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Old December 18th, 2007, 10:05 AM   #981
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AirAsia to open retail stores for its merchandise
by Yong Yen Nie, 18 Dec 2007 12:27 PM
THEEDEDAILY

PETALING JAYA: AirAsia Bhd wants to open retail stores for its own brand of apparel and other merchandise, in efforts to create a lifestyle concept for its customers, its deputy group chief executive officer Datuk Kamarudin Meranun said.

AirAsia had unveiled various designs for apparel, which included jeans and shirts, and would be available in-flight and via its websites by next March.

Kamarudin said the low-cost carrier would come up with more designs in the future, including a children’s range. He said: “We want to create a lifestyle, and offering these merchandise to our customers complements that vision.”

“It’s about time we do this, even if it is a small business (because) we discovered that people were interested in our brand,” he said, adding that the revenue generated would ease its high costs of advertising campaigns. However, the low-cost carrier has not decided on the location for its first store.

“We will see what feedback we get from our customers first. We might also franchise it to interested parties, (but) it’s still too early to tell,” he told reporters after launching AirAsia’s 2008 calendar here yesterday.

He added the retail store might eventually merge with Tune for synergistic purposes. Tune was created by Kamarudin and AirAsia chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes, to offer customers no-frills accommodation and investment portals.

At least four Tune Hotels are in the pipeline in the country. The company also plans to set up no-frills hotels in Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Singapore.

The AirAsia calendar, which retails at RM15 each, will be available in-flight and at its sales offices from December 24. The company will contribute RM2 from each purchase to needy patients of Institut Jantung Negara, as part of its corporate social responsibility drive.
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Old December 18th, 2007, 10:38 AM   #982
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Old December 18th, 2007, 10:45 AM   #983
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Direct AirAsia flights to Guangzhou from Jan 16

PETALING JAYA: AirAsia will commence daily flights to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport from the LCC Terminal on Jan 16.

The low-cost airline is offering promotional fares from RM88.88 for bookings made from Dec 19-26 for the travel period from Jan 16-Oct 25.

“With 2008 Olympics around the corner and Guangzhou being a global manufacturing centre, we are confident there will be a robust demand for this route with our low fares and expansive route network," said the airline's regional head of commercial Kathleen Tan.

She said that with AirAsia's strong Asean network, travellers could connect to more than 100 major cities in China via Baiyun airport, China’s third largest international airport.

Tan said AirAsia could also attract young Chinese from the Pearl Delta region to visit Malaysia and the Asean region.

Currently, AirAsia operates four direct flights to Shenzhen as a group, with two daily flights from Kuala Lumpur, and a daily flight each from Bangkok and Kota Kinabalu.

The airline also operates four daily flights to Macau from Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, as well as a daily flight each from Johor Bahru and Kota Kinabalu. There are thrice-weekly flights from Kuching.
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Old December 19th, 2007, 07:55 AM   #984
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AirAsia flying to India next year
By Vasantha Ganesan
Published: 2007/12/18

Quote:
AirAsia will fly to Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu and Tiruvananthapuram in Kerala while its sister airline AirAsia X ply the Kuala Lumpur-Amritsar route
AIRASIA Bhd and sister airline AirAsia X will both begin flights to India in late 2008, AirAsia chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes said.

AirAsia will service cities in southern India, while its long-haul affiliate will fly to cities in northern India.

Fernandes said the budget airline had secured landing rights to Tiruchirapalli (Trichy) in Tamil Nadu and Tiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) in Kerala.

"AirAsia will start first, starting with Tiruchirapalli," Fernandes told Business Times in an interview.

"AirAsia X will fly to Amritsar (in Punjab)," he added.

Fernandes said AirAsia, which will use A320s, will fly daily to the south Indian cities, while AirAsia X, which will use A330s, will ply the Kuala Lumpur-Amritsar route three to four times a week.

"We hope to fly to four destinations each for AirAsia and AirAsia X in the two to three years after we start flying to India," he said.

Fernandes, who voiced hopes of AirAsia flying to all major destinations in India, said it was unable to at this point in time because its aircraft did not have extended-range twin-engine operational performance standards (ETOPS) capability.

