart in Singapore. Subsequently, you can expect some aviation negotiations between the two governments,” he said.

Yesterday morning, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi confirmed that the Cabinet had decided in its meeting on Wednesday to allow AirAsia to fly to Singapore from Kuala Lumpur twice daily.

As a reciprocal act, Chan said Malaysia would allow two flights a day by Tiger Airways Pte Ltd into Kuala Lumpur. He was speaking to reporters after inspecting the set-up of the Bukit Jalil national stadium for the upcoming 50th Merdeka Anniversary Cultural and Arts Performance.

He said the government’s nod for AirAsia to fly to Singapore was to strengthen Kuala Lumpur International Airport’s (KLIA) position as the leading low-cost carrier hub in Asia.

He said the Cabinet had permitted AirAsia to fly out of the low-cost carrier terminal in Sepang, but had yet to make a decision on whether the low-cost carrier could also operate out of other airports to Singapore.

On the impact on Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS), Chan said: “I wouldn’t want to go into details. The government’s decision is to further enhance KL’s position as a low-cost hub. That is in the interest of the country.”

He added that the government had considered MAS’ interest by limiting the number of KL-Singapore flights to be operated by AirAsia to only two times a day.

In last night’s press conference, Fernandes said the KL-Singapore route would be a significant contributor to its bottom line next year, and would also strengthen AirAsia X, its low-cost long-haul carrier.

“It will be a good contributor to our bottom line given that KL-Singapore is obviously a very lucrative route. I believe one day (when open sky agreement comes into effect) we could be doing 20 flights a day,” he said.

News of AirAsia being given the KL-Singapore route saw its share price hit a five-month high to close at RM2.10 yesterday, up 11 sen from Wednesday, with 16.29 million shares done.

Fernandes said it had yet to decide on the fare it would offer, citing only the fare of AirAsia’s KL-Johor Bahru return trip of RM60 as reference. He added that the fare of flying to Singapore would depend on which terminal of the Changi International Airport it would land.

He said the KL-Singapore route would not affect the performance of its existing KL-Johor Bahru route, as the two were targeting at different market segments.

Fernandes said the government’s nod for AirAsia to fly to Singapore before the full liberalisation of the region’s aviation industry in January 2009 would make KLIA the largest and best low-cost carrier hub in the region.

“I firmly believe that no one will lose; everyone is going to win. It’s not about MAS or AirAsia. It’s about Malaysia; it’s about building a much stronger regional hub, a much stronger Asean.

“The government is pretty clear that no one is going to get hurt by this. I think with the business turnaround plan, MAS has got better. MAS said it was not able to make money in domestic routes since AirAsia came along but it has made money domestically.”

“So the argument that one party is going to lose is not the case. Both are going to win and I think the government wants to see two national champions,” he said.

AirAsia has long been asking for the KL-Singapore route. Fernandes said it also hoped to get the permission to fly to Singapore out of Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and Penang before 2009.

AirAsia has a firm order of 150 Airbus A320 planes, with an option on another 50. Fernandes said it would exercise the option for 25 planes, partly to serve the KL-Singapore route.

On a separate matter, Fernandes denied news reports on its Vietnamese joint venture Vina AirAsia’s failure in getting a licence from the Vietnamese government to operate in the country.

“As of today, we have not received any directive or official statement from any Vietnamese authorities. As far as AirAsia is concerned, we are on track with the business proposal.

“The progress has been positive and both parties are making necessary arrangements to finalise the proposal,” he said.

AirAsia signed a letter of intent with Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group (Vinashin) on Aug 31 to establish Vina AirAsia to set up its low-cost carrier in Vietnam.
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Old October 28th, 2007, 03:10 AM   #916
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Thai AirAsia focusing on trunk routes and cutting money losers

Thai AirAsia focusing on trunk routes and cutting money losers
BOONSONG KOSITCHOTETHANA

The no-frills carrier Thai AirAsia (TAA) this week started to rationalise its network by dropping loss-ridden routes, increasing frequency on trunk routes and betting on new destinations. This week, TAA began service between Bangkok and Langkawi in Malaysia, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Khon Kaen where it has struggled to fill seats since opening service earlier this year.

But in the immediate future, the Malaysia-based carrier is embarking on three new routes: Phuket-Singapore, Bangkok-Ranong and Bangkok-Jakarta, said TAA chief executive Tassapon Bijleveld. AirAsia is Southeast Asia's largest low-cost carrier.


Staff pose with the airline's first A320 at Suvarnabhumi Airport. With a range of 5,700 km, the plane will help it add more regional routes.

