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Old November 21st, 2008, 11:43 AM   #1361
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MAS, Air Mauritius extend code-share
21-11-2008: THEEDGEDAILY

SUBANG: Malaysia Airlines and Air Mauritius have expanded their code-share agreement, opening up more international destinations for Air Mauritius passengers.

Under the agreement, Air Mauritius will add its code on Malaysia Airlines flights operated to various international destinations including onward connections to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Shanghai, Beijing and Bangkok.

In a joint statement yesterday, the airlines said connections to domestic points in Malaysia on Malaysia Airlines were scheduled to take off in the first quarter of 2009.

Malaysia Airlines managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Idris Jala said: “We are pleased with this development in our existing partnership with Air Mauritius. This is in line with our hub-and-spoke strategy to improve feeder traffic into our trunk routes in order to grow our revenue.”

“This year alone, our revenue from the code share increased 20% to RM4 million. With the extension of this code share, we are confident that business will continue to grow steadily,” he said.

The two airlines have code-shared since January 2002. The agreement previously only applied to services between Kuala Lumpur and Mauritius. The extension of this code-share will further strengthen Kuala Lumpur as the gateway for travellers.

Air Mauritius chief executive officer, Manoj R K Ujoodha, said: “The strengthening of our long-standing partnership comes at an opportune time for our two airlines as we endeavour to provide more choice to our customers and provide new services from Thailand and China, initially. The agreement will also enable us to develop tourism to Mauritius from hitherto untapped markets.”

The carriers said in addition, customers could also look forward to the frequent flyer programmes of both airlines being linked, allowing members of both programmes to earn and redeem miles when travelling on all flights operated by either airline. This is expected to be made available by the second quarter of 2009.
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 10:26 PM   #1362
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MAS To Embark On "Pit Stop Project" To Reduce Flight Turnaround Time
November 22, 2008 17:01 PM

SEPANG, Nov 22 (Bernama) -- National air carrier Malaysia Airlines has embarked on a new innovation - reducing its flight turnaround time to 35 minutes from 40 minutes currently and to reduce the number of aircraft used.

Its Senior General Manager, Airport Operations, Yusop Jaridi, said the core objective of the project, "Pit Stop Project" was to reduce the ground transit time for selected B737-400 flights.

The project will be implemented early next month at the KL International Airport (KLIA) but the airline has been testing the new concept since June this year.

Speaking to Bernama recently after the briefing on its new concept here, Yusop said the Pit Stop project will be able to maintain a high level of on-time arrivals and departures as well as improve the efficiency and productivity of resources.

Yusop said the project will also enhance the asset utilisation of ramp equipments such as trolley and cargo king.

In order to achieve the objectives, he said new processes have been put in place such as a new disembarkation, catering and cleaning sequence, new ramp and baggage handling process as well as positioning of parking bays to be as close as possible.

MAS is also introducing a new boarding sequence, with the zoning and embarking of passengers by seat numbers to expedite boarding time. A smooth and speedy boarding process will avoid congestion at the aerobridge, he said.

As for the feedback from passengers with regard to the project, Yusop said, there had been enquiries in the beginning but the passengers had accepted the new concept as it has been more convenient to them.

Yusop said, for the time being, the "Pit Stop Project" will be implemented for domestic flights only at KLIA but it will be extended to all airports in the country.

-- BERNAMA
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 09:45 PM   #1363
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AirAsia X expects profitable 2009
Published: 2008/11/17

TOULOUSE (France): Long-haul budget carrier AirAsia X Sdn Bhd, which has well over RM300 million cash in hand, is set to turn in profits next year, says its chief executive officer Azran Osman-Rani.

"Probably within three to four months from operating our new planes, we will be profitable. With new planes, more passengers will fly," Azran said.

"Most important is cash flow and this is how we convince our financiers. We have been cash positive since April 2008," he said on board AirAsia X's brand new Airbus A330 aircraft on its ferry (first) flight from Toulouse to Kuala Lumpur (KL) recently.

On October 31, AirAsia X took delivery of its first new A330-300 costing US$200 million (RM720 million), which is for its long-haul operation, linking KL with destinations in Australia, North Asia, the Middle East and Europe, complementing the existing AirAsia network.

Launched in January 2007, the affiliate of low-cost carrier AirAsia Bhd earlier this year placed an order for 25 Airbus A330 aircraft.

Powered by Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines, the carrier's new A330 offers accommodation for 383 passengers in a two-class layout, with 355 seats in economy and 28 in the airline's new XL premium class.

Azran said the airline was looking at local and foreign funds to finance the purchase of its 25 A330 planes, estimated at US$5 billion (RM18 billion). So far, financing for the first few planes had been secured.

In addition to its positive cash flow, he said, branding helped the long-haul airline to seek funds in markets which were already badly hit by the credit crunch.

"When we presented to financial institutions in August, we were very fortunate because financiers in Europe had confidence in our brand. We had AirAsia," he said.

"End of August I was still in London. I was trying to convince the financiers. Normally with aircraft financing, you have to settle everything at least six weeks before delivery. We settled everything three and a half hours before take-off," he said.

"October 2008 will always be remembered when the (stock) market crashed. The timing couldn't have been worse. Nobody was supposed to lend. Nature of banks is that they only make money when they lend at higher rates. If you (banks) don't lend, you don't make money."

Despite reports of a global decline in passenger traffic, he said the carrier was still experiencing a strong forward bookings from November to March.

Azran said the second A330 will be delivered in mid-December, followed by three each in 2009 and 2010. The remaining planes are slotted for delivery up to 2013.

"With three planes next year, we can add five new destinations. We hope to fly to Japan, Korea, China, India and at least one more somewhere else," he said.