"Our plane has to fly near land because it has two engines. We have to have a special system, called ETOPS, in which the plane is allowed to fly on one engine over sea. We have not got that capability, (and) we are not sure if we want that capability as it costs a lot and we don't know the benefits that will accrue to us just for a few points into India.

"Without ETOPS, one cannot take the most direct route into India. There is an island (en route to India), Port Blair (Andaman Island), which we can pass, which allows us to fly direct, but it is only open for a certain number of hours," he said.
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Old December 20th, 2007, 04:09 AM   #985
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MAS unit in JV with Qantas to provide airframe maintenance service
by Surin Murugiah, 19 Dec 2007 7:15 PM


KUALA LUMPUR: MAS Aerospace Engineering (MAE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Qantas to establish a joint venture (JV) company to provide airframe maintenance services from Malaysia.

In a statement on Dec 19, its managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Idris Jala said MAE, leveraging on MAS’ 35-year experience in engineering and maintenance capabilities, was well positioned to build a world-class aviation MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) joint venture with Qantas.

“Our priority will be to develop Kuala Lumpur as a hub for the Asia-Pacific region for MRO services. Malaysia Airlines is already the leading civil MRO provider in Malaysia, and this will further cement our position in the region,” he said.

MAE provides maintenance services for A, B, C and D checks for B747, B777, B737, A330 and A320 to airlines across the world.

Qantas chief executive officer Geoff Dixon said the company would target the rapidly growing Asia-Pacific MRO market, which was expected to reach US$15 billion (RM50.25 billion) in sales by 2016, as well as perform overflow airframe maintenance for Qantas and its subsidiary airlines.

He expressed confidence that the joint venture would create a world class and very cost competitive MRO.

“Qantas Engineering will have significant input into the management, engineering and quality system of the new company, which will commence operations in 2008,” he said.

Dixon also said the venture built on the A$300 million (RM867.45 million) investment Qantas has previously announced for its Australian engineering operations.

“It will also complement our business review programme that we started in 2006. This venture reflects the Qantas Group’s objectives of growing our aviation-related businesses into growth markets in Asia and the Pacific,” he said.

Dixon said Qantas had for many years contracted overflow engineering work to a variety of MROs in Asian countries.

“The operation in Malaysia will provide the opportunity to consolidate some of this work while providing further growth for the Qantas Group,” he added.
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Old December 22nd, 2007, 07:03 AM   #986
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KUL - CAN





19 December 2007

AirAsia launches direct daily flight to Guangzhou, China
Fares from as low as RM 88.88* one way!
SEPANG, 19TH DECEMBER 2007 – AirAsia, the leading, largest and award-winning low-cost carrier in Asia, which has recently won the coveted CAPA Airline of the Year 2007 award today leaps further with the commencement of direct daily flights to Guangzhou via Baiyun airport from the LCC Terminal, Kuala Lumpur beginning 16 January, 2008. This will be the fourth destination to mainland China after Shenzhen, Xiamen and Macau within the group.

Guangzhou, is the capital and sub provincial city of Guangdong Province, located in the Southern part of China. With an approximate population of 9.5 million, it is the most populous city in the province. Guangzhou Baiyun International airport is regarded as the third largest and busiest international airport in China and is one of mainland China’s leading commercial and manufacturing regions.

Primed as one of the fastest economic development provinces and a major shopping and tourists’ attraction centre, Guangzhou is positioned as gateway to Pearl River Delta; an ideal gateway to Hong Kong and Southern China. It is not only an attractive destination, but is also rich in heritage, a large city full of vigor and current fashion, and is well known for its Cantonese (Yue) cuisine.

Kathleen Tan, Regional Head of Commercial, AirAsia, said, “With 2008 Olympics around the corner and Guangzhou being a global manufacturing centre, we are confident there will be a robust demand for this route with our low fares and expansive route network. With globalization and rising economic power in Southern China, the mainland Chinese has the passion and desire to travel, be it for leisure or business, especially within the South East Asia region. We have seen growing trends among the younger generation and the growing middle class who have aspirations to see more of Asia and the world. Our super low fares are now becoming more of a reality than it was before for China.”

