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Old July 9th, 2008, 08:41 AM   #1201
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AirAsia mounts more flights to Thailand, Indonesia
08 Jul 2008 10:39 AM, THEEDGEDAILY

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia Bhd is increasing flight frequencies to Krabi in Thailand and Palembang and Banda Aceh in Indonesia to meet higher demand from passengers.

In a statement yesterday, it said AirAsia was now offering daily flights from here to those destinations in Thailand and Indonesia starting from July 8. Previously, the low-cost carrier offered only four weekly flights to Krabi and Palembang and three weekly flights to Banda Aceh from Kuala Lumpur.

AirAsia regional head of commercial, Kathleen Tan said: “Currently, we are the only airline to offer daily direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Krabi, Palembang and Banda Aceh.
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Old July 10th, 2008, 08:40 AM   #1202
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AirAsia to take only commercially viable routes
by Doreen Leong, 09 Jul 2008 1:57 PM, THEEDGEDAILY


KUALA LUMPUR: Neither AirAsia Bhd nor its associate AirAsia X is jumping in at the chance of taking over all the unprofitable international routes that Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS) has given up in the last two years because some of those routes do not make commercial sense.

"We apply for routes that make sense to us, where we believe we can create new markets and offer consumers choice. It does not make sense to have our strategy being dictated by another airline's failures," AirAsia X chief executive officer Azran Osman-Rani told The Edge Financial Daily .

AirAsia X is the long haul budget carrier of AirAsia. He added that it also did not make sense to stop AirAsia X from flying on overlapping routes when foreign airlines were allowed to compete directly with MAS.

Azran was responding to comments by Transport Minister Datuk Ong Tee Keat that AirAsia was "welcomed" to apply for those routes cut by MAS.

Ong told the Dewan Rakyat in a parliament session yesterday that it was up to AirAsia to apply to take over the routes before the requests could be considered.

Those international routes deemed unprofitable by MAS include the Kuala Lumpur-Manchester, KL-Vienna, KL-Nagoya, KL-Xi'an, KL-Kolkata, KL-Padang, KL-Ahmedabad as well as Kuching-Perth, Kuching-Sydney, Langkawi-London and Penang-London flights.

Azran said except for the KL-London route, other European routes were not commercially viable, as its planes to be used for ultra-long haul destinations would not have enough seats to make those routes profitable.

It plans to use an Airbus 340 plane, which would have 390 seats for the KL-London route, which is expected to start commercial service early next year.

"What we want is trunk routes such as Sydney, Melbourne, New Delhi, Mumbai, Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing, not those non-trunk routes that MAS has abandoned," Azran added.

He said it was vital to enable AirAsia to connect passengers on those trunk routes in order not to lose out to its low cost competitors such as Jetstar and Tiger Airways that were aggressively expanding their networks.

"Competition is biting at our heels. The government should make strategic decisions based on what is good for the country, not reactive to what MAS can or cannot do," Azran added.

Meanwhile, AirAsia chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said the access to routes should be driven by the principle of safeguarding consumer interest to ensure that there were choices available and competition to keep airfares in check.

"Limiting access to any airline would deprive air travellers of choice and reasonable fares. The issue of non-competition between AirAsia and MAS should not arise because there is overwhelming concrete proof that all routes where our airlines compete, the overall market has grown by leaps and bounds

"MAS has also benefited as it is now making money in the domestic sector, whereby previously it was losing despite being the sole operator," he added.

Fernandes said it would also be a "travesty" to hold back AirAsia X from certain routes, while at the same time, Malaysia Airports was providing incentives to foreign carriers to fly routes that competed head-to-head with MAS.

"Moreover, history shows that these foreign carriers such as British Airways, Air France and now Jetstar have no loyalty to KLIA - retreating at the first sign of trouble," he added.
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Old July 15th, 2008, 04:01 PM   #1203
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MAS to formalise Boeing deal Wed
Published: 2008/07/15

Quote:
The Malaysian carrier will begin taking delivery of 55 B737-800 aircraft from September 2010 onwards

LONDON: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will formalise the deal with the US aircraft manufacturer Boeing to buy up to 55 B737-800 aircraft at the Farnborough Airshow tomorrow.

In announcing the purchase last March as part of its fleet expansion programme, the national carrier said the total cost of the 55 aircraft was US$4.2 billion.

MAS will take delivery of the aircraft from September 2010 onwards.

The Farnborough Airshow outside London is the largest show for the aerospace industry and the public in the United Kingdom. — Bernama
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Old July 15th, 2008, 04:11 PM   #1204
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Jala to steer MAS for another 3 yrs
by Regina William, 15 Jul 2008 10:50 AM, THEEDGEDAILY

PENANG: Datuk Seri Idris Jala is set to remain at the helm of Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS) for the next three years after the expiry of his present contract at the end of the year.

Jala, who became the national carrier’s managing director and chief executive on Dec 1, 2005, said discussions were currently underway and he had indicated positively to continue in his current capacity.

“The government, Khazanah (Khazanah Nasional Bhd) and the board (MAS board of directors) have invited me to continue and the conversations are going very well and I think we have reached a mutual agreement.

“We are having a good discussion and I have given a positive response to their request for me to continue for another three years.

