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Old October 21st, 2008, 09:33 PM   #1301
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AirAsia among top 5 most admired airlines
Published: 2008/10/22 BusinessTimes

AIRASIA Bhd is among the top five most recognised and admired airlines in the Asia-Pacific region in a survey by market insight company, TNS.

In a statement yesterday, AirAsia said it was the only low-cost carrier to be listed among the "Top 10 Asia-Pacific Airlines" category, which saw it coming ahead of other full-service, legacy carriers including Qantas and Malaysia Airlines.

It said the category formed part of the Asia-Pacific Top 1,000 Brands 2008 survey which was produced in cooperation with the Hong Kong-based Media magazine.

A total of 3,600 people were surveyed across 10 countries, covering 12 major product and service categories.

Group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said to be the only low-cost carrier featured in the category was a great achievement for the airline.

He said AirAsia's low-cost model was an attractive customer proposition which was strong enough to compete with premium airlines such as Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific.

“Over the last seven years AirAsia has quickly become a household name, and with flights operating from every Asean country, we are making air travel an affordable reality for everyone across Asia,” he said. — Bernama
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Old October 22nd, 2008, 10:23 AM   #1302
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No hidden costs in Malaysia Airlines' bargain fares


SUBANG, Malaysia: Malaysia Airlines has introduced All-Inclusive Low Fares for destinations within Malaysia, ASEAN countries and Australia.

This means the advertised fares are inclusive of taxes, surcharges and fees, with no hidden costs for such items as fast boarding and onboard food. The makes the airline the first carrier in Malaysia to offer all-inclusive fare advertising.

Managing director and CEO Dato’ Sri Idris Jala says the move follows feedback from customers - “On top of that, we are taking a bold approach by slashing our Everyday Low Fares by a further 50 to 73 per cent on domestic and ASEAN destinations."

Two million seats are on offer with Australian destinations like Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane covered by the promotion. Jala says the seats offered in the special deal represent 30% of surplus seats that would otherwise be unsold, giving the airline the ability to recover fuel costs. “This is a win-win situation for all. Our customers enjoy low fares while we fill up our aircraft."

Customers who buy the new fares will have all services such as refreshments on board, convenient schedules, on-time departures, 20kg baggage allowance and allocated seats. Idris Jala (left) is pictured with the airline's senior general manager
for network and revenue management, Bernard Francis.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 09:38 PM   #1303
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AirAsia sees robust growth despite global crisis
Published: 2008/10/23

Quote:
Although it is not going to be easy, the airline has to maintain demand by having the lowest fares and good products, says its chief executive officer
DESPITE the challenging global financial crisis, low-cost carrier AirAsia is confident of continuing to experience robust growth, bolstered by a sustainable business model, chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said.

“We think that we are in a strong position. We will continue to invest in our brand and increase demand through quality products while expanding routes,” he told reporters after a media briefing on AirAsia’s latest 5-Star Enhancement in Kuala Lumpur today.

He, however, said nothing was guaranteed as it was not known what was around the corner.

According to Fernandes, AirAsia was ready to face this challenging period as he had earlier predicted the eventuality.

“All I can say is that we will maintain a consistent strategy and change our products. We are a low-cost carrier and will not pretend to be something else.

“But, we are a high-quality low-cost carrier,” he said.

Fernandes said the way out of recession for AirAsia was growth.

He said some airlines would deal with the recession by contracting. “But I am not going to waste five years of hardwork by throwing away the routes and brand development.

“It is going to be a long recession. I have been predicting this for two years and we are ready for it.

“Although it is not going to be easy, we have to maintain demand by having the lowest fares and good products,” he stated.

Being the largest low-cost carrier in Asia, AirAsia is able to compete with other full service airlines by maintaining its low fares and adding yet another sparkle to its already 5-star service, by enhancing its On-Time Guarantee.

The On-Time performance of flights refers to the departure of flights within 15 minutes of their scheduled departure times.

AirAsia is the only airline in the world that provides its customers with an innovative protection like the On-Time Guarantee. It is an innovative protection provided by the airline for customers against flight delays.