“We have a strong brand in Southern China that we have worked hard to build over the last few years. Our low fares have stimulated new market segments and attracted many Malaysian small and medium size businesses that have growing vested interest in China. With our strong Asean network, our guests can now connect to China’s third largest international airport, Baiyun Guangzhou to more than 100 major cities in China with our super low fares. Conversely, we are confident through AirAsia’s amazing low fares, we can now attract many young Chinese from the Pearl Delta region to visit Malaysia and through our hub in Kuala Lumpur, access to the Asean network and Australia via AirAsia X.” concluded Kathleen.

Currently, AirAsia operates four direct flights to Shenzhen as a group with 2 daily flights from Kuala Lumpur, 1 daily flight from Bangkok and Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. The airline also operates 4 daily flights to Macau from Kuala Lumpur, and Bangkok and 1 daily flight from Johor Bahru and Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and 3 weekly flights from Kuching, Sarawak.

Guests can book through www.airasia.com from 19-26 December 2007 to enjoy the special promotional fares from MYR88.88 or RMB188* for the travel period from 16 January 2008 – 25th October 2008.

*All fares quoted are excluding airport taxes, fuel surcharges and fees, and are applicable for one-way travel only.


Flight Schedule
Flights From
Departure / Arrival
Flight No
Frequency

KUALA LUMPUR - GUANGZHOU
05:50 / 09:50
AK 42
DAILY

GUANGZHOU – KUALA LUMPUR
10:25/14:25
AK 43
DAILY
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Old December 22nd, 2007, 09:31 AM   #987
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MAS aims to strengthen its position in Asean region
Saturday December 22, 2007
By LOONG TSE MIN


PETALING JAYA: Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS) is expected to announce one or two new routes in the Asean region, possibly as early as next week.

StarBiz learnt that MAS was in the process of finalising government approvals as well as organising fleet management for the new routes.

OSK Investment Bank senior vice-president Chris Eng told StarBiz: “MAS wants to strengthen its position in the region.”

MAS is “pretty strong” in the Asean region, more so than rivals Singapore Airlines Ltd and Thai Airways International, Eng said.

Among the regional full-frill carriers, MAS has one of the largest narrow body fleets that will put it ahead in capitalising on regional routes.

MAS may also want to strengthen its position before the start of the Asean Open Sky agreement that will see a liberalisation of regional capital-to-capital routes effective from Jan 1, 2009.

MAS, already flying such routes, would not see much benefit from the liberalisation, except for some routes to Indochina capitals, Eng said.

Full liberalisation of air routes to all cities in Asean would only be expected to take place in 2015.

The tentative announcement of new routes comes hot on the heels of MAS reopening its Macau route at the start of this month.

If Eng is right, it would seem that MAS would be on a roll and more routes could be in the offing in 2008, especially under the stewardship of managing director Datuk Seri Idris Jala, who had overseen a recent third-quarter turnaround.

For the third quarter ended Sept 30, the airline’s net profit grew a whopping 52% to RM364mil against RM241mil in the previous corresponding period.

Turnover in the quarter reached RM4.23bil, 15% higher than RM3.68bil recorded a year earlier. Its nine-month net profit of RM610mil exceeded the best annual profit in the airline’s 60-year history.

Together with its India and China strategy, as well as its business turnaround strategies spelt out in Projects Omega and Alpha, MAS looks set to securing its viability and even capitalise on its strengths to deliver further gains to its bottom line.

Apart from Macau and Hong Kong, MAS flies to Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai, Kunming and Xiamen in China.

It has five destinations in India – Chennai, New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

Project Omega was initiated in 2006 to improve the company’s network and revenue management, while Alpha is focused on improving sales and distribution.
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Old December 23rd, 2007, 07:25 AM   #988
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MAS to charge ticketing service fee
Sunday December 23, 2007
TheStar

KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia Airlines will introduce a ticketing service fee for transactions at its 24-hour Call Centre and ticket offices in Malaysia from Jan 1 next year.

The fee will be RM15 per domestic travel transaction and RM30 for international transactions for both cash and credit card payments.

Travel agents in Malaysia will continue to apply their own service charges, MAS regional general manager for Malaysia/Asean Salleh Tabrani said in a statement.

“This nominal fee is to partially cover costs arising from all activities related to retail business transactions performed at our ticketing outlets and call centres,” he said.