“We are now going through the official process,” Jala told reporters after a Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Alumni public lecture.

Asked how long does he see himself at the helm of MAS, Jala said there was still much to do.

“When I came orginally it was to do the business turnaround which I did and it was very clear in my mind that if the turnaround wasn’t successful, I would have to move on and continue on a new journey.

“Hence, we published our business transformation plan that would put MAS on an entirely new pedestal as we think about reinventing ourselves for the future,” he said.

He said MAS’ reinvention involved giving the best product and services to the customers at the most affordable prices and fares and increasing quality while reducing costs.

“It is a paradox in logic, and by reducing costs and increasing quality we can translate this into affordable fares — that is the ideal situation.

“But to do that, we need to put a lot in place in the company and we need to customise our offer based on the customer demand and so that is the new journey for us. We have started doing that and we hope to move on steadily with it,” he added.

Jala said MAS was not reviewing its aircraft orders, which included 55 units of 737-800 narrow bodied aircraft, 35 of which had been firmed up as replacement for its B737-400 fleet.

The total cost of the 55 aircraft is US$4.2 billion (RM13.74 billion) at list prices with the delivery of the first aircraft slated for September 2010.

Jala said MAS had not firmed up the option for another 20 units of 737-800s, as he predicted a turmoil in the airline business in the next two to three years.

He said there was a risk of overcapacity coming in in the next two or three years and the airline business would tank, and there would be airlines that could not handle their orders.

“I do believe that by leaving 20 of the orders optional and hoping there will be distressed sales of aircraft by airlines which over-ordered and they cannot take or absorb them and they will “jual murah”. If that happens, I will not exercise the option for 20 aircraft and rather take it from those selling.

“If you go by the traditional approach, people will simply determine that if they need 55 aircraft, they order 55 aircraft, but I have done otherwise as we have negotiated the deal so that the price for the optional ones is the same as the firmed ones anyway. So it makes no sense to firm up and you do not have the flexibility,” he said.

On the ATR aircraft deal, Jala said the option of 10 more ATRs for Firefly and five more for MASwings are still in place. MAS had purchased 20 ATR 72-500 airplanes from Aerei da Trasporto Regionale (ATR) with 10 for Firefly and 10 for MASwings. The aircraft cost US$18.5 million each with MAS using its own cash and borrowings for the purchase.

On the A380s, Jala said the first of the six ordered would start arriving in January 2011, one each every month until all the aircraft are delivered by mid-June 2011.
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Old July 15th, 2008, 04:18 PM   #1205
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MAS and India’s Jet Airways to link networks
by Regina William, 15 Jul 2008 10:55 AM, THEEDGEDAILY

PENANG: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is confident of sealing the hub-and-spoke network agreement with Jet Airways India within the next few months.

MAS managing director and chief executive Datuk Seri Idris Jala said no particular date had been set for the deal to take off, as it would depend on the systems issues being resolved.

“The CEO (of Jet Airways) and I (have) already “shook hands” on the main principles and now it is the minor details which has to do with the systems. Our systems have to “talk” with their systems and once we do that it should be within the next few months.

Making the system click had not been easy, he said at a press conference after delivering a public lecture at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).

Asked if MAS was looking at other hub-and-spoke networks, Jala said essentially, the deal in India would see MAS covering most of the key points.

MAS’ hub-and-spoke network is one of the national carrier’s four strategies to sustain its financial turnaround.

When Jala took over the stewardship of MAS in 2005, the airline was operating an inefficient network, flying point-to-point to too many destinations. That has changed. MAS only flies to selected regional hubs, with feeder passenger traffic coming from connecting routes or spokes operated by other airlines under code-share agreements.

Jala said MAS already had a hub-and-spoke network in Africa with South African Airways, Australia with JetBlue Airways, China with China Southern Airlines, Southern Europe with Alitalia, northern and northwest Europe with KLM Airlines, UK with British Midland Flight (BMI) and the Middle East with Gulf Air and Ethihad.

“We will basically have all the key points covered once we ink the deal with Jet Airways,” he added.
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Old July 16th, 2008, 05:12 PM   #1206
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MAS To Raise Fuel Efficiency With New Boeing Planes
July 16, 2008 22:00 PM
From Mikhail Raj Abdullah

FARNBOROUGH (United Kingdom), July 16 (Bernama) - The new Boeing 737-800 aircraft purchased by Malaysia Airlines will enable the national carrier to transform and compete effectively in Asean, China and India as well as domestically.

This is because the 35 B737-800 airplanes valued at more than US$2.6 billion at current list prices are faster and more fuel efficient, crucial ingredients for it to keep ahead as the "race heats up" for air traffic in these markets, MAS executive director Tengku Datuk Azmil Zahruddin, said here Wednesday.

Like many airlines, fuel efficiency is vital for MAS as jet fuel now accounts for 40 percent of airline costs from 13 percent before, no thanks to skyrocketing crude oil prices which just last week hit a new high of US$147 per barrel.

Boeing, the aircraft manufacturer, said the B737-800 is the best selling version of the successful Next Generation 737 family, known for its reliability, fuel efficiency and economical performance.

The new planes would replace some 37 B737-400 fleet.

