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Old April 20th, 2008, 11:59 AM   #1141
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Originally Posted by bangalore View Post
First of all, these so called "jokes" are out of context - people are discussing Air Asia - and secondly, people with any amount of refinement in their thoughts will not present some rumblings with racial connotations as "jokes". In any case Malaysia has certain amount of jingoism deep entrenched in its social fabric and sadly reinforced through government sponsored policies and compounded by a closed society with limited freedom of expression - no wonder why some folks are able to "joke" about such things without any scruples. Once upon a time Malaysians were at the receiving end as a society and then they badly needed pride and self confidence in themselves, and Abdul Rehman and Mahatir brought about a new found confidence among Malaysians through a massive rebuilding exercise - but the same rebuilding has not yet happened in the minds apparently

Anyway, I have no business to do with Malaysia and I am out of here..
I really wish you said your last statement in the begining and had not shout about Malaysian's mind development. Its a real pity and disgusting seeing an Indian commenting on Malaysians. Subcontinent and Central Asia (including my Afghanistan) should stick to solving their own loads of tremendous problems be it social, political, general or individual level; and had better not comment on anyone else.

Finally one request; Live & Let Live
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Old April 20th, 2008, 03:46 PM   #1142
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AirAsia launches KL, Bangkok-Ho Chi Minh flights
18 Apr 2008 2:34 PM

HO CHI MINH: AirAsia yesterday launched its direct daily Kuala Lumpur-Ho Chi Minh city and twice weekly Bangkok-Ho Chi Minh city flights.

In a statement yesterday, AirAsia said the Bangkok–Ho Chi Minh city flights would be increased to four times weekly starting April 27, 2008. Together, AirAsia group has a combined 11 flights weekly to Ho Chi Minh city.

Collectively, AirAsia group has nine points into Indochina, comprising Phnom Penh and Siem Reap (Cambodia), Vientiane (Laos), Hanoi (Vietnam), Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam) from Kuala Lumpur and Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Yangon (Mynmar), Hanoi (Vietnam) and Ho Chi Minh city (Vietnam) from Bangkok.

The group has a combined 101 routes, 53 destinations serviced by AirAsia group and two international destinations serviced by AirAsia X, AirAsia’s long-haul low-lost affiliate.

“Twenty thousand seats have been snapped up since we opened the Kuala Lumpur — Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) on March 12, 2008 and Bangkok — Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) on March 3, 2008,” said AirAsia chairman Datuk Pahamin Ab Rajab.

To date, AirAsia group has carried over 49 million passengers and has grown from a two-aircraft fleet to 70 today, and now has the most extensive low-cost network in the region.
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Old April 20th, 2008, 04:28 PM   #1143
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Looks like AirAsia, Tiger Airways and Lion Air are going to put up a fierce fight against the upcoming Jetstar Pacific...

All are offering competitive fares from their respective hubs...
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Old April 20th, 2008, 07:32 PM   #1144
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Jump-start for Jetstar with Pacific partner

JETSTAR is confident it is on a winner with its new partnership with Pacific Airlines and that its latest investment in Asia will not be a repeat of its experience with Singapore-based Jetstar Asia.

The Jetstar jump is about to become familiar to millions of Vietnamese travellers.

Jetstar Asia is still regarded as a strategic part of the Qantas Group's plans to set up an Asian network but a lacklustre performance in a highly competitive market means it has only just moved into profitability.

Qantas believes the latest piece in its pan-Asian puzzle, unveiled this week in Ho Chi Minh City by Jetstar chief executive Alan Joyce and Qantas boss Geoff Dixon, has brighter prospects.

Jetstar Pacific - the rebranded successor to Pacific Airlines - will quickly outgrow its Singapore-based predecessor and Jetstar is supplying significant resources to make sure its newest investment works.

"Last year we had a small loss on the airline but that's because we're investing in building the airline," says Joyce.

"We're also going to be investing money this year in getting the A320s in and we want to invest in various things like ground handling in airports. So we're seeing last year and this year as an investment period and at the end of this its planned that we move into profit."