Beginning November 1, 2008, the AirAsia On-Time Guarantee cuts waiting time from three to two hours. Customers affected by flight delays of more than two hours are eligible to receive an e-gift voucher.

Each e-gift voucher is worth RM200 and may be used to buy a seat on another AirAsia flight or redeemed for any AirAsia product or service. - Bernama
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 09:45 PM   #1304
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I wonder if the global slowdown is good or bad for low cost carriers.. low fuel price on the one hand, but maybe lowered demand on the other.
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Old October 25th, 2008, 03:51 AM   #1305
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AirAsia Enhances On-time Guarantee For Passengers

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 24 (Bernama) - AirAsia, the leading and largest low-cost carrier in Asia, will enhance its on-time guarantee, a protection for its passengers who are affected by flight delays.

Beginning next month, the on-time guarantee cuts waiting time from three to two hours, making those affected by flight delays of more than two hours eligible to receive e-gift vouchers.

Each e-gift voucher is worth RM200 and may be used to buy a seat on another AirAsia flight or redeemed for any AirAsia product or service, the airline said in a statement.

Commenting on the upgraded on-time guarantee, AirAsia's group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said: "The gap between us and full-service airlines has narrowed from our first day and I dare say we are better than many of them."

The enhanced on-time guarantee is a benefit passed on to AirAsia passengers as a result of the airlines improved on-time performance for flights across its entire network, he said.

The airline said in just three months since the on-time guarantee was launched in June this year, the number of AirAsia flights that were delayed by an hour or more has dropped from three percent in July and four percent in August to two percent in September.

As a direct effect, AirAsia has seen its on-time performance for flight departures improving from 89 percent in July and 85 percent in August to 90 percent in September, it added.

-- BERNAMA
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Old October 25th, 2008, 07:48 AM   #1306
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AirAsia to add one more frequency to Singapore
24 Oct 2008 10:45 AM

SEPANG: AirAsia Bhd is adding one more additional frequency to Singapore from its Kuala Lumpur hub, due to an overwhelming response from its guests, the low-cost carrier said yesterday.

With the new addition, AirAsia will now have a total of seven daily direct flights from Kuala Lumpur-Singapore starting Dec 1, 2008.

In a statement yesterday, AirAsia said to celebrate the new frequency, it was offering free seats and waiving the fuel surcharges. Passengers will have to bear the taxes and administration fee.

This offer is available exclusively online at www.airasia.com for the booking period from Oct 23 to Oct 28 for the travel period from Dec 1 to July 31, 2009.

AirAsia regional head of commercial Kathleen Tan, said: “We have been steadily building up our presence in the Lion City, having only recently announced four additional frequencies from Kuala Lumpur and new daily flights from Kota Kinabalu and Kuching to Singapore in October alone."

"There are robust demands between the two major cities and tourist gateway in the region. Since its inception last February, we have recorded over 90% load. We are confident that this new additional frequency will do just as well."

Jointly, the AirAsia group will have a total of 101 flights weekly to Singapore from various points in the region which include 49 flights weekly from Kuala Lumpur, seven weekly from Kota Kinabalu, seven weekly from Kuching, seven weekly from Phuket, 28 weekly from Bangkok and three flights weekly from Pekanbaru, Indonesia.
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Old October 27th, 2008, 10:27 AM   #1307
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AirAsia gets nod to fly to India
Updated: Monday October 27, 2008 MYT 2:46:32 PM By ROYCE CHEAH TheStar

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia has finally conquered its “last frontier” with the Indian Government giving the low-cost carrier approval to fly to India.

AirAsia chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes said the airline would start selling tickets to Tiruchi in Tamil Nadu at midnight on Wednesday with the first flight to take off on Dec 1 at 7.40am.

“It will be a daily flight and we are looking at even adding a second flight now as the initial response has been tremendous,” he told reporters Monday during a press conference here.

Special promotional prices for the flight will cost RM49 one-way while the normal ticket price will cost about RM200 one-way.