It would allow MAS to expand to points which were not previously economically viable and create a strong platform for it to grow profitably, Azmil said in his speech at the signing of the aircraft purchase deal between MAS and Boeing at the Farnborough International Air Show.

Also present to witness the signing were Transport Minister Datuk Ong Tee Keat, MAS Chairman Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid, Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Carson and Dinesh Keskar, BCAs Vice-President, Sales, South and Southeast Asia.

Tengku Azmil signed for MAS, while Carson represented Boeing.

The Farnborough International Air Show on the outskirts of London, is the United Kingdoms largest show for the aviation industry.

Azmil also said the timing of aircraft delivery - beginning 2010 or even earlier - was also important as 400 new aircraft hit the skies of Asia Pacific, India and Middle East last year and a similar number slotted for this year.

"By then, we are optimistic that the weakness in the current global economy would have rectified and air travel will pick up again."

He said the strategic timing will also put Malaysia Airlines in a very solid position to capitalise on the growth that will take place, enabling it to sustain its profitable growth.

MAS has also acquired purchase rights for an additional 20 Next-Generation 737-800s.

Against a backdrop of stiff competition, the liberalisation of Asean skies and rising fuel costs, "we need to transform and transform quickly," said Azmil, who is also the airline's Chief Financial Officer.

"As the race heats up, it is crucial for us to continue to drive growth through increasing our load factor, leveraging on our hub-and-spoke network and maximizing our aircraft utilisation," he said.

He said the MAS-Boeing partnership would help to grow its core network in Asean and build capacity under its Business Transformation Plan.

This entails developing new routes and increasing frequency on existing routes with growth potential and more importantly, position MAS well so that it evolves into the Worlds Five Star Value Carrier.

The 737-800 incorporates an advanced technology wing design that helps increase fuel capacity and efficiency, both of which increase range.

Azmil said MAS would be purchasing these aircraft directly from the manufacturer (Boeing).

He said this would allow MAS to lease the aircraft to other airlines at market value and in the process help to finance the acquisition.

He said the acquisition would be financed through a combination of commercial and structured loan, loans from the EXIM Bank of the U.S as well as proceeds from the proposed rights issue in the fourth quarter of 2007.

However, he said it was too early to decide on the actual form of financing.

Under the airline's financial restructuring in 2002, aircraft for the national carrier were purchased and owned by Penerbangan Malaysia Bhd, MAS' parent company.

He said MAS would finance the purchase "on our own balance sheet as well as use operating leases. This would also give us the flexibility to manage our balance sheet and financing commitments."

-- BERNAMA
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Old July 17th, 2008, 07:59 AM   #1207
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MAS to pay US$2.6b for Boeing planes
From Lokman Mansor Published: 2008/07/17, BusinessTimes




Quote:
Malaysia's national carrier says the delivery of 35 next-generation 737-800s is timed to gain from an expected global economic recovery and pick-up in air travel in 2010

FARNBOROUGH: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) yesterday agreed to pay US$2.6 billion (RM8.4 billion) for 35 next-generation Boeing 737-800 airplanes, to be delivered beginning 2010 and timed to benefit from a turnaround in the airline industry.

The airline has also acquired purchase rights for an additional 20 aircraft, which it will only have to decide on from 2016 onwards.

Chief financial officer Datuk Tengku Azmil Zahruddin said MAS will acquire the planes directly, and will partially sell and lease back from Penerbangan Malaysia Bhd. He said this gives it the flexibility to better manage its balance sheet and financing commitments.

Several funding sources are available, including proceeds from its end-2007 rights issue, commercial loans, or various structured products, Azmil said at a press conference after the signing ceremony here yesterday.



Boeing was represented by its president and chief executive officer (commercial) Scott Carson. Also present were Transport Minister Datuk Ong Tee Keat and MAS chairman Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid.

Azmil said MAS hopes to avoid the common industry mistake of ordering aircraft at the peak of the economic cycle and then taking delivery during a downturn.

"We are fine with the fact that the delivery of the first aircraft is only expected in 2010. By then, we are optimistic that the weakness in the current global economy would have been rectified, and air travel would pick up again," he said.

Azmil said the strategic timing puts MAS in a very solid position to capitalise on the growth that would take place as the global economy recovers, enabling it to sustain its profitable growth and help achieve its vision to be a 5-Star Value Carrier.

The new fleet will replace the existing 37 B737-400s and allow MAS to expand to points which were previously not economically-viable.

"The new fleet will support our aim towards the usage of more agile and fuel-efficient aircraft for our core network in the Asean region, including in the domestic sector in Malaysia as well as China and India. We are gearing ourselves to benefit from the growth in this region," Azmil said.

The single-aisle jet, which can seat between 162 to 189 passengers, can fly 290 nautical miles farther and consume seven per cent less fuel while carrying 12 more passengers than the competing model.

Boeing has forecast a US$3.2 trillion (RM10.3 trillion) market for new commercial airplanes over the next two decades, driven by increasing demand for airplanes to replace older, less efficient aircraft.