The airline is also stepping up flights on its existing network, particularly trunk routes, such as Bangkok to Phuket and Chiang Mai and Shenzhen in China. It hopes that the move will help it to tap high-season traffic that starts next month.

Mr Tassapon revealed the new flight plan for the first 40 A320 jetliners scheduled to enter into service tomorrow.

The company also said that daily service to Khon Kaen and Nakhon Si Thammarat that started in August would cease today.

AirAsia will start a daily Phuket-Singapore flight on Nov 5, introducing Bangkok-Ranong in mid-November at three times a week, and daily Bangkok-Jakarta flights in December.

The airline is adding an additional daily flight from Bangkok to Shenzhen, two more daily flights on Bangkok-Phuket and three more flights on Bangkok-Chiang Mai.

TAA is also planning to start offering regular service from Bangkok to Kathmandu in the next 12-18 months, said Mr Tassapon.

Next year, the airline hopes to start service to five other Chinese cities including Kuilin, Chengdu and Chongqing in a major move to ramp up its Chinese coverage. The company already has had routes to Macao, Xiamen and Shenzhen since July.

The network expansion would be supported by the delivery of an additional A320 that can seat 180 passengers and fly up to 5,700 km.

The second A320 is due in November, the third in December, and three more in February, July and August next year.

The remaining 40 A320s would be delivered over three years at the rate of six units a year.
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Old October 28th, 2007, 05:21 AM   #917
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Thai AirAsia scraps route

Thai AirAsia scraps route

Thai AirAsia is cancelling its unprofitable Bangkok-Langkawi route, replacing it with an additional daily flight to Kuala Lumpur as it plans to expand to Dhaka in Bangladesh and Kathmandu in Nepal, according to chief executive officer Tasapon Bijleveld.

He said the Langkawi destination, which had a load factor of less than 50%, would see its last flight on Saturday.

Tasapon said Thai AirAsia would increase its daily flights to Kuala Lumpur from Bangkok to three daily in December, besides the four operated by its parent company, AirAsia Bhd.


“The Kuala Lumpur-Bangkok route has a very good load factor, sometimes up to 90%. With more frequencies, we can offer more seats and make the tickets cheaper,” he told reporters on a media tour here on board the airline’s first Airbus 320 which arrived from France last week.

Besides Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi, Thai AirAsia, which has 11 domestic and 11 international destinations, is also flying to Penang in Malaysia while the Kota Kinabalu route is served by AirAsia.

Tasapon also said Thai AirAsia planned to fly to Kathmandu and Dhaka within 12 to 15 months, depending on the approvals by the aviation bodies and governments of the two countries.

“With our new Airbus, we can actually fly up to six to eight hours. But we prefer to keep to our low cost model and look at destinations within three and a half hours for quick turnaround time,” he said.

As part of its expansion plan, Tasapon said, the airline also planned to fly to Jakarta and Hong Kong in the coming months, as well as adding five more destinations in China, including Ghuangzhou.

“China is a very big market and with its open sky policy, we can add more destinations. Our current load factor is between 75% and 78%,” he added.

Asked if Thai AirAsia will increase the fuel surcharge due to the high oil price of almost US$90 per barrel, Tasapon said this was unlikely as it would affect the low cost pricing structure and make travelling more expensive.
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Old October 29th, 2007, 04:53 AM   #918
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AirAsia to Start Daily Kuala Lumpur-Singapore Flights
Updated : 25-10-2007
Media : Bloomberg
Story By : Soraya Permatasari


Oct. 25 (Bloomberg) -- AirAsia Bhd., Southeast Asia's largest low-cost airline, plans to start daily trips from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore at less than a third of current prices once the two governments reach an accord on flights.

``As soon as we get the go-ahead, we are ready to roll,'' AirAsia Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes told reporters today in Kuala Lumpur. ``I am led to believe that'' a bilateral agreement between Malaysia and Singapore ``will happen in the next few weeks.''

He expects to start the daily flights in December or January. The carrier may order new planes from Airbus SAS for the Singapore flights, Fernandes said.

AirAsia and Tiger Airways Pte won Malaysia's approval to start flights between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told reporters today. The two countries had agreed to liberalize the route by 2009 as part of a wider Southeast Asian agreement.

``Our fares will be very aggressive,'' Fernandes said. ``Probably less than a third'' of the normal fares.

The decision will enable Malaysia's AirAsia and other budget carriers to compete with Singapore Airlines Ltd. and Malaysian Airline System Bhd. and may trigger a price war, analysts said. The two state-controlled carriers operate six flights a day on the route, offering similar fares.