Fernandes said plans are now in the works for the next one and a half years to fly to many more destinations in India including Madras, Madurai and Kochi with AirAsia.

“AirAsia-X meanwhile will fly to places like New Dehli, Bombay, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Calcutta,” he added.

He said AirAsia would initially invest between RM5mil to RM7mil to set up infrastructure in India and he is confident that it will do well.

“This is an exciting period for us and I’m looking at a high load factor of at least 90% for our first flight,” he said.

Fernandes said it had taken the airline seven years to reach this stage and with India now in its pocket, his mission as CEO is complete.

“I had said then that India would be the last place we need to get to. It is now over to AirAsia-X to grow the business to Japan, South Korea, Europe and the United States.”

Fernandes said he expects a huge growth in Indian tourism in Malaysia and that he is not worried about the global economic slowdown.

“I believe that you have to be innovative. While other airlines are cutting back we are expanding and can take up their slack.

“Maybe some of the population in India cannot afford to fly with us, but there are many more who can and this is the market we are after,” he said.

Fernandes also said, in response to recent Malaysia Airlines (MAS) advertisements, that his battle with MAS is over and that it is time to move on.
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Old October 28th, 2008, 03:46 PM   #1308
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AirAsia Offers Free Seats To Singapore
October 28, 2008 19:58 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 28 (Bernama) -- Asia's largest low-cost airline, AirAsia, is launching a free seat campaign to celebrate its newly added frequencies and services to Singapore from East and West Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

"We are thrilled to be adding frequencies and introducing new services to Singapore.Giving out free seats to our customers is the perfect way to share the excitement with them," Regional Head of Commercial AirAsia, Kathleen Tan said in a statement Tuesday.

To celebrate, the airline is giving away free seats to Singapore from Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Pekanbaru, Phuket and Bangkok.

Customers only have to bear the fuel surcharges, airport tax and admin cost.

The free seat promotion will commence on Oct 29-Nov 2 for the travel period of Dec 1, 2008-July 31, 2009.

"While other airlines are cutting back on routes, we are expanding and have the ability to service the underserved markets," she added.

This offer is available exclusively via online at AirAsia's website at www.airasia.com.

-- BERNAMA
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Old October 29th, 2008, 10:37 AM   #1309
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No-frills AirAsia to fly to India from Dec. 1


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia

Malaysia's budget carrier AirAsia will fly to the southern Indian city of Tiruchirapally from Dec. 1, its first destination in India that marks a toehold into a market that has long been out of its reach, its chief said Monday.

AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes said tickets will go on sale at midnight Wednesday with the first flight taking off from Kuala Lumpur's low-cost terminal at 7.40 a.m. on Dec. 1.

"It is fantastic.We finally got there. It is the final frontier for us. This was the last flag we had to plant," Fernandes told The Associated Press.

He said AirAsia will fly daily to Tiruchirapally, also known as Trichy, and there is a possibility of adding a second flight because of the "tremendous" response to the plan.

"This is an exciting period for us and I'm looking at a high load factor of at least 90 percent for our first flight," he said.

When AirAsia started in December 2001, it focused on flying within Malaysia. Soon it expanded operations to Southeast Asia and China, becoming the region's biggest and most successful no-frills budget carrier.

Adding India completed the network, Fernandes said.

He would not comment on reports that it was tough to get permission from the Indian government.

According to industry watchers, the Indian government was pressured by full-fare airlines such as Malaysia Airlines, Indian and Jet Airways to keep out AirAsia.

None of the three airlines fly directly from Kuala Lumpur to Tiruchirapally, but they will be hit when AirAsia starts flying to other Indian cities.

Fernandes said plans are afoot to fly within the next 1 1/2 years to 10 more Indian destinations including Chennai, Madurai and Cochin, which are all in southern India and only about three hours away from Kuala Lumpur.

About 8 percent of Malaysia's 27 million people are ethnic Indians, with most of them tracing their roots in southern India.

AirAsia's long-haul affiliate, AirAsia-X, will seek to fly to more distant cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Calcutta.