The aircraft maker's 2008 Current Market Outlook report expects to see 29,400 new commercial airplanes (passenger and freighter) by 2027, with a balanced demand in aircraft by region.
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Old July 17th, 2008, 08:05 AM   #1208
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Flight training centre to propel MAS growth
By Marina Emmanuel Published: 2008/07/17, BusinessTimes

MALAYSIA'S first flight training centre for turboprop planes has drawn strong demand from regional airlines and it could become a lucrative business for Malaysia Airlines (MAS).

The centre, based in Subang airport, is already almost fully booked until the end of the year. It started operations last month.

It has a US$10 million (RM32 million) full-flight simulator for planes made by French-Italian turboprop maker Aerei da Trasporto Regionale (ATR). MAS bought the simulator from Canadian firm CAE Inc.

ATR has set up the centre in cooperation with Firefly Sdn Bhd, the low-cost travel arm of MAS, ATR said in a statement released at the Farnborough Airshow in the UK on Tuesday.

Firefly and MASwings, another MAS subsidiary, are each set to get 10 new ATR aircraft which have been sold at US$18.5 million (RM59.6 million) apiece.

"We plan to acquire more simulators later and have another building to accommodate the simulator bays for third-party training use," Firefly managing director Eddy Leong told Business Times in a phone interview.

Leong said a total of 60 Firefly and MASwings pilots are expected to be trained at the new centre this year.

"In addition, we have already begun welcoming regional ATR pilots here for training," he added.

"When we said we are building Firefly as a passenger airline, we not only fly the planes but also stress on training our pilots.

"From a cost perspective, we no longer have to send our pilots for training abroad, they can simply go next door for more training."

The centre is the second training outfit for ATR in Southeast Asia, after the one in Bangkok.

ATR chief executive officer Stephane Mayer said the Bangkok centre, operated jointly with aircraft avionics maker Thales, is reaching saturation point with growing requests from Asian customers.

"The Southeast Asian market needs highly qualified pilots to keep pace with its growth, and we are glad to contribute to this development, in addition to recognising a good opportunity to partner with our customer, Firefly," he said in a statement.
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Old July 17th, 2008, 04:45 PM   #1209
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MAS & Italian Firm In MRO Deal
July 17, 2008 21:05 PM
From Mikhail Raj Abdullah

FARNBOROUGH (United Kingdom), July 17 (Bernama) -- MAS Aerospace Engineering, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines, will team up with Italy's aeronautical firm, Alenia Aeronavali to form a comprehensive aircraft maintenance and repair overhaul (MRO) joint venture company.

While they would market these services to other airlines at highly competitive costs in both the local and regional MRO markets, their partnership would provide a boost to the government's aggressive efforts to promote Subang as an aviation hub.

"We can leverage on our collective expertise to continue to offer a high level of safe and secure flight operations," MAS Aerospace Engineering (MAE)'s Managing Director, Mohd Roslan Ismail, said.

He said MAE is to be one of the major MRO providers in Asia.

Mohd Roslan said the facility in Subang, which mainly services the Fokker-50 aircraft, would be able to service the Avions de Transport Regional (ATR) aircraft by the year end with minimal investment comprising tooling and training as the hangar was already there.

As for efforts to enhance Subang as a major MRO hub in the Asia Pacific region, he said the potential was there given that 160 ATR aircraft had already been delivered and a further 272 ordered.

Subang was already among the top three MRO centres regionally. He said potential customers from India, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines would find it cheaper to service their ATR in Subang rather than sending the aircraft back to Toulouse in France.

"We are also finalising the equity shareholding but MAE will be the major shareholder in the joint venture," he said. Meanwhile MAS executive director and chief financial officer Tengku Azmil Zahruddin said MAE, which turned in a revenue of RM350 million last year, hoped to chalk up considerably higher earnings when the ATR servicing operations come onstream fully. Both MAE and Alenia Aeronavali, a company within the Italian conglomerate Finmeccanica and controlled by Alenia Aeronautica, marked the formation of the joint venture with the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MoA) Thursday.

Mohd Roslan signed for MAE while Alenia was represented by its chief executive officer Gennaro Di Capua.

The MRO JV would support the future fleet of 15 ATR aircraft that would join two MAS subsidiaries, Firefly and MASwings, as well as other potential operators in the region during its first stage of operations.

The deal to supply 15 ATR aircraft to Firefly and MASwings was signed in January.

ATR are manufacturers of turboprop aircraft.

In the second stage, the joint venture would develop additional business opportunities in the cargo conversions and specialised activities.

Under the MoA, MAE would be the majority shareholder and fully supported by ATR.

Mohd Roslan and Alenia Aeronavali's Chief Executive Officer, Gennaro Di Capua signed the MoA at the Farnborough International Air Show outside London.

It was witnessed by Minister of Transport, Datuk Ong Tee Keat, Malaysia Airlines Chairman, Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid and Alenia Aeronauticas Chief Executive Officer, Giovanni Bertolone.

"This is a significant occasion for MAE, as Aeronavali has more than 50 years of experience in MRO jobs and is an experienced ATR service provider," Mohd Roslan said at the signing.

Di Capua, in his remarks, said the new JV would combine the efficiency and effectiveness of an experienced airline like MAS and the know-how of the Finmeccanica Groups companies in the MRO sector.

"We are sure that the new joint venture will produce outstanding results in the Malaysian and the regional MRO markets," said Di Capua.