He said customers who make internet bookings were exempted from such charge.
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Old December 24th, 2007, 06:37 AM   #989
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AirAsia a key player in changing aviation landscape
Published: 2007/12/04

Quote:
Its low-cost structure and the volume of passengers it carries have enabled the airline to play a crucial part in reviving Malaysia’s sleepy secondary airports
BUDGET airline AirAsia Bhd, which began its operations in 2001, has played a crucial role in changing the aviation landscape, not only in Malaysia, but also in the region as well.

True to its tagline "Now everyone can fly", its low-cost business model has opened up a whole new market of air travellers, previously comprised mainly by the financially affluent, and subsequently contributed towards spurring tourism growth, both domestic and regional.

Its low-cost structure as well as the volume of passengers it carries, has also enabled the airline to operate domestic routes, deemed as unprofitable, and this has also played a crucial part in reviving Malaysia's sleepy secondary airports.

With its affordable airfare, almost everyone now is able to fly and this has brought in the much needed passenger traffic to these airports.

The airline has consistently been vocal about the positive impact low-cost carriers can have on not just energising airports where it operates, but also on the economy as a whole.

At its recent shareholders meeting, for example, AirAsia officials reiterated how it could reel in more revenue for the Sultan Abdul Aziz Airport in Subang if it receives the go-ahead from the government to relocate its present operations there.

Chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes pointed out that the huge passenger volume handled by AirAsia would be able to significantly stimulate economic activities within the former international airport, which currently earns around RM3 million in annual revenue.

"We are confident that with our presence in Subang, we will not only help bring in more revenue to the airport but also contribute towards making it a more business-driven and competitive regional airport," he told reporters after AirAsia's annual general meeting in Sepang last month.

The budget carrier has been lobbying to operate via Subang airport, much like community airline FireFly, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines (MAS), which had commenced operations from the airport since late October.

The airline is working on a proposal on the matter and hopes to submit it to the government soon.
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Old December 26th, 2007, 05:26 PM   #990
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Malaysia Airlines to fly to Jogjakarta

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines will be adding another route to its Indonesian network with the commencement of direct flights between Kuala Lumpur and Jogjakarta effective Feb 1.

In a statement, the national carrier said there would be three flights per week departing Kuala Lumpur at 9.20am on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

The return flight departs at 11.40am from Jogjakarta on the same day.

Malaysia Airlines currently operates flights to Jakarta, Medan, Denpasar and Surabaya, with Jogjakarta being its fifth location.

The statement added that with the introduction of the new route, one-way promotional fares from as low as RM99 (excluding taxes and other charges) were being offered.

The offers are available on the airline's website, www.malaysiaairlines.com, ticket offices or through its 24-hour toll-free call centre at 1-300-88-3000.

-thestar
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Old December 30th, 2007, 07:15 AM   #991
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flying beauty



Channaporn Rosjan, Thai Air Asia First Officer, Miss thailand universe 2005. Has engineering degree.
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Old December 30th, 2007, 07:20 AM   #992
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AK's new a320 undergoing repair in MAS' hangar in KLIA.
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Old December 31st, 2007, 02:40 AM   #993
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Discount airlines in Asia: Low cost, high risk?

Discount airlines in Asia: Low cost, high risk?
DISCOUNT FLIGHTS IN ASIA MAY COME AT THE EXPENSE OF SAFETY, EXPERTS SAY
By Joshua Kurlantzick
New York Times


In the wake of September's crash in Phuket of a jet from One-Two-Go Airlines, a Thai low-cost carrier, some aviation experts expressed shock that the plane had even tried to land. Shortly before the jet came down, other aircraft landing on the Thai island had warned traffic controllers of dangerously wet and windy conditions, and the One-Two-Go pilots could have canceled their landing. They didn't, and more than 80 passengers were killed when the jet skidded beyond the runway and burst into flames.

If they had followed One-Two-Go's history, though, observers might not have been shocked by the crash. South Korean and Thai regulators previously had cited One-Two-Go's parent company for poor safety measures. Worse, the crash revealed one of the biggest worries about travel in Asia today: In a developing region witnessing a boom in the number of low-cost airlines, can tourists trust their lives to these budget carriers?