Fernandes said AirAsia would initially invest between 5 million ringgit ($1.4 million) and 7 million ringgit ($2 million) to set up infrastructure in India over the next six months.

He dismissed fears that the global economic slowdown will hit his airline hard.

"You can either cut everything back or you can say there is still a market. That's our approach. We are not going to shrink. We will face the market head on. People are still looking for value and people still want to fly. That's the market we are after," he said.

AirAsia will also benefit from falling crude oil price as it did not hedge its purchases, like some airlines do. To protect against the possibility of oil prices going up some airlines place advance order at the current price.

"We didn't hedge at all. We feel we are in a good spot," he said.
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Old October 29th, 2008, 10:51 AM   #1310
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AirAsia Offers Free Seats To Singapore

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 28 (Bernama) -- Asia's largest low-cost airline, AirAsia, is launching a free seat campaign to celebrate its newly added frequencies and services to Singapore from East and West Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

"We are thrilled to be adding frequencies and introducing new services to Singapore.Giving out free seats to our customers is the perfect way to share the excitement with them," Regional Head of Commercial AirAsia, Kathleen Tan said in a statement Tuesday.

To celebrate, the airline is giving away free seats to Singapore from Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Pekanbaru, Phuket and Bangkok.

Customers only have to bear the fuel surcharges, airport tax and admin cost.

The free seat promotion will commence on Oct 29-Nov 2 for the travel period of Dec 1, 2008-July 31, 2009.

"While other airlines are cutting back on routes, we are expanding and have the ability to service the underserved markets," she added.

This offer is available exclusively via online at AirAsia's website at www.airasia.com.
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Old October 30th, 2008, 02:45 PM   #1311
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MAS To Offer New Indian Cuisine Inflight Effective Nov 1
October 30, 2008 19:27 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 (Bernama) -- Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will roll out its new Indian menu this Saturday as a complimentary in all classes of its international medium- and long-haul flights irrespective of fare paid.

In a statement here Thursday, its general manager (inflight services), Hayati Ali, said MAS aimed to deliver outstanding in-flight food and beverage offerings in efforts to position its brand as a Five-Star Value Carrier.

"The airline will use the most creative and exceptional inflight meal standards as well as quality set along the halal benchmark," she said.

MAS said the new menu, conceptualised with the joint effort of its main caterer LSG Skychefs and chef Satish Arora and Kannan from TajSATS, would see a refreshed array of Indian vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals.

"The meals will be served inflight on all MAS flights between Malaysia and India," it said.

The menu includes Chettinad chicken, Kerala vegetarian curry, Kodaikaanal mutton, Chettinad cauliflower/mushroom curry, Gongra lamb and vegetable rice briyani, depending on the actual meals cycles applicable on each flight.

-- BERNAMA
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Old October 31st, 2008, 11:24 AM   #1312
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AirAsia X wins New Airline of the Year award
Published: 2008/10/31



LOW-cost long-haul airline AirAsia X has received the 2008 Centre of Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) New Airline of the Year Award.

The CAPA award recognised AirAsia’s significant contribution to the aviation industry in the region by way of its competitive airfares, growing network and market leading product and services.

“The success of AirAsia X rides on the back of affiliate AirAsia’s leading regional network in Southeast Asia and China, where passengers have access to more than 105 routes and the highest daily flight frequencies to most Asian cities,” AirAsia X said in a statement today.

“To be named ’Airline of the Year’ ahead of our competitors demonstrates AirAsia X is setting the benchmark foresight and innovative business strategies,” said AirAsia X’s chief executive officer Azran Osman-Rani.

He said AirAsia X’s inaugural year of operation saw an excellent start to the airline’s forward plans and the award would strengthen its brand in the market. — Bernama

Quote:
Note

AirAsia X, is a new long haul budget airline operated by AirAsia X Sdn. Bhd. (previously known as FlyAsianXpress Sdn. Bhd.) . Its first service commenced on 2 November 2007 to Gold Coast, Australia from its base Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

AirAsia X franchises the brand name of AirAsia, Asia's largest low cost carrier, which uses a common ticketing website, livery, uniforms, and management style with AirAsia.