Mohd Roslan said large percentage of the new aircraft deliveries will go to Asia in general, and Southeast Asia in particular, and "we want to capitalise on this".

Alenia Aeronautica is the largest Italian aeronautic player which operates world-wide in the commercial and military aviation, unmanned aerial vehicles and aerostructures.

Alenia Aeronautica also coordinates the activities of Alenia Aermacchi and Alenia Aeronavali - wholly owned companies - respectively active in the design and manufacturing of military trainer aircraft and in the overhaul, maintenance and modification of military and civil aircraft.

Alenia Aeronavali is active in the field of the maintenance and modification of military and commercial airplanes, specifically, in the cargo modification.

It works in the maritime patrol version of the ATR and has developed the freighter conversion of the ATR 42/72, along with its mother company Alenia Aeronautica, which, among other things, is deeply involved in the manufacturing of the fuselage of the aircraft within the Gie ATR.

So far, in addition to performance by Alenia Aeronavali of the continuous maintenance support to ATR operators and Gie ATR, eight ATR aircrafts have been modified with the installation of a large cargo door.

With its joint ventures ATR and SuperJet International, Alenia Aeronautica is the world leader in the regional turboprop market and a top player in the regional jet sector.

MAE started as Malaysia Airlines Engineering and Maintenance division in 1972 and has over 35 years of experience in the MRO field.

With advanced heavy maintenance facilities and six fully equipped hangars at the KL International Airport and its headoffice in Subang, it manages MAS' aircraft fleet that includes B747-400, B777-200, A330-200/300, B737-400.

It also provides MRO support for the Fokker 50 and Twin Otter aircraft in its subsidiary companies, MASwings and Firefly.

-- BERNAMA
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Old July 18th, 2008, 07:51 AM   #1210
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MAS to pay RM8.5b for 35 planes
by M Shanmugam, 17 Jul 2008 11:51 AM
THEEDGEDAILY

LONDON: Malaysia Airlines System Bhd (MAS) has clearly put behind its tormenting past marked by constricting cash flows to conclude the purchase of 35 Boeing 737-800 that will cost the national carrier US$2.6 billion (RM8.5 billion).

The national airline, which will start taking delivery of the new planes from 2010, also purchased the rights to another 20 B737-800. The option, which starts from 2016, includes the rights to swap the planes for the larger B737-900 model.

Interestingly, the purchase comes at a time when airlines are tumbling under the weight of increased oil prices and reduced global travel. At least six airlines in the US and two in Asia have shut down down their operations in the past three months. Less than three years ago, MAS was also on the road towards collapse.

Struggling with cash flow problems, MAS, which is majority owned by Khazanah Nasional Bhd, saw the appointment of a new managing director, Datuk Seri Idris Jala, who embarked on its transformation.

The national carrier sold its building in Jalan Tun Dr Ismail, cut unprofitable routes, reduced manpower, improved operations and had a fund-raising exercise to build its cash which stands at a healthy RM3.5 billion and is increasing.

Management of cash flow has always been the key point in MAS’ turnaround, even in its timing of taking delivery of the new planes.

MAS chief financial officer Tengku Datuk Azmil Zahruddin, who is a key member of Idris’ turnaround team, said by the time the planes are delivered in three years’ time, the airline was optimistic the weak global economic scenario would have been rectified and air travel improved.

“This strategic timing puts Malaysia Airlines in a solid position to capitalise on the growth that would take place, enabling us to sustain our profitable growth and help achieve our vision to be a five-star value carrier,” said Tengku Azmil at the signing ceremony for the purchase of the 35 B737-800 on the sidelines of the Farnborough International Airshow here yesterday.

Tengku Azmil said MAS had the flexibility of taking early delivery if the need arose. On the financing of the deal, Tengku Azmil said it had various options and could even look into the possibility of selling the planes to a leasing company such as Penerbangan Malaysia Bhd or any others and leasing them back.

But industry observers felt that such a scenario was unlikely as the airline industry is going through a consolidation phase now.

The delivery date of 2010 for the B737-800 was also a surprise as Boeing and Airbus, the two main manufacturers of airlines, had until the middle of last year stated that their manufacturing slots were full until 2012. To this, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Scott Carson said: “MAS drove a challenging deal.”

Tengku Azmil said based on industry estimates, about 400 new aircraft had hit the skies in Asia-Pacific, India and the Middle East last year and another 400 were expected to hit the region this year.

Coupled with the liberalisation of Asean skies and rising fuel costs, Tengku Azmil said that MAS needed to transform quickly.

As the race heats up, it is crucial for MAS to continue to drive growth through increasing the load factor, leveraging on the hub-and-spoke network and maximising aircraft utilisation.

The new single-aisle B737-800s will replace the existing B737-400. The new planes have better fuel capacity and efficiencies which increase its range, higher seat configuration and is capable of cruising at a higher altitude of 41,000ft compared with 39,000ft for its competition.

Tengku Azmil said the new fleet would support MAS’ objective of more agile and fuel-efficient aircraft to serve its core network in the Asean region including the domestic sector in Malaysia, China and India.

The B737-800 is the first major purchase of jet engine planes by MAS in recent years. Early this year, it signed a deal with France-based ATR, a joint- venture company between Italy’s Alenia Aeronautica and EADS, the manufacturer of Airbus.