The Australian carrier has had a team of executives working with Pacific, which is majority-owned by Vietnam's State Capital Investment Corporation, since it bought an 18 per cent stake in the carrier in July last year for $30million.

Former National Jets Systems boss Daniela Marsilli has been brought in to be the airline's chief operating officer and is Jetstar's other representative on the board. Other Australians are in key roles such as chief pilot, heads of safety, security, ground handling and flight operations.

They are helping the Vietnamese bring the nation's second-biggest carrier into the Jetstar fold and to set up the systems and operational integrity to allow it to develop into a sizeable airline.

By 2014, Pacific will have a fleet of 30 leased Airbus A320s - and probably A321s - and will have spread its wings beyond Vietnam's boarders.

Its new aircraft will closely mirror Jetstar planes in Australia, adopting the familiar orange and silver livery, leather seats and taking on the group's manuals and operating procedures.

That will see the airline quickly expand its small fleet of four Boeing 737-400s to nine aircraft by the end of the year and 14 the year after.

At the same time, Qantas is spending another $20 million to expand its investment from the current 18 per cent to 30 per cent, the maximum allowed by the Vietnamese Government.

The joint venture will initially grow services in Vietnam before expanding internationally from late this year to destinations likely to include Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Cambodia.

Officials say international services could make up half of the airline's flying within a few years and have not ruled out eventually leveraging the Vietnamese carrier's rights to Europe, although they say there are no immediate plans in this regard. But the focus at this stage is on building Jetstar Pacific's domestic presence and a Vietnamese website is being developed for jetstar.com to expand the brand's penetration among 85 million Vietnamese.

"The priority this year is to continue to build up the domestic network (with) new destinations and to continue to build up frequency," says Joyce, who notes that the Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City route is bigger than Sydney-Melbourne in terms of numbers.

Joyce says the airline will benefit from growing wealth in Vietnam and an increasing number of people wanting to use air transportation. "That's the market we'll be tapping into," he says. "There's also a huge international tourism market. It's one of the biggest growth areas, and that's people coming into the country but also travelling around the country. Again, that's something we're tapping into."

Joyce predicts a major impact for Australia of Jetstar Pacific's emergence as a carrier will be more services between the two countries. Jetstar International currently operates 303-seat A330-200 services between Sydney and Ho Chi Minh City three times a week.

"The biggest thing here, we think, is the long-haul flying from Sydney and eventually Melbourne when we get more of the 330s," Joyce says.

"With Pacific coming on with Jetstar, that gives us a huge distribution in this market and that was always a weakness.

"We're huge in Australia (and) having Pacific Air with Jetstar here, we'll be the second recognised airline brand and that means we can sell more effectively our Australian direct operations."

Joyce also believes the new airline will help Jetstar keep its pilots.

Operational procedures and manuals at Jetstar Pacific will be eventually similar to those at the Australian operation, making it easier for staff to switch between the two.

"In a tight market, where people are trying to retain pilots, (giving) the young guys who are coming through the operation the opportunity of keeping their seniority number but moving up (to Vietnam) and working ... and then coming back and working in Australia is a huge potential retention activity for us long term," he says.

Joyce says the decision by the Vietnamese to pick Qantas to help them build their new carrier is "all about partnership".

"The Vietnamese were very keen to see this investment as the flagship of their privatisation policy," he says.

"The Deputy Prime Minister himself got very heavily involved in it. The Prime Minister was part of the decision-making process. They wanted a blue-chip company and because of the airline Qantas is, with its record and its history, they felt it was a good partnership."

This, however, will not prevent the Government from allowing other airlines to start up in competition to the Vietnam Airlines and Jetstar duopoly.

Jetstar chief financial officer David Hall is one of two board members on the new airline and says there are a number of new carriers that have announced and applied to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam to start operations.

"The challenge for them will be getting aircraft and infrastructure here and getting good people," Hall says.

"So there are a lot of people out there wanting to start up - four or five think they can make money out of it.