Once dominated by large airlines like Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines, Asia has seen an explosion of low-cost carriers in the past five years. A pioneer, Air Asia, based in Malaysia, demonstrated that the region's growing middle classes, who couldn't afford full fare, would pay for cheaper seats.

Following Air Asia's success, many others have followed, a boom of names like the India-based Air Deccan and Spice Jet and Philippines-based Cebu Pacific. Some low-cost airlines, like Singapore-based Tiger Airways, are even branching out into Australia and other regions. Governments have been happy to oblige, with Thailand allowing an expansion of carriers like One-Two-Go, Bangkok Airways and Nok Air.
The emergence of discount Asian carriers has enormous benefits for travelers. On the popular Bangkok-Singapore corridor, Air Asia is selling some round-trip tickets for about $150, compared with $500 or more on Singapore Airlines. The low-cost airlines have also boosted traffic to destinations like Luang Prabang, the old royal capital of Laos.

According to figures compiled by the international flight information company OAG, the number of low-cost flights in the Asia-Pacific region has grown from 3,900 six years ago to more than 60,000 today. "The rapid pace of low-cost carrier expansion is set to continue," says a report issued by Derek Sadubin, chief operating officer at the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation, another industry analyst. "The projected low-cost carrier fleet growth figures are staggering."

But explosive growth can also make companies reckless. "Regulators are again concerned that the market has been growing too quickly," wrote Nicholas Ionides of Flight International, a leading aviation industry publisher. Though many budget carriers have young fleets, some Asian carriers buy old planes that had been sitting, unused, in American deserts.

The expansion of low-cost carriers and the boom in travel in India and China create other worrying trends. They have sparked a severe pilot shortage in Asia, which may hurt safety as more inexperienced men and women settle into the cockpit. Meanwhile, some aviation analysts worry that Asian governments, caught in a low-cost frenzy, are allowing business people to start airlines without enough capital on hand. Many Asian nations cannot compare with Western Europe and North America, where carriers like Ryanair and Southwest emerged in markets that already had strong safety standards.

"When the U.S.A. deregulated in the late 1970s and early 1980s, it was feared that it would increase the accident rate," said David Learmount, a safety expert at Flight International magazine. "But it didn't. Part of the reason it didn't was that the Federal Aviation Administration heightened its safety oversight vigilance just in case."

Southwest, for instance, has a strong safety record, yet in Thailand not only One-Two-Go but also the low-cost carrier Phuket Air have come under scrutiny. Phuket Air overshot a runway landing in eastern Thailand.

"Deregulation in Indonesia made already bad safety records even worse because the aviation authorities had no teeth, so there was no safety oversight to protect travelers," Learmount said.

Indeed, Indonesia may be the scariest nation in Asia for fliers. In the past three years alone, a plane from Adam Air, an Indonesian low-cost carrier, vanished without a trace; another Adam Air plane cracked open upon landing; a Garuda Indonesia flight overran the runway in Yogyakarta and caught fire, killing at least 20; and an aircraft of Lion Air, another discount airline, went off a runway on Java, killing about 30.

Smart travelers are learning how to find solid information about Asia's new airlines. The Aviation Safety Network (www.aviation-safety.net) contains statistics on air accidents broken down by carrier and region, as well as weekly updates of air safety incidents. Other Web sites like Airsafe.com have similar data on incidents; Airlinequality.com offers passengers' takes on many budget carriers.

Government regulators outside Asia can also help. The International Aviation Safety Assessments program of the FAA (http://www.faa.gov/safety/programs_i...oversight/iasa) contains ratings of each nation's air safety, while the European Union maintains a blacklist of airlines (http://www.ec.europa.eu/transport/ai...df/list_en.pdf) that are banned from flying into Europe. Currently, the European Union bans every Indonesian carrier.

Eventually, the opinions of foreign visitors may force Asian airlines to improve. "Watch Korea and Taiwan; their safety oversight was rubbish not long ago, but now it's good," Learmount said. "Korean Air lost its right to code-share with U.S. carriers - notably Delta - until it set up a credible safety management system."

"The driving force" for safer planes is "competition itself," he says. "People in the U.S. don't fly with airlines that keep crashing."
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Old December 31st, 2007, 12:53 PM   #994
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Jet Airways hopeful of wider collaboration with MAS
by Sharmila Ganapathy


SEPANG: Jet Airways (India) Ltd hopes a wider collaboration with national carrier Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS) will materialise by the middle of next year.