The deal was to seal the purchase of 15 turbo-prop planes to boost its fleet for its sister company Firefly. There is an option for another 15 ATRs.

Apart from the single aisle B737-800, MAS is also looking to purchase 50 wide-body planes in its move to replace the existing fleet with higher fuel efficiency planes. MAS also will take delivery of six A380-800 in 2011.

So far, only Singapore Airlines has taken delivery of the giant A380 which is the showcase of EADS.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 08:04 AM   #1211
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MAS unit plans venture with Alenia Aeronavali
From Lokman Mansor Published: 2008/07/18, BusinessTimes

FARNBOROUGH: MAS Aerospace Engineering (MAE), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS), plans to set up a joint venture in Malaysia with Italy's Alenia Aeronavali to provide aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services.

Both companies signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) at the Farnborough International Air Show here yesterday that will see MAE having majority stake in the venture.

MAE managing director Mohd Roslan Ismail said the proposed MRO will support the future fleet of 15 Avions de Transport Regional (ATR) aircraft that will join two MAS subsidiaries, namely Firefly and MASwings, as well as other potential operators in the region during its first stage of operations.

"In the second stage, the joint venture will develop additional business opportunity in the cargo conversions and specialized activities," he said at the signing ceremony.

Alenia Aeronavali was represented by its chief executive officer Gennaro Di Capua. Also present were Transport Minister Datuk Ong Tee Keat, Malaysia Airlines chairman Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid, Malaysia Airlines executive director and chief financial officer Tengku Datuk Azmil Zahruddin, and Alenia Aeronautica chief executive officer Giovanni Bertolone.

Alenia Aeronautica, a Finmeccanica Company, is the largest Italian aeronautic player which operates world-wide in the commercial and military aviation, unmanned aerial vehicles and aerostructures.

Roslan said Aeronavali has more than 50 years experience in MRO jobs and is an experienced ATR service provider.

"We can leverage on our collective expertise to continue to offer a high level of safe and secure flight operations. We can also market these services to other airlines at highly competitive costs," he added.

Di Capua, meanwhile, said the new venture will combine the efficiency and effectiveness of an experienced airline like MAS and the knowhow of the Finmeccanica Group's companies in the MRO sector.

"We are sure that the new joint venture will produce outstanding results in the Malaysian and the regional MRO markets," he said.

MAE started as Malaysia Airlines' Engineering and Maintenance division in 1972 and has over 35 years of experience in the MRO business.

With heavy maintenance facilities and six fully-equipped hangars in KL International Airport and its head office in Subang, it manages Malaysia Airlines' aircraft fleet and provides MRO support for the Fokker 50 and Twin Otter aircraft in its subsidiary companies, MASwings and Firefly.

Roslan said MAE also perform third party maintenance work for other airlines such as Qantas and Lufthansa, which comprises about 40 per cent of the business.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 08:05 AM   #1212
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Malaysia Airlines to add capacity to shorter haul routes
By Chong Pooi Koon Published: 2008/07/18, BusinessTimes


MALAYSIA Airlines plans to reshuffle its capacity to shorter haul routes as it foresees more travellers, hit by the expensive airfares, opt for nearer holiday destinations.

The carrier recently raised its fuel surcharge on international routes by up to 80 per cent, warning at the same time that travellers should be prepared for more expensive air travel due to the skyrocketing oil prices.

Despite the sharply higher airfares, MAS managing director Datuk Seri Idris Jala does not expect passengers to stop travelling altogether. Instead, he expects them to shift their holiday destinations from faraway places to cities nearer to home.

"People will still fly and the load still there, but we expect them to shift their path. From long haul they will move to the medium, and from medium to the short distance," Idris told reporters after the Bloomberg Leadership Forum in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

"So what you can do is divert some of the capacity onto the routes where you think the shift will take place. We will rejig some of our capacity and put more capacity on the shorter haul routes," he added.

He said MAS' load factor has been holding up well at 70 per cent in the first six months this year and it haven't seen a drop in demand. Its planes were 69 per cent filled during the same period last year.

Idris said some corporate customers may downgrade to business class or economy from first class before as they try to save costs.

"But the passenger (in total) still spend the same amount of money," he said.

Echoing many others, Idris, who had spent a good part of his career working with oil major Shell, blames the dizzyingly high crude oil prices on financial speculations.

"The price of oil at about US$140 a barrel is very unfair to the world economy," he said.

"If you look at the portfolio of most oil companies, it is already commercially viable for them to extract and produce when crude oil trades at US$40 per barrel. Anything above that is speculation," he said.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 06:44 PM   #1213
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AirAsia To Start Pekan Baru-Singapore Flight August 14
July 18, 2008 22:24 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, July 18 (Bernama) -- Low cost carrier, AirAsia, is scheduled to have its first flight from Pekan Baru, Indonesia to Singapore on August 14 this year. In a statement Friday, AirAsia said it will fly from Pekan Baru to Singapore three times a week. The new route, managed by AirAsia in Indonesia, is the first to be offered by a local based airline in Indonesia.