Facing Competition

``Singapore Airlines and Malaysian Air would be the losers as they would likely reduce their fares in order to combat competition,'' Chris Eng, an analyst at OSK Research Sdn. in Kuala Lumpur, wrote in a report. Eng raised his call on AirAsia stock to ``trading buy'' from ``neutral.''

Malaysian Airline said it was ``disappointed'' that the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route will be opened to discount airlines earlier than expected.

Malaysia Airline said the route was opened ``prematurely'' because its business plan was designed around the Association of Southeast Asian Nations open-skies plan being implemented starting Jan. 1, 2009, according to a statement from the Subang Jaya, Selangor-based company.

The Singapore government said it was committed to freeing up routes between the two nations.

``Singapore is fully committed to liberalizing air services between our two countries as soon as possible,'' the country's Ministry of Transport said in an e-mailed statement. ``This includes not only the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur route, but also between Singapore and additional cities in Malaysia.''

Fernandes is optimistic AirAsia will be allowed to fly to Singapore from other Malaysian cities such as Penang and Kuching and Kota Kinabalu before 2009.

AirAsia today rose 11 sen, or 5.5 percent, to 2.10 ringgit at the close of trading on the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange, the highest in more than five months. Malaysian Airline gained 0.4 percent to 5.00 ringgit.
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Old October 30th, 2007, 02:39 PM   #919
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http://news.my.msn.com/regional/arti...umentid=932819
Agence France-Presse - 10/29/2007 7:29 AM
Malaysia Airlines plans transformation over five years: report
Malaysia Airlines plans to transform itself into a five-star airline with budget carrier fares, under a five-year business transformation plan to be launched in 2008, a report said Monday.

The beleaguered flag carrier last year launched a turnaround plan aimed at restoring it to profitability after a series of losses.

Its managing director, Idris Jala, said the airline now wanted to shift gears again, with a five-year transformation plan aimed at making it more nimble to face heightened competition.

"We were talking a lot about business turnaround plan before. Now we plan to transform from what we are today into a five-star airline at low-cost carrier cost," he told the state news agency Bernama.

Idris said companies like Japanese auto giant Toyota had successfully maintained quality standards while reducing costs.

"We will not behave like a low-cost carrier. We will always provide superior products and services to customers but we will drive down our cost so that we will then be able to offer highly-competitive rates to passengers," he said.

Malaysia Airlines was stung last week when the government allowed pioneering budget carrier AirAsia to operate on the lucrative Singapore-Kuala Lumpur route, breaking a 35-year stranglehold by the two nations' flag carriers.
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Old November 1st, 2007, 06:49 AM   #920
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MAS plans RM1 billion cost-savings
By Presenna Nambiar
Published: 2007/10/31




The national carrier is implementing the low-cost carrier cost and fare structure and is confident it will not jeopardise its status as a five-star airline

MALAYSIAN Airline System Bhd (MAS) expects to save up to RM1 billion over five years by being a five-star airline with a low-cost carrier (LCC) cost and fare structure.

The amount is about 10 per cent of the airline's annual expenditure of between RM11 billion and RM12 billion.

In a briefing yesterday, MAS managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Idris Jala outlined how the airline would be able to achieve the sum through cost-savings in the procurement process, increasing Internet penetration, e-ticketing and doing third-party maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) work.

""Some of the savings will start from next year, some of it in the following year and subsequent years progressively. Today I don't have the breakdown on an annual basis, but it will be a bit more granular in our publication in January," Idris said.

According to Idris' presentation, the initiative will save about RM200 million in procurement costs, around RM350 million with the increase of Internet penetration, between RM190 million and RM300 million through e-ticketing and between RM200 million and RM300 million by doing third-party MRO work.

"Its hard to put a timeline on it today, but we know the prize is there and it's big ... worth going for," Idris said.

He said the low-cost structure initiative is the company's way to prepare for increased competition.

"I would say going forward, we have no choice (but to reduce fare rates) because the industry has to compete by lowering their fares, with more new planes coming into the Asia-Pacific and South Asia region, which necessitate tremendous fights on fares," Idris said.

He expects fare rates to go down by an average of between five and seven per cent globally.

"Obviously, there will be tremendous pressures in pricing, I cannot say where those pressures will be because it depends on where the airlines put those aircraft, its routes and all, but we have to make sure as a company that we respond as they do come," Idris said.

He said he is confident that the LCC-cost structure it is implementing will not jeopardise its status as a five-star airline because of the feedback it seeks from customers.

"It would jeopardise it if we were not to ask the customer, and that's the key. We will only do things that customers really like, and if we can do things better at a lower price, that is actually what we want. I think simplifying the business is very important, not making it so complex for ourselves," Idris said.
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