"But we just think there are natural barriers to entry at the moment. We've got to focus our operations on getting as efficient as possible."

Joyce also notes that the law in Vietnam requires that new airline entrants have at least $US36 million ($38.5 million) in seed capital. He says Jetstar will have a first-starter advantage as well as critical mass and science.

"We're the first. We've converted to a low-cost carrier, we've got four aircraft, we've got a fleet plan to get them to 30 aircraft. They're firm plans and our network will become a very comprehensive network and that is the most competitive thing you can do."

Other hurdles include whether the Vietnamese aviation infrastructure can cope with the growth of Jetstar Pacific and the arrival of new carriers and a domestic fare cap, currently $US103, imposed by the Government.

The cap hampers Jetstar Pacific's ability to yield manage but Hall and Joyce are optimistic that the increased competition will prompt the Vietnamese to eventually abandon it. Pacific and Jetstar officials say the Government is aware of the infrastructure shortfall and is moving to address it.

"The issue has been identified, it is important that it has been identified and it will be handled by ministries and organisations," says Jetstar Pacific chief executive Luong Hoai Nam. "So we hope that the airport infrastructure will grow on par with capacity."

The Vietnamese airline executive says Pacific stands to gain significantly from the deal. "It is a sign that we are operating up to the highest commercial standards, operator standards, in order to operate the Jetstar brand. Second, it means we have a strong brand to support our fast,efficient growth."

The Vietnamese Government is said to be pleased with the progress at Pacific, with a top official telling Qantas recently they were happy with the Australian airline; they would like it to do more and do it faster.

Hall, who has been flying to Vietnam every couple of weeks, is also happy with progress at the airline.

While there are cultural differences such as the penchant for a midday nap in Vietnam, he believes staff are generally accepting the changes introduced by the Australians.

He says many of the department heads at Pacific had been figureheads who sat at their desks and did little.

"And then all these Aussies came in and managed and rolled up their sleeves," he says. "That's brought that next generation along with them and really liberated them - the Western way of sort of challenging and communicating a lot more has been very well received."

Not that there weren't challenges, including convincing the Vietnamese of the joys of Western-style governance.

The Jetstar team revamped the board and committee structures - as well as introducing more discipline and accountability to operations - and Hall says acceptance of the changes has been good.

He says revamping these areas was part of the Qantas conditions for entering the deal.

"Daniela and her team spent a good six months before we actually concluded the deal getting it to an acceptable kind of standard," he says.

"The basics were there but they then worked really hard to but some Qantas and Jetstar discipline to it.

"They were encouraging people to report safety instances or potential safety issues. It's really the safety that's built around hearts and minds - people feeling comfortable about reporting safety incidents and the fact that we can learn from them - that culture probably wasn't there."

Hall says the number of safety reports has improved in both quantity and consistency to near Qantas levels. The airline now has a safety committee and the staff are buying into the process.

In addition, Hall has noticed that Pacific staff are reflecting a growing confidence in Vietnam about the country and its prospects.

For their part, the Vietnamese are watching closely to see how the partnership works.

A number of companies, including the ANZ Bank, have made forays into the Southeast Asian nation in recent years.

Australia's ambassador to Vietnam, Bill Tweddell, told local reporters at the airline's launch that the investment marked another important milestone for aviation links between Australia and Vietnam and a further reinforcement of the strong economic ties between the two countries.

"This is a particularly symbolic development in this, our 35th year of diplomatic relations between Australia and Vietnam," he said.

"2007 saw a new wave of Australian investment in Vietnam with licensed projects worth $US122 million, more than a quarter of all Australian foreign direct investment of previous years."

Tweddell says he expects trade links to be further boosted with the arrival of a comprehensive ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand trade agreement due to be completed later this year.

source: The Australian Business

P.S look like there is going to be some fierce competition within the Southeast Asia area, good anyway, cheaper airline tickets for customers like me
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Old April 24th, 2008, 08:00 AM   #1145
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AirAsia spared Airbus price hike
By Anna Maria Samsudin Published: 2008/04/24 BusinessTimes

Airbus’ decision to raise aircraft prices by up to US$4 million will not hit the budget carrier due to a fixed deal to buy 175 units of the A320 aircraft signed earlier
BUDGET carrier AirAsia Bhd, the world's largest buyer of the A320s, will not be affected by Airbus' decision to raise prices of its aircraft.