"We see the latest Pekan Baru-Singapore route as a sign of AirAsia's confidence in capturing the ASEAN market," said its group chief executive officer, Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes. With this new addition, AirAsia now serves three international destinations from Indonesia, namely Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching), Thailand (Bangkok) and Singapore plus eight Indonesian domestic routes from Jakarta.

Tony added that this new route, supported with the already established Pekan Baru-Kuala Lumpur route, will provide enhanced connectivity for locals to the rest of the region. The booking period for special fares from Pekan Baru to Singapore and from Singapore to Pekan Baru which started on July 17 will end on July 27.

-- BERNAMA
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Old July 20th, 2008, 04:20 PM   #1214
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AirAsia adds new route to its Indonesian network
Sunday July 20, 2008, TheStar

SEPANG: AirAsia has added a new route to its Indonesian network.

The Pekan Baru-Singapore route, managed by AirAsia in Indonesia, will be the first to be offered by a local-based airline in the archipelago. Currently, the airline serves two international destinations from Indonesia, which are Malaysia and Thailand, as well as eight domestic routes from Jakarta.

AirAsia group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said the latest route was a sign of the airline's confidence in capturing the Asean market.

“This new route, supported with the already established Pekan Baru-Kuala Lumpur route, provides enhanced connectivity for Indonesians to the rest of the region.

“It is a pleasure for us to provide accessibility and low fares to the people of Pekan Baru and Singapore. We expect our low fares and innovative services to continue to attract guests to fly with us,” said Fernandes in a statement on Friday.
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Old July 22nd, 2008, 08:09 AM   #1215
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AirAsia opens ticket sale for KL-Manado route
Published: 2008/07/22

AIRASIA Bhd will open for sale today tickets to the new route to Manado, Indonesia, from Kuala Lumpur where it will start its inaugural flight with three direct weekly flights on September 12.

In a statement yesterday, AirAsia said Manado was its 15th destination and it was the first international airline to service the route from KL.

Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi, is the main gateway to the Indonesian archipelago comprising Minahasa, Bolaang, Mongondow and the island of Dangihe Talaud.

Group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said AirAsia’s guests in North Sulawesi could take advantage of its vast network to over 102 routes.

“With this new air connectivity, the people of Manado will have a better access to more low-cost and other international routes where AirAsia and affiliate, AirAsia X, flies to and from KL,” he said.

The promotional fare starts from as low as RM49 for the booking period from July 22-27, 2008 for the travel period from September 12, 2008 to April 30, 2009. — Bernama
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Old July 22nd, 2008, 05:56 PM   #1216
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Nice that Air Asia Indonesia and its Air Asia bhd are doing very well in the market...growing routes within Indonesia and outside the country.

Now every month i always heard new routes from AirAsia Indonesia.

cheers
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 10:40 AM   #1217
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AirAsia to launch Flights between Kuala Lumpur and Guilin, China

AirAsia is to launch four direct weekly flights between Kuala Lumpur’s Low Cost Carrier Terminal and Liangjiang Airport in Guilin, China, from 3 September 2008.

To celebrate the new route, AirAsia is offering a special launch fare of just RM88 (CNY200) for bookings between 23 – 27 July 2008 and travel between 3 September 2008 and 30 April 2009. The promotional fares are for one way travel and exclusive of all taxes, service fees, surcharges etc.

Guilin, situated in the northeast of the Guangxi Region, is one of China’s most popular tourist destinations, welcoming over 13 million foreign visitors in 2007. Renowned for its unique scenery and cultural heritage, the city of Guilin is home to some of the world’s most famous natural tourist attractions including Seven Stars conversation park and Ri rivers.

Guilin is famed for its captivating natural beauty, serene rivers and majestic natural formations and is without a doubt, one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Asia. Surrounded by mountains 200 million years in the making, Guilin’s landscape is a product of the earth’s movements; karst formations moulded through years of erosion to form rock hills with bizarre shapes. If that isn’t enough to keep one enthralled, Guilin also has two crystal clear rivers running through the city, around which many fairytales and fables have been woven.

Dato’ Sri Tony Fernandes, CEO AirAsia, said, “As a key tourist destination in China, Guilin is a valuable addition to AirAsia’s growing route network in Southern China. Considering the region’s popularity as a holiday destination, we are confident that there will be plenty of demand for the Guilin route.”

The launch of the new Guilin route marks the airline’s seventh destination to China, a route network which has carried over 2.2 million passengers to date.

=================================================


Flight Info

Coming Soon!
Kuala Lumpur - Balikpapan
Kuala Lumpur - Batam
Kuala Lumpur - Tiruchirapalli
Kuala Lumpur - Tianjin

==============================
New Destinations
Kuala Lumpur - Guilin
Kuala Lumpur - Manado (North Sulawesi)
Kuala Lumpur - Makassar
New Routes
Pekanbaru - Singapore
Bali - Kuching
Bali - Kota Kinabalu
Jakarta - Kuching
Jakarta - Kota Kinabalu
Jakarta - Penang
Pekanbaru - Kuala Lumpur
Medan - Penang
Surabaya - Johor Bahru
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Old July 24th, 2008, 08:16 AM   #1218
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Guilin is AirAsia’s seventh China stop
Thursday July 24, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia has announced its seventh destination in China – Guilin in the north-east Guangxi Province.