“We may have something on with MAS by mid-2008,” Jet Airways country manager for Malaysia Kavin Martinus told The Edge Financial Daily after the Indian airline launched its widebody A330-200s aircraft for its Kuala Lumpur-Chennai route here last Saturday.

“Code-sharing is something we would like to do with MAS, if they agree we could possibly look at it for Mumbai flights. The idea here is synergy, so if we can code-share on their Mumbai flights, then they can code-share with our Chennai flights,” Martinus said.

“We’re talking about a wider co-operation with MAS, which may involve code-sharing and many other areas including marketing. We are in active discussions with MAS,” said Jet Airways regional vice president for Southeast Asia Gerry Oh.

It was reported that the two airlines had scheduled discussions in January 2007 concerning a code-sharing arrangement for flights between Malaysia and India.

By code-sharing, an airline’s flight is jointly marketed as a flight for another airline, thus benefiting airlines who do not operate their own aircraft on a given route to gain exposure in the market. The two airlines already have an ongoing interline arrangement for MAS’ KL-Singapore route, Martinus said. Jet Airways doesn’t fly to Singapore directly, operating only a KL-Singapore route since setting up its Malaysian operations in 2005.

An interline agreement is an agreement between two carriers, where the airline partners can accept their respective travel tickets.

Earlier, Martinus told reporters that Jet Airways was planning to increase its services to KL by introducing a KL-Mumbai flight by the second quarter of 2008, spurred by a higher number of visitors from India next year.

Tourism Malaysia statistics showed that visitor numbers from India grew by 57% to 315,000 between January and September 2007, versus 200,000 during the corresponding period in 2006. “We hope to see double-digit growth in overall demand going forward from KL-Chennai flights,” Oh said.

He added that Jet Airways hoped to attract more corporate travellers, which currently comprise up to 30% of its passenger base, with the new aircraft. The A330 offers added capacity, with 220 seats (30 Premiere Class and 190 economy seats respectively). Jet Airways previously used a 140-seater Boeing B737-800 for its KL-Chennai flights.

The new aircraft is expected to increase the route capacity by nearly 60% and would meet rising demand for Malaysia-India flights from India come 2008. Oh said Jet Airways’ load factor for this route in 2007 was about 85%.

Plans are afoot to increase Jet Airways’ services to Bangkok from the existing two destinations to three by mid-2008 and to four destinations from the current three for Singapore during the same period, Oh said.

It currently operates a Mumbai-Singapore flight and flights to Chennai and Delhi from the island nation. It flies to Bangkok from Delhi and Kolkata.

On rising fuel prices, Oh said that while it was ‘everyone’s thorn in the flesh’, he hoped the airlines wouldn’t have to increase fuel surcharges in the coming months.
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Old January 1st, 2008, 11:41 PM   #995
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KUALA LUMPUR - YOGYAKARTA



Yogyakarta
The pulse of the ancient Javanese Kingdom




beat the rest to these hot-selling seats!

Booking Period : 31 Dec 2007 - 3 Jan 2008
Travel Period : 1 Jan 2008 - 31 Mar 2008
Travel Notes : - advance booking required

depart from/to LCC Terminal, KLIA, Kuala Lumpur

international low fares
Yogyakarta from RM49.99 / Rp139.999





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Old January 2nd, 2008, 06:21 AM   #996
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aseantraveler View Post
Discount airlines in Asia: Low cost, high risk?
DISCOUNT FLIGHTS IN ASIA MAY COME AT THE EXPENSE OF SAFETY, EXPERTS SAY
By Joshua Kurlantzick
New York Times


In the wake of September's crash in Phuket of a jet from One-Two-Go Airlines, a Thai low-cost carrier, some aviation experts expressed shock that the plane had even tried to land. Shortly before the jet came down, other aircraft landing on the Thai island had warned traffic controllers of dangerously wet and windy conditions, and the One-Two-Go pilots could have canceled their landing. They didn't, and more than 80 passengers were killed when the jet skidded beyond the runway and burst into flames.