AirAsia X is also affiliated with Virgin Group, which assists in management, expertise, and infrastructure.
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Old October 31st, 2008, 01:35 PM   #1313
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Crisis hard on MAS


THE tough economic environment has made it difficult for Malaysia Airlines to meet its profit target of 400-500 million ringgit (S$166-207.6 million) this year, the carrier's chief executive said on Friday.

Mr Idris Jala, who was in Singapore for a regional aviation conference, said the airline was sticking with its target despite the global financial turmoil.

'There is no change in the goalpost but it is tough, very tough,' Mr Jala was quoted as saying by Dow Jones Newswires on the sidelines of the conference.

The Malaysian flag-carrier finally swung into the black in 2007 with a record profit of 851 million ringgit, ending a series of disastrous losses.

Mr Jala said the carrier would continue to work on pruning its outlay where possible, including areas such as ground handling facilities and head office expenses.

Malaysia Airlines, which has yet to unveil its third quarter earnings, saw its profit plunge 64.6 per cent to 40 million ringgit from a year earlier in the three months to June due to high fuel costs.

For the six months to June, net profit was down 35 per cent to 160 million ringgit while revenue was 7.0 per cent higher at 7.53 billion ringgit from 7.03 billion a year ago.

Also on the sidelines of the aviation conference, Singapore-based budget airline Tiger Airways remained upbeat that it could weather the turbulent business environment.

'The underlying message for Tiger is we see the opportunity for us to continue to grow our business... We are still very positive,' said Mr Tony Davis, group chief executive of Tiger Aviation which runs Tiger Airways.

Mr Davis said as a budget carrier Tiger was able to price its air fares to the mass market, which would help it cope better during difficult times.

'I think from a low-cost airline perspective we are better suited to manage that volatility than some of the big airlines,' Davis told reporters.

Tiger Airways, which began commercial operations in 2004, connects Singapore with destinations throughout Southeast Asia and with China as well as to Australia.

Aviation experts who spoke at the conference on Thursday warned of 'dark years' ahead for the airline sector as the global economy reels from the financial crisis. -- AFP
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Old November 1st, 2008, 07:36 AM   #1314
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Malaysia gets Lyon landing rights
Saturday November 1, 2008 TheStar

TOULOUSE (France): Malaysia has been given landing rights in Lyon from October next year, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat said.

Malaysia also received three other landing rights in France, he said.

Speaking to reporters after the delivery ceremony of AirAsia X’s new Airbus A330 here yesterday, Ong said the approval was given by the French government after several discussions.

“Starting from October next year, any local airline can land for sectors from Kuala Lumpur or any two secondary airports to Lyon,” he said.

It had not been decided which secondary airports would be involved but that it would not be Subang airport, he added.

Ong said the flight frequency for the new route would be three times per week on commencement and five times a week by October 2010.

Lyon is the second-largest city in France.

At present, Malaysia Airlines operates seven times a week on the KL-Paris route with a passenger load exceeding 70%.

On the three other landing rights, Ong said these were for the KL-Paris-London and KL-Dubai-Paris routes as well as another route from KL to Paris and any destination to the east of Paris. The frequency of flights have not been confirmed.

“We have to discuss this further,” he said, adding that passenger loads for these routes have to exceed 80% for them to be feasible.
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Old November 1st, 2008, 07:37 AM   #1315
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AirAsia X takes delivery of first Airbus A330
Saturday November 1, 2008 By YVONNE TAN TheStar



From left: AirAsia X chief executive officer Azran Osman-Rani, Transport
Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, Airbus SAS president and chief executive
officer Tom Enders and AirAsia Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Sri Tony
Fernandes at a press conference in Toulouse, France


Aircraft will help carrier cut fuel consumption and operating costs

TOULOUSE (France): AirAsia X, the long-haul affiliate of low-cost carrier AirAsia Bhd, has taken delivery of its first Airbus A330 which is expected to significantly reduce its fuel consumption and operating costs.