Guilin is one of China's most popular tourist spots, having welcomed over 13 million foreign visitors last year, the budget airline said in a statement.

The inaugural flight is set for Sept 3.

The airline will operate four weekly flights between the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal in Sepang and Liangjiang Airport in Guilin.

AirAsia will be the first and only airline from Malaysia to offer a direct service between the two cities, it said.

To mark the Kuala Lumpur-Guilin route, AirAsia is offering a special launch fare starting at RM88 (200 yuan) for the booking period until Sunday.

Travel period for the promotion is from Sept 3 to April 30.

Online bookings for the special fare can be made via www.airasia.com. – Bernama
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Old July 26th, 2008, 05:27 AM   #1219
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MAS flying Chelsea on its Asian tour
Saturday July 26, 2008, TheStar

PETALING JAYA: Chelsea is being flown by Malaysia Airlines for its 2008 Asian tour which will also see them in action at the Shah Alam Stadium on Tuesday.

The national carrier has already taken the 2005/6 English Premier champions to Guangzhou for their first game against Guangzhou Pharmaceutical where Chelsea won 4-0 on Wednesday.

The MAS chartered flight took the team to Macau yesterday where they will play Chengdu Blades on Saturday before heading to Malaysia to take on the national selection.

After that, Chelsea will fly MAS to Russia for the Railways Cup.

MAS signed an agreement yesterday with football consultancy ProEvents International Sdn Bhd to be the Chelsea official air charter for the tour.

Last year, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) chartered football club Manchester United.

“When it comes to providing air charter services for world-class soccer clubs, MAS has consistently maintained its competitive edge for many years as the preferred carrier for these recognised teams.

“This is evidenced by our success in securing the business to fly 5-star soccer clubs like Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona and now Chelsea with an entourage of about 100 persons,” said its executive director and chief financial officer Tengku Datuk Azmil Zahruddin.

Fast-tracked check-in for departures, specially made in-flight seat headrests with the Chelsea Asia Tour 2008 insignia, seamless baggage restoration on arrival and exclusive in-flight entertainment are among the special treatment arrangements the airline has put in place for this purpose.

The Chelsea-Malaysian selection match will kick-off at 8.45pm. For ticketing details visit www.ticketpro.com.my or call 03-7880 7999.
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Old July 26th, 2008, 05:53 AM   #1220
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MAS buckles up for bumpy ride
By Lokman Mansor, Published: 2008/07/26, BusinessTimes

WHILE airlines worldwide grapple with heavy losses from escalating fuel prices, with some even on the brink of bankruptcy, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is buckling up for the bumpy ride but, at the same time, planning for brighter skies ahead.

"In the short term, we are looking at some capacity cuts, but we are also building the base for growth and expansion in the medium to long term," executive director and chief financial officer Datuk Tengku Azmil Zahruddin said.

Beginning late next month or early September, MAS will start reducing frequencies on some routes or deploy smaller aircraft to optimise capacity. Where previously it flew to Los Angeles seven times a week, for example, this might be cut down to five, he said.

In total, MAS is looking at a reduction of 1.75 billion available seat kilometres (ASK) this year. It will involve certain regional flights as well as the Americas, North Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Europe and South Asia.

Briefing the Malaysian media during the Farnborough International Airshow in the UK recently, Tengku Azmil said MAS was also taking steps to grow its network in anticipation of a turnaround in the air travel sector.

It wants to better match aircraft to network, operate more cost-efficient planes and simplify its fleet to only one model each for narrow-body, wide-body and ultra-large wide-body aircraft.

"From our perspective, now is the right time to look at it. At Farnborough, we are seeing fewer orders than in previous years. And because demand is dropping, this is the time to get a more decent deal from aircraft manufacturers," Tengku Azmil added.

At the airshow, MAS signed a US$2.6 billion (RM8.5 billion) deal to buy 25 next-generation Boeing 737-800s. Delivery will start in September 2010. It has options for another 20 narrow-body planes.

Through Penerbangan Malaysia Bhd (PMB), MAS will also take delivery of six wide-body A380-800s from 2011. This year, MAS subsidiaries Firefly and MASwings will start receiving up to 15 ATR turboprop aircraft.

"For the ultra wide-body model, discussions are being held with both Airbus and Boeing. There is no fixed timeline for orders to be placed, but we're targeting for the end of 2008.

"This will be the last piece of our fleet plan

"We've been quite busy in terms of ordering new aircraft. This is a period of renewal for us, based on medium- to long-term growth plans, irrespective of what it looks like in the short term," Tengku Azmil said.

While waiting for the new planes to arrive, MAS is refreshing its existing fleet for domestic and regional routes.

This involves 41 A330s and B737s and includes refurbishing seats and installing larger video screens.

Tengku Azmil believes that by the time the new planes arrive, the economy will have begun to turn around, with Asean, China and India showing the highest growth potential.

"We are fortunate to be in proximity to these growth areas and the strategic timing of aircraft delivery means we will be ready to capitalise on this growth," he said.

Over time, MAS will likely move towards a mix of direct ownership and lease of aircraft, beginning with the ATRs, Tengku Azmil added.

At present, all its aircraft are leased from PMB.

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