Chief executive Datuk Tony Fernandes said the airline is spared from additional costs as it has fixed the price for the 175 planes it ordered from the airframe maker.

AirAsia has already factored in the possibility of Airbus reviewing its prices and this was among the areas discussed before signing the deal.

"We are serious in managing our cost and because of that we have to look into everything before we decide to make a huge investment such as the aircraft orders.

"The AirAsia team has made a wise move by fixing the price for these aircraft when we signed the deal," he told Business Times in a phone interview yesterday.

AirAsia has placed firm orders for 175 units of the A320 aircraft, with the option to buy 50 more. So far, it has received 40 units and is on track for full delivery by 2014.

Airbus said it will raise prices by between US$2 million and US$4 million (RM6.2 million and RM12.5 million) per aircraft, as of May 1, to offset rising metal prices and the weak greenback.

"On top of the 2.74 per cent normal escalation for 2007, the price increase comprises an additional US$2 million per single-aisle aircraft and US$4 million per wide-body long range and A380 family aircraft," Airbus said in a statement yesterday.

It was reported that Airbus incurs most of its production costs in euros, but sells its aircraft in dollars, putting it at a disadvantage to US rival Boeing Co.

Airbus said the US dollar is at its lowest rate in 20 years. The US dollar has shed 15 per cent of its value against the euro in the past 12 months from 1.35 to almost 1.60.

Metal prices have also gone up by at least 6.5 per cent, Airbus said.

Titanium, steel, aluminium and aluminium-lithium ac-count for at least 40 per cent by weight in modern aircraft design.

"We have to keep pace with the world market price developments and secure profitable deals," said Airbus chief operating officer (customers) John Leahy.

As at March 31 2008, Airbus sold over 8,800 aircraft to more than 370 customers and operators and has delivered over 5,100 aircraft since it first entered service in 1974.

Its backlog now stands at above 3,700 aircraft, securing up to six years of production.

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Old April 24th, 2008, 08:16 AM   #1146
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Forested delight at MAS lounge
Thursday April 24, 2008, TheStar

Cool retreat: Sadasivan and Malaysia Airlines corporate marketing and loyalty
programme general manager Raja Datuk Nordiana Zainal Shah testing the
facilities during the opening of the Regional lounge in KLIA yesterday.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) launched its new Regional Golden Lounge at the KL International Airport (KLIA) for regional-bound first and business class passengers.

The lounge design is based on the Rimba concept with visions of lush foliage, pristine forested valleys and perfect serenity, creating a quiet heaven for customers, said Malaysia Airlines’ deputy chairman Datuk S. Sadasivan.

“The Regional lounge will be where you begin your journey with Malaysia Airlines, and I’m confident that the rest of the journey will be well taken care of by our cabin crew,” he said in encouraging Malaysian Airports Holdings Berhad (MAB) to have more outlets.

He added that the RM4mil Regional Lounge had to match the standard of the award-winning KLIA.

The lounge is less than 10 minutes to the departure gates, accommodates 190 passengers and offers a wide range of services and facilities including spa service, reflexology, manicure and pedicure, children’s area, Muslim prayer room, Internet services, hot and cold food and full bar services.

It is open from 5am to 2am daily and Enrich Platinum and Gold Members have access to the lounge regardless of their class of travel.

Enrich Silver members can gain access to the lounge when they opt for the Golden Lounge Privilege programme or redeem their Enrich Miles on per-entrance basis.

Award-winning Malaysia Airlines won its latest “Best Economy Class” award in 2006 with 32 domestic and 86 international destinations.

KLIA now has three lounges – the Satellite Lounge, Domestic Lounge and the Regional Lounge.