AirAsia X chief executive officer Azran Osman-Rani said the aircraft, costing some US$200mil, would be financed via debt financing.

“The brand new A330 will enable us to dramatically reduce operating costs, enabling savings made on fuel consumption to be passed on to customers through lower fares,” he said at the delivery ceremony yesterday.

According to Azran, the cost per available seat kilometre for traditional carriers was around 8 US cents while, with AirAsia X’s new Airbus A330, it was 3.5 US cents.

“With the new A330, AirAsia X would be able to fly to more destinations, providing customers with the widest routes in Asia via its AirAsia connections,” Azran said.

AirAsia X placed earlier this year an order for 25 Airbus A330 aircraft. Yesterday’s ceremony marked the first delivery of the carrier’s orders.

The Airbus A330 is powered by Rolls Royce engines. The cabin has 383 seats, with optional premium XL seats for extra leg room as well as in-flight entertainment systems.

Launched in November 2007, AirAsia X currently operates its long-haul services to Hangzhou, China, and Gold Goast, Australia.

It will start flying from Kuala Lumpur to Perth and Melbourne on Nov 2 and Nov 12 respectively.

Separately, AirAsia group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes, who was also present at the ceremony, said AirAsia was confident of its growth despite recent soft market conditions.

“There are two ways of dealing with volatility. You can cut routes where, when the market turns, you will find yourself having to reinvest, or you can continue to focus on growth,” he said.

Fernandes said the “worst” time for the carrier was during the severe acute respiratory syndrom (SARS) attack. “And yet we were able to create demand then,” he said.

To a question, he said the carrier was studying the feasibility of ordering A350 aircraft. “We have been looking at this for a while, it would be a natural progression for us,” he said. “As for the A380, we will leave that to the other guys.”

The A380 can seat more than 800 passengers when configured to its maximum capacity. In comparison, the Boeing 747-400 passenger version can accommodate 416 in a typical three-class layout or 524 passengers in a typical two-class layout.

AirAsia has since 2005 placed 175 orders for A320s. To-date, 50 have been delivered.

Meanwhile, AirAsia customers were surprised Wednesday to receive a personal e-mail from Fernandes apologising for congested lines to the carrier’s call centre.

“I have been working very hard with the team at AirAsia to look at reducing our fuel surcharge and you should look forward to the good news in the next couple of months,” he said.
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Old November 1st, 2008, 08:09 AM   #1316
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No cutback on investments for AirAsia
by Tony Goh, 31 Oct 2008 10:53 PM THEEDGEDAILY

TOULOUSE: AirAsia Bhd is not cutting back on investments in new aircraft despite the current difficult period for the airline industry, as those investments are crucial for the company to expand and realise its potential.

"The new planes are needed for us to be a serious player in the industry. Cutting back means putting off current investments for a later date, which could impede growth. We will go ahead with investments that we think are viable and could add value to the company," AirAsia chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes told reporters before the delivery of the first aircraft to its budget long haul operator, AirAsia X Sdn Bhd, here on Thursday.

"The rest of Asia and in particular Southeast Asia would benefit tremendously from our fleet expansion, as this would provide them with the opportunity to fly and visit places that they have never dreamt of."

He added that the challenges facing the company right now is not as serious as the SARS endemic that greatly affected the travel industry in 2003, and is confident that the country’s pioneer budget airline operator will ride through the current turbulence.

Last week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reiterated its gloomy forecast that airlines worldwide would lose around US$5.2 billion (RM18.56 billion) this year, despite the falling crude oil prices due to falling demand and financing problems, in line with the deepening crisis in the global economy.

International travel recorded a 2.9% decline year-on-year in September, the month when financial crisis in US and Europe dominated headlines around the world, its first drop since the SARS epidemic, according to IATA data.

On the falling crude oil prices and its impact on the budget carrier, Fernandes said the company had always believed that the volatility of oil prices was due to speculative factor and was benefiting from the oil bubble burst.