If they had followed One-Two-Go's history, though, observers might not have been shocked by the crash. South Korean and Thai regulators previously had cited One-Two-Go's parent company for poor safety measures. Worse, the crash revealed one of the biggest worries about travel in Asia today: In a developing region witnessing a boom in the number of low-cost airlines, can tourists trust their lives to these budget carriers?

Once dominated by large airlines like Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines, Asia has seen an explosion of low-cost carriers in the past five years. A pioneer, Air Asia, based in Malaysia, demonstrated that the region's growing middle classes, who couldn't afford full fare, would pay for cheaper seats.

Following Air Asia's success, many others have followed, a boom of names like the India-based Air Deccan and Spice Jet and Philippines-based Cebu Pacific. Some low-cost airlines, like Singapore-based Tiger Airways, are even branching out into Australia and other regions. Governments have been happy to oblige, with Thailand allowing an expansion of carriers like One-Two-Go, Bangkok Airways and Nok Air.
The emergence of discount Asian carriers has enormous benefits for travelers. On the popular Bangkok-Singapore corridor, Air Asia is selling some round-trip tickets for about $150, compared with $500 or more on Singapore Airlines. The low-cost airlines have also boosted traffic to destinations like Luang Prabang, the old royal capital of Laos.

According to figures compiled by the international flight information company OAG, the number of low-cost flights in the Asia-Pacific region has grown from 3,900 six years ago to more than 60,000 today. "The rapid pace of low-cost carrier expansion is set to continue," says a report issued by Derek Sadubin, chief operating officer at the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation, another industry analyst. "The projected low-cost carrier fleet growth figures are staggering."

But explosive growth can also make companies reckless. "Regulators are again concerned that the market has been growing too quickly," wrote Nicholas Ionides of Flight International, a leading aviation industry publisher. Though many budget carriers have young fleets, some Asian carriers buy old planes that had been sitting, unused, in American deserts.

The expansion of low-cost carriers and the boom in travel in India and China create other worrying trends. They have sparked a severe pilot shortage in Asia, which may hurt safety as more inexperienced men and women settle into the cockpit. Meanwhile, some aviation analysts worry that Asian governments, caught in a low-cost frenzy, are allowing business people to start airlines without enough capital on hand. Many Asian nations cannot compare with Western Europe and North America, where carriers like Ryanair and Southwest emerged in markets that already had strong safety standards.

"When the U.S.A. deregulated in the late 1970s and early 1980s, it was feared that it would increase the accident rate," said David Learmount, a safety expert at Flight International magazine. "But it didn't. Part of the reason it didn't was that the Federal Aviation Administration heightened its safety oversight vigilance just in case."

Southwest, for instance, has a strong safety record, yet in Thailand not only One-Two-Go but also the low-cost carrier Phuket Air have come under scrutiny. Phuket Air overshot a runway landing in eastern Thailand.

"Deregulation in Indonesia made already bad safety records even worse because the aviation authorities had no teeth, so there was no safety oversight to protect travelers," Learmount said.

Indeed, Indonesia may be the scariest nation in Asia for fliers. In the past three years alone, a plane from Adam Air, an Indonesian low-cost carrier, vanished without a trace; another Adam Air plane cracked open upon landing; a Garuda Indonesia flight overran the runway in Yogyakarta and caught fire, killing at least 20; and an aircraft of Lion Air, another discount airline, went off a runway on Java, killing about 30.

Smart travelers are learning how to find solid information about Asia's new airlines. The Aviation Safety Network (www.aviation-safety.net) contains statistics on air accidents broken down by carrier and region, as well as weekly updates of air safety incidents. Other Web sites like Airsafe.com have similar data on incidents; Airlinequality.com offers passengers' takes on many budget carriers.

Government regulators outside Asia can also help. The International Aviation Safety Assessments program of the FAA (http://www.faa.gov/safety/programs_i...oversight/iasa) contains ratings of each nation's air safety, while the European Union maintains a blacklist of airlines (http://www.ec.europa.eu/transport/ai...df/list_en.pdf) that are banned from flying into Europe. Currently, the European Union bans every Indonesian carrier.

Eventually, the opinions of foreign visitors may force Asian airlines to improve. "Watch Korea and Taiwan; their safety oversight was rubbish not long ago, but now it's good," Learmount said. "Korean Air lost its right to code-share with U.S. carriers - notably Delta - until it set up a credible safety management system."