The MAS Golden Lounges are also available in Johor Baru, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Langkawi and Penang airports. Its International Airport lounges are in Brisbane, Frankfurt, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Perth, Singapore and Sydney.
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Old April 24th, 2008, 10:31 AM   #1147
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MAS To Finalise Plans For Wide-body Aircraft By Year-end

KUALA LUMPUR, April 24 (Bernama) -- Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will finalise its plans to purchase wide-body aircraft to replace its ageing Boeing 777 and 747 by end of this year, group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Idris Jala said today.

"We will take time to carefully look at our needs (the number of aircraft needed) and study the scenario of the aviation industry in the next five to 15 years' time," he said.

MAS also needed to determine on which routes the new aircraft will be deployed to, he told reporters after delivering his keynote address at the Fourth Annual Airline Distribution Conference here.

Idris said some of the new planes will replace its existing capacity while others will be deployed to new routes.

"We believe we will win the game with our new Business Transformation Plan. We will clearly grow in the next five to six years and it must be profitable growth," he said in explaining why MAS needed the new aircraft.

However, Idris said MAS has yet to identify how many of its ageing planes will be replaced "as we see how our business model pans out".

"We will keep some of our old ones and put in new ones in addition to them. We have the flexibility," he said.

Asked if the airline will sell its old aircraft, Idris said: "At that time, we might decide on it."

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Old April 24th, 2008, 02:24 PM   #1148
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dah alang2 beli aircrafts baru...buatlah semua camni...plz, it's for the sake of you company's image...

more ads...more promotions...more cheaper tickets...free mealbox to all...free noodle....free this...free that...come on...these will help...if you wanna cut budget, plz don't to that on marketing your product. currently no advertisement in international magazine at all for MAS, what happen?

Last edited by OshHisham; April 24th, 2008 at 02:30 PM.
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Old April 24th, 2008, 02:56 PM   #1149
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Guess what? According to reliable sources on a particular aviation forum, the Hibiscus 744s together with the other colorful 777s are going to be painted back in the airline's livery...
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Old April 25th, 2008, 10:02 AM   #1150
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AirAsia’s Internet sales to account for 80% of total sales in two years
by Doreen Leong, 24 Apr 2008 2:05 PM, THEEDGEDAILY

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia Bhd hopes to increase its Internet sales to 80% of its total sales from the present 65% in two years’ time. This would effectively help boost sales without incurring additional costs.

“We want to grow our Internet sales as this would help increase sales tremendously without having to set up additional sales counters and manpower,” its head of sales and distribution Rayner Teo said. Currently, the remaining portion of AirAsia’s sales channel is via call centres, sales counters and travel agents.

He added that ticket sales via its Internet portal has grown over the years from less than 50% since it first started operations six years ago.

When AirAsia introduced the online sales facility in 2002, total sales generated via the Internet was 25% but it grew to over 40% of its total sales or about RM50 million the following year.

Speaking at an airline distribution conference here yesterday, Teo said AirAsia was also exploring the possibility of tying up with PayPal as one of its payment methods.

PayPal, which is a subsidiary of eBay, is an e-commerce business allowing payments and money transfers to be made through the Internet. PayPal performs payment processing for online vendors, auction sites, and other corporate users, for which it charges a fee.

Currently, passengers booking AirAsia’s flights have the option to pay via credit card, debit card, online banking or Pos Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Bernama reported that AirAsia is increasing its Macau route frequency from Kuching to daily flights from May 15, 2008 in an effort to enhance the city’s international connectivity.

In a statement yesterday, Air Asia said it was currently serving three flights a week to Macau.