He also said despite having at least 50% cheaper fuel surcharge than most airlines, AirAsia was looking at the possibility of lowering its charges, and hoped to be able to do away such charges completely.
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Old November 3rd, 2008, 08:22 PM   #1317
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Airasia X Plans Destinations In Europe And India For Airbus A330
November 03, 2008 20:31 PM

SEPANG, Nov 3 (Bernama) -- AirAsia X, the long-haul affiliate of low-cost airline AirAsia Bhd, plans to expand its destinations to Europe, including the United Kingdom, by March next year and also fly to 10 cities in India in the next five years.

These routes would be served by the new Airbus A330 aircraft that the carrier had ordered, said chief executive officer Azran Osman Rani.

AirAsia X has received its first 25 new Airbus A330 last Saturday, and more are scheduled to arrive from end of this year until 2013.

"There is an opportunity now to accelerate on the orders because some airlines are deferring their orders for financing reasons. If we can get the aircraft sooner, we can open up more routes faster," he told reporters after celebrating the airline's first anniversary at the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal here, Monday.

Azran said the airline aimed to cover destinations which are more than four hours in flight duration from Kuala Lumpur, completing the existing AirAsia network.

The 25 new Airbus A330 aircraft ordered by AirAsia X together with AirAsia Bhd's order of 175 aircraft were estimated at a value of about US$6.6 billion.

According to Azran, AirAsia X is confident that it will be able to source the fund to finance the order given its positive cashflow.

"We have already generate positive cashflow since April this year and this is the reason why we managed to convince the finance institution," he said.

The airline, he added, had clinched the deal to finance the first few planes and would talk with banks, both local and foreign, for the other aircraft.

In conjunction with AirAsia Xs first anniversary, the airline will be giving away free seats to all its destination, including the Gold Goast, Perth and Melbourne in Australia and Hangzhou in China.

Launched in January 2007, the company currently flies four times weekly to the Gold Coast, six times weekly to Perth and five times weekly to Hangzhou.

-- BERNAMA
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Old November 4th, 2008, 01:52 AM   #1318
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AirAsia X to soar on the wings of cost-efficiency
By Santha Oorjitham Published: 2008/11/04 BusinessTimes



AS AIRASIA X celebrates its first anniversary of commercial service, chief executive officer Azran Osman Rani is confident it offers the first truly "low-cost" long-haul service.

Many have tried - and some have failed. Hong Kong-based Oasis, for example, went into liquidation in April this year, 18 months after it was launched.

Although Oasis offered low fares, Azran pointed out, it used the same infrastructure and system as full-service carriers - so it was not cost-efficient.

With its new Airbus 330-300, the first of 25, AirAsia's low-cost long-haul affiliate halves the cost - flying at 3.5 US cents per available seat kilometre compared to up to eight US cents on traditional carriers. (It has been using a leased Airbus 330 until now.)

"AirAsia X is the biggest budget airline in Southeast Asia and the cheapest in the world in operating cost," noted Chris Eng, associate director of OSK Research.
AirAsia Bhd group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes "told us to question everything a normal airline does", explained Azran on the "ferry flight" of the new airplane from Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France, to Kuala Lumpur last weekend.

By asking whether every part of the aircraft and the system was necessary, AirAsia X was able to trim the superfluous.

Azran attributes a third of his savings to how the airline uses its planes, including the frequency of flights, leveraged on AirAsia's network of over 70 destinations across Southeast Asia.

Seat density makes up 25 per cent of the cost cuts, with 383 seats on the new plane. On its new flight to Perth, AirAsia X has 28 "XL" seats, each of which is the equivalent of 1.4 economy seats.

The fares for the XL seats are comparable to economy fares on full-service carriers. "That is a good move," said Eng. "Business travelers might 'downtrade' to XL on AirAsia X."

Another 20 per cent of the savings comes from having a single-type mixed fleet. The Airbus planes have very similar flight decks and handling characteristics which reduce training costs and spare parts stockpiles.