"The driving force" for safer planes is "competition itself," he says. "People in the U.S. don't fly with airlines that keep crashing."
The problem with a lot of pilots is that they lose face if they have to go around again or divert to another airport. Check out these two landings in Hong Kong - they are disgraceful!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=YW2vEQSYz_s

Last edited by Minnesota Twin; January 2nd, 2008 at 06:30 AM.
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 08:34 AM   #997
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MAS set to rise above competition
by Tamimi Omar
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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS) is confident of successfully taking on its competitors in an increasingly tough operating environment by using a two-pronged strategy of tight fiscal management and unique products, its executive director and chief financial officer Tengku Azmil Zahruddin said.

He said the challenges in the next few years would come from the influx of more than 800 new aircraft in the Asia-Pacific, South Asia and the Middle East regions.

The over capacity created by the additional aircraft coupled with the rise of low-cost carriers (LCCs) and the liberalisation of Asean air traffic in 2009 would lead to price-cutting and margin erosion, he added.

“The next few years are going to be tough, with the high fuel price and intense competition,” Tengku Azmil told The Edge Financial Daily via email. “(However), we are very optimistic with the growth potential of MAS based on what we have seen so far. The future of MAS is very bright and exciting.”

He said airlines had to do one of two things to succeed: either reduce costs drastically to remain profitable, or pitch its products in such a way they are unique and distinctly attractive to a lot of customers.

“In MAS, we are positioning ourselves to do both, offering premium products and services and reducing cost at the same time. We have a new charter in Malaysia Airlines. The new charter is to transform ourselves into a five-star airline at LCC cost (FSLCC) to grow profitably,” Tengku Azmil said.

To achieve this, he said MAS would implement five key steps, beginning with maintaining high quality products and services and structurally reduce its costs.

“With a lower cost base, we will be able to offer even lower and more competitive fares to our customers, and still be able to make a profit. With high quality products and services at low/competitive fares, more passengers will fly on MAS and this translates to more revenue.

“Lastly, with more revenue and profit, we can invest in growing our network and building our capacity,” he said.

Tengku Azmil said MAS would repeat these steps until they turn into what it calls “the virtuous cycle of profitable growth”.

Details of the programme would be announced in MAS’ Business Transformation Plan to be launched later this month, he said.

Meanwhile, Khazanah Nasional Nasional Bhd managing director Datuk Azman Mokhtar said Malaysia was “happy to compete” with its neighbours in the airline business, but it wanted to do so on good terms.

On the Asean Open Sky policy that Malaysia and Singapore have agreed to implement a year ahead of schedule yesterday, he said MAS had to be ruthless and focused.

“I think MAS is well placed but it is a tough industry. The long and the short of it is, in that kind of competition that we expect, (we have to see) how good you are at yield management, load management, how adept are you at doing alliances and alliances can come in many forms, for example the B-to-B (business-to-business) merger that KLIM and Air France have done. They have done very well.

“On the other side, you have to be really ruthless and focused without eating away on the revenue side. MAS will have to find an equilibrium as we move from managing for survival to managing for growth,” he told The Edge Financial Daily recently.

Azman said MAS still had room to improve itself despite being one of the five airlines in the world with a five-star status in terms of superior products and service.

“While MAS continues to do very well on things like cabin crew service, there are other areas that it could do better – on time performance and ground service – for example,” he said.

Azman said MAS had an opportunity to truly become a global contender, as there were still no clear dominating players in the global industry.

“When you are in turnaround mode, you have to worry about your cash flow but when you are managing for growth and cementing yourself in a certain position… In how many industries can we be a significant player globally? Plantations is one of them, oil and gas is one of them. I would submit airlines is another area because the western airlines are not particularly strong.

“Our service is world class. For MAS, our financial management was bad, but it had improved tremendously,” he said.
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 10:43 AM   #998
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are you sure? for me i must put the safety of machine (worth millions mind you) and man first before my ego. Thank goodness i never knew any colleague who has the ego to do such things in the video you posted
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 06:08 PM   #999
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Wonderful pic., Arkdriver!
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 06:27 PM   #1000
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MAS need a touchup of their livery. Any suggestions?
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