“With a strong average load of 80% since its inception, the airline is gearing up for the strong travel demands by locals and visitors alike to and from Kuching for the rest of the year with the increased capacity,” it said.
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Old April 25th, 2008, 04:01 PM   #1151
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Originally Posted by ddes View Post
Guess what? According to reliable sources on a particular aviation forum, the Hibiscus 744s together with the other colorful 777s are going to be painted back in the airline's livery...
painted back...?i don understand....u mean, painted to the original white theme back?

emm...the hibiscus livery is more 'malaysian' indeed, but i love the blue one more..

btw, hehe...i don't take forumer's post that serious....just let be a 'rumor'
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Old April 25th, 2008, 04:12 PM   #1152
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Originally Posted by oshkoshbgood View Post

dah alang2 beli aircrafts baru...buatlah semua camni...plz, it's for the sake of you company's image...

more ads...more promotions...more cheaper tickets...free mealbox to all...free noodle....free this...free that...come on...these will help...if you wanna cut budget, plz don't to that on marketing your product. currently no advertisement in international magazine at all for MAS, what happen?
really?..i've seen MAS ad in Times and the economist thou.

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Old April 25th, 2008, 04:38 PM   #1153
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Times...?which issue?...i've never seen them since last 3 months....

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Old April 25th, 2008, 06:46 PM   #1154
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AirAsia flying to India next year

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 April 27th, 2008, 04:16 PM   #1155
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Mandarin now accepted at MAS call centre
Sunday April 27, 2008, TheStar

KUALA LUMPUR: Customers can now use Mandarin when they call Malaysia Airlines’ call centre.

Malaysia Airlines’ Senior General Manager (Network and Revenue Management), Datuk Bernard Francis said this was the third language customers can use to communicate, besides Malay and English.

However, the service is not available for calls related to Enrich loyalty card, customer feedback and mishandled baggage.

“This enhancement is introduced due to the increasing number of Mandarin-speaking customers who patronise our flights,” Francis said in a statement.

He said Tamil would be offered within the next three months.

The service is available from 8am to 10pm on weekdays and from 9am to 6pm on weekends. The call centre number is 1-300-88-3000 and it handles calls from Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 05:09 AM   #1156
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KUALA LUMPUR: Travel to any domestic destination for zero fare on Malaysia Airlines – that's the new product to be launched today.

These tickets can only be obtained through the MAS website www.malaysiaairlines.com. However, passengers must make bookings within the next 14 days and pay the airport tax and surcharges.

MAS managing director/chief executive officer Datuk Seri Idris Jala said the airline has set aside one million tickets for this offer, which is valid for travel between June 10 and Dec 14.

It is understood that MAS will soon announce its campaign for its Asean routes.

“It could be zero fares or minimum charges but they will be lower than those offered by our competitors at present,” he said.

For the domestic offer, the total charge for travel between the peninsula and Sabah and Sarawak is RM122.40.

For domestic travel without crossing the South China Sea, the charge will be RM81.45.

Previously, the cheapest one-way fare between KL International Airport and Kota Kinabalu – the furthest possible domestic route – cost RM529. A normal ticket for a trip from KLIA to Penang costs RM229 one-way.

MAS' subsidiary Firefly is also offering zero fares for its destinations on its turboprop aircraft.

Idris said MAS had set aside 30% of each flight for “these special Everyday Low Fares” offer.

However, he said that tickets purchased were not refundable and the travel dates could not be changed.

“What we are offering gives everyone a win-win situation. It helps us to meet our business objectives and it provides our customers with an excellent deal.

“You get to enjoy the best of both worlds – really low prices plus our five-star services – our food and beverages, entertainment, luggage allowances and other benefits that come with travelling with MAS,” Idris said.

The zero fare product is part of a business transformation plan that Idris launched last year after MAS managed to record its best-ever profit of RM851.42mil, compared with losses of RM136.43mil in 2006.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 08:16 AM   #1157
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MAS: Full benefit from hub-and-spoke from 2009
From Presenna Nambiar Published: 2008/03/21, BusinessTimes

The RM70 million-RM100 million contribution yearly will come in full force once MAS consolidates its network and cross-selling between airlines accelerates, says MAS managing director

GUANGZHOU: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) said its enhanced global hub-and-spoke network is expected to produce RM70 million to RM100 million per year in additional revenue from next year.

"We will see some contributions this year, but the full benefit of the hub-and-spoke programme will only be felt next year," MAS managing director Datuk Seri Idris Jala told Malaysian reporters here yesterday.