Ten per cent more is saved on fuel and fuel-related practices. For example, the CEO pointed out, "We monitored the amount of water for the lavatories. We found that on night flights, passengers use only about half a tank so we fill between 60 to 70 per cent of the tank. That cuts a lot of weight."

And the rest of the savings comes from overheads, including low-cost airports such as the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT), which charges 50 per cent less than Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Out of Singapore, Tiger Airways also offers long-haul flights, with an Airbus fleet similar to AirAsia X. But staff costs and airport charges are lower in Malaysia, OSK's Eng pointed out: "AirAsia X has the base and can maintain that low cost."

And with a larger population, "AirAsia X can feed more passengers into LCCT since it has a bigger domestic base, compared to Tiger Airways."

For now, group CEO Fernandes said, the group is "unhedged and happy. We've kept our model the same and never veered away from our long-term strategy".

And that strategy should pull them through: "If anybody has the chance to succeed, AirAsia does - on long-haul in particular," said Eng.

Transport Minister Datuk Ong Tee Keat, who witnessed the delivery of the Airbus 330-300 in Toulouse, also believes that AirAsia X has a successful strategy.

He said he was confident that the airline could "become a global leader in pioneering and innovative and revolutionary low-cost long-haul business model".
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Old November 4th, 2008, 02:21 AM   #1319
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AirAsiaX’s new Airbus from Perth hits a glitch
Tuesday November 4, 2008
By ROYCE CHEAH

SEPANG: The anticipated tour of AirAsia-X’s new Airbus A330 ended up as a computer slide show after the plane failed to touch down on schedule here due to a delay in its departure from Perth.

AirAsia-X chief executive officer, Azran Osman-Rani told the media, guests and AirAsia staff waiting at the low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) here yesterday that the plane was delayed in the interests of safety.

The plane was to have touched down at the LCCT at 1pm but it only arrived hours later.

“Warning lights for a certain component lit up as the plane was flying here from Perth. The pilot then decided to return to Perth.

“Back there, the onboard computer system was restarted and everything was rechecked. This took six hours, including getting a new time slot to depart,” Azran said.

In an e-mail sent to The Star, a passenger claimed the plane had encountered hydraulic problems.

Asked if he was disappointed with the performance of the first Airbus A330 that AirAsia-X had acquired, Azran said such delays did not necessarily impact the ability of the plane to fly.

“We must test everything. Even if it is going to take three, six or 24 hours, I would not risk it for the safety of the passengers,” he said.

Azran said affected passengers, both from Kuala Lumpur and Perth, were provided with the necessary assistance such as replacement flights and hotel stays.

AirAsia-X had taken delivery of its first A330 on Friday in Toulouse, France. The delivery of the second A330 is expected in mid-December.

Yesterday was AirAsia-X’s first anniversary of commercial service.
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Old November 4th, 2008, 03:44 PM   #1320
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Malaysia Airlines to allow cell phones on flights

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Malaysia Airlines on Tuesday unveiled a new service allowing passengers to make and receive calls on their mobile phones while in air on some routes.

Passengers can also send and receive text messages, and use their Blackberry-type devices to send and receive e-mails, Malaysia Airlines, or MAS, said in a statement.

It said the airline teamed up with AeroMobile, a British company, to become the first Asian carrier to offer in-flight mobile phone and data services via satellite with passengers using their own equipment.

Customers can now safely use their mobile phone or Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) during the flight without affecting the aircraft systems and ground telecommunication networks, the statement said.

The service is currently available on a single Boeing 777-200 aircraft, which flies on different days to selected European, Australian and Asian destinations including China and Japan, said the statement.

The system will be installed on all wide-bodied aircraft in the MAS fleet by next year if it proves to be successful, said MAS chief executive Idris Jala.

"This is one of the in-flight service comforts that we are introducing on a trial basis for our customers," he said. "With this facility, we definitely have a competitive edge and firmly believe that both our business and leisure passengers will very much welcome this new service," he added.

Users will be billed on their regular phone bills by their own service providers as with any other international roaming call.

Passengers will be encouraged to switch their phones to silent or vibrate mode when using them in the aircraft, said the statement.
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