He said the contribution will come in full force once the national carrier consolidates its network and cross-selling between airlines accelerates.

He was speaking before the formalisation ceremony of a code-share agreement between MAS and China Southern Airlines, the largest airline in China.

"We will leverage on the strong growth of Chinese outbound travellers, and expect to see a seven per cent increase in the number of passengers for our China-Malaysia flights," Idris said.

MAS saw the number of passengers on the flights double since the implementation of the code-share arrangement in November last year.

The code-share arrangement between the two airlines now allows MAS passengers to travel to 90 destinations in China from Guangzhou and 38 from Beijing on China Southern.

China Southern chairman Liu Shao Yong said the airline has transported 300,000 passengers and seen a 10 per cent increase in sales from the code-sharing with MAS since November.

Meanwhile, MAS expects to sign two more code-share agreements, with Turkish Airlines in Turkey and Jet Airways in India, in the second quarter of this year.

"With Turkish Airlines, we are looking at a hub-and-spoke arrangement that goes beyond Istanbul to the rest of central Europe. There are some technical issues that we are dealing with now," Idris said.

The two agreements are seen as vital pieces to MAS' hub-and-spoke jigsaw puzzle due to their extensive network.

Idris said the weakest link in the hub-and-spoke network at present is the code-share arrangement with the Bahrain-based Gulf Air.

"Gulf Air currently has limited spokes and we are thinking of strategies to improve the network."

On its six A380 superjumbo order and fleet expansion plans, Idris said that MAS will make an announcement next month.

He did not say whether MAS might scrap its order for the A380, which is two years late in delivery.

Airbus had announced delays in delivery because of wiring complications.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 08:12 AM   #1158
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AirAsia wants more flights to Singapore
by Gan Yen Kuan, 06 May 2008 10:37 AM, THEEDGEDAILY

PETALING JAYA: As Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS) launched an initiative to offer zero- or low-fare seats, AirAsia Bhd has fought back by submitting applications to the transport ministry yesterday to run six additional daily flights to Singapore out of its hub in the low-cost carrier (LCC) terminal in Sepang.

In addition, AirAsia had also applied to fly to Singapore out of Langkawi, Penang, Kota Bharu, Kuala Terengganu, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu, its group chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes said.

“There is no reason why we shouldn’t be given these routes to Singapore,” he told The Edge Financial Daily via telephone yesterday. Fernandes, who was in London, was responding to MAS’s move to offer low fares, an attempt seen to tap the market currently dominated by AirAsia.

“We have no problem with competition, provided it’s fair competition,” he said, “Idris cannot say anymore that AirAsia shouldn’t compete with MAS on the KL-Singapore route.”

“You want to compete, then open it up completely. We want them (more flight frequencies to Singapore) now,” Fernandes added.

The KL-Singapore route was partially open to low-cost carriers (LCC), namely AirAsia and Tiger Airways, on Feb 1. AirAsia now operates four flights a day to and from Singapore.

Previously, this lucrative route was dominated by MAS and Singapore Airlines Ltd. All routes within the major cities in Asean will only be fully opened on Jan 1, 2009, under the Asean open skies policy.

Now that MAS had gone after AirAsia’s market, Fernandes said AirAsia would now “fight for every bit of the market, including the business class market.”

MAS yesterday launched its “Everyday Low Fares” initiative, under which it is offering 30% of its seats for domestic routes at zero fare or low fares, excluding fuel surcharge and airport tax. It will roll out low fares for its Asean routes within this month.

MAS managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Idris Jala said these seats would have been “unsold anyway,” given the average load factor of 70% for its domestic routes, thus it decided to offer low fares to generate additional income.

While AirAsia welcomed MAS’s low fares that would ultimately benefit the consumers, Fernandes said MAS would likely “struggle” with its latest business model.

“MAS is slowly becoming more and more like an LCC. They are neither a FSC (full-service carrier) nor an LCC. They are in between, just like Oasis Hong Kong Airlines.

“I definitely think it (MAS) is going to struggle. History has shown you can only be either one,” he said. Oasis, an LCC that operated long-haul flights from Hong Kong to Vancouver and London, is undergoing a voluntary liquidation after operating for more than a year, incurring accumulated losses of HK$1 billion (RM405.06 million).
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Old May 7th, 2008, 10:19 AM   #1159
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MAS refutes AirAsia’s allegations

by Gan Yen Kuan
SUBANG: Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS) has refuted statements made by AirAsia Bhd group chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes that the local airline industry has not been liberalised fully for free competition.

MAS said in a two-page statement yesterday that Malaysia has open skies agreements with the United States, the United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Taiwan and the Scandinavian countries.

MAS managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Idris Jala said AirAsia “is free to fly to any of these destinations with no limitations on frequency or capacity”.

Malaysia also has liberalised agreements with countries such as China, the Maldives, the United Kingdom and Germany, he pointed out.

“There are enough destinations for AirAsia to fly to, if they really want to do so.

“AirAsia has also introduced new services to a number of routes which Malaysia Airlines serves, such as Hong Kong and Saigon. We are fine with this as it is allowed under the bilateral arrangements,” Jala added.

However, Fernandes’ arguments on Monday revolved around the partial opening of the lucrative Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route.

On that note, MAS said the Asean open skies policy was a result of a collective agreement between all the Asean ministers, and that the agreement had “a clear timetable”.

“All routes within the capital cities in Asean will be opened on Jan 1, 2009, with phased liberalisation for all other points with full liberalisation targeted to take place by 2015.”

Fernandes had opined that MAS’ move to introduce zero- or low-fare seats on Monday had given privilege to MAS to fight against AirAsia and thus, AirAsia was lobbying for fair competition, particularly on the KL-Singapore route.

He had said AirAsia should now be given the rights to run more flights to Singapore to honour the spirit of free competition. He said AirAsia had submitted applications to the Transport Ministry for more flight frequencies into the island republic.

Fernandes had also said the government should remove the subsidies, if any, given to MAS. On that note, Jala said: “We successfully returned the airline back to profitability without any aid or subsidies.” MAS’s subsidiary MASwings is subsidised to operate the rural air services in Sabah and Sarawak. However, it should be noted that MASwings’ profit and loss is separated from that of MAS.

Meanwhile, MAS reiterated its stance yesterday that its “Everyday Low Fares” initiative was meant to create new demand and to encourage people who are not planning to travel to do so.

Jala said it would also boost domestic tourism, counter inflation and encourage better planning among travellers. “Response to Everyday Low Fares has been excellent with Malaysia Airlines’ Internet sales exceeding 900% in the first day of offer.”

On Fernandes’ allegation that MAS spent less than AirAsia and its associate AirAsia X Sdn Bhd in bringing in Australian travellers, Jala said MAS and Tourism Malaysia were jointly investing more than RM1.3 million for this year’s marketing campaign.

“Last year, MAS and Tourism Malaysia jointly invested more than RM2 million in direct promotional activities with tour wholesalers, the Australian media and direct consumer events, contributing to a 15.6% increase in the growth of Australian tourists into Malaysia,” he said.

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Old May 10th, 2008, 07:57 AM   #1160
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AirAsia ready to fly global aid to cyclone-hit Myanmar
Saturday May 10, 2008, TheStar

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia is coming forward to offer air assistance to transport aid to cyclone-hit Myanmar.

The assistance includes sponsoring flights for aid workers and freeing up cargo space for aid materials, said the budget carrier in a statement yesterday.

“This will be a collaborated effort from the AirAsia Group and AirAsia X across more than 100 destinations, utilising its extensive network in all the Asean countries including China and Australia,” said the airline.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and aid and humanitarian agencies as well as members of the public from around the region, can send in their requests to transport aid to [email protected].

Each request will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and is subject to seat availability, the airline said.

AirAsia has five flights daily to Bangkok, while its Bangkok hub currently provides daily flights to Yangon.
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