Azran said the carrier was on track to start its new flights to London in March. For its London flights, AirAsia X is in talks with three airports - Stansted, Manchester and East Midlands.

"We have made all applications and everything looks positive. Hope to announce our sales launch in a month's time.

On its marketing efforts, Azran said unlike traditional airlines which had to wait for passengers to plan their holiday destinations, the carrier had to go the extra mile to woo people to travel to places where they never dreamt of going.

"It involves a lot of pull marketing. You've got to pull passengers in. For instance, we have to collaborate more with tourism bodies, concert or sports organisers. We have to scratch our heads to find reasons for people to travel," he said. - Bernama
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 09:48 PM   #1364
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AirAsia X: No slowing down
By Jeeva Arulampalam Published: 2008/11/24



AIRASIA X Sdn Bhd hopes to grow sales by 10 times to US$1 billion (RM3.62 billion) by the end of 2010, after it achieves its target of becoming a billion-ringgit company next year, said its chief.

While close to 30 airlines globally have gone out of business over the past year, AirAsia X has geared itself to reach RM1 billion in sales next year by expanding routes.

"The psychological test will be reaching the RM1 billion mark for 2009, barely two years into operation. But we will do it and target US$1 billion for the year after that," chief executive officer Azran Osman Rani told Business Times last Friday.

The long-haul low-cost carrier's optimism knows no boundaries, especially given that industries are bracing for what has been dubbed the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

AirAsia X, which operates to Australia's Gold Coast, Perth and Melbourne and China's Hangzhou, will end the year with some US$100 million (RM362.2 million) in sales.

As the carrier takes delivery of 25 A330-300s scheduled from now till 2013, AirAsia X will expand progressively to easily 30 destinations with a minimum of daily flights.

"Our model is to be the trunk that connects Southeast Asia with key Asia-Pacific markets such as Australia, China, India, Korea, Japan and the Middle East," Azran said.

He said AirAsia X will connect the main hubs in Asia Pacific with Kuala Lumpur while its affiliate budget carrier AirAsia provides connectivity across Southeast Asia.

AirAsia X is looking to fly to five cities in Australia, four to five cities in China, three to four in India, one or two in Korea, two or three in Japan and the Middle East respectively.

The three A330-300s to be delivered next year will be used for route expansion to India, either Korea or Japan and another city in China.

While Azran acknowledges that AirAsia X wants to establish a foothold in Europe, the carrier does not have the capacity to do so just yet.

"It will be a challenge because the range is beyond the A330-300 which can only fly up to nine hours. So we have to take a variant of it, the A340-300, which has four engines and can fly further but this means it will burn more fuel," he added.

He said the long-term solution would either be the A350 or the Boeing 787. Both provide the same range as the A340 but are more fuel-efficient.

"With that, we can easily go to a dozen cities in Europe and half a dozen cities in North America and to Africa as well," he said.

However, AirAsia X has not made any decision to buy or lease A350s or B787s, especially since A350s will only be commercially available after 2015.

For its short-term needs, AirAsia X will use a leased A340 for its flights to the UK, starting March 2009.

"If UK proves to be so successful and oil prices remain reasonable, then it is not inconceivable for us to extend our footprint into central and eastern Europe," Azran said.

Its expansion hinges on how many A340s it gets hold of, as this is the only plane that deviates slightly from the A330s.

"The size, the cabin and the cockpit are the same so we can use common pilots. While we are actively looking for more A340s, there are very few out there," he said.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 10:55 AM   #1365
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No route cuts for MAS
Monday November 24, 2008 By B.K. SIDHU TheStar



Airline wants to make profit from every flight despite challenges

MALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) will make seasonal adjustments to its capacity but not scrap routes in the current economic slowdown.

It aims to make profit from every flight even though there are challenges such as a global lack of demand for passenger air travel, the threat of overcapacity and more competition that puts yields under pressure.

“We want to innovate and make the most of what we have. We look to survive but not cut routes and frequencies. We will make adjustments to meet our cost,’’ general manager of sales Datuk Bernard Francis told StarBiz.

Earlier this year, MAS announced a 6.4% reduction in capacity. MAS will make ad hoc adjustments to ensure that it retains a balance in network and fleet utilisation for supply and demand in air travel. The airline’s load factor is “still holding’’ at about 70%.

Newly-appointed Francis wants to beef up sales to grow market share.

To do that, he is reviewing the existing strategies as he feels there are opportunities even in a slowdown. Francis was assigned to his present post on Nov 1. He was previously senior general manager of network revenue management.

To grow its share of the market, he is segmentising the market, customising product offerings to the different market segments, broadening the distribution channels and revving up corporate sales.

“We want to create a lot of products and the biggest would be branding Malaysia as a centre for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE).’’

Francis believes Malaysia has good infrastructure, facilities and services to support the MICE business. He wants to work with Tourism Malaysia to bring in quality customers.

MAS operates in nine regions inculding Malaysia. The others are Asean, Australia, North Asia, South Asia, Middle East and Africa, Britain, Europe and the Americas. Francis says in each region, the aim is to be the first or second player. “We want to anchor strongly in Malaysia even though we are already a dominant player here,’’ he said.

To be the lead player in a particular region means MAS must carry the most number of passengers from KL International Airport (KLIA) to the region.

Other than its lead position in the domestic market, Francis said MAS also carried the most number of passengers from KLIA to China, Europe and Asean countries but he did not provide the passenger numbers.

Francis said MAS would also review its products in greater detail in every single market.

“What is important is that we understand consumer needs and come up with products that cater to that market. Products (in future) will be differentiated. We want to customise them for the different market segments,’’ he said.

Products that MAS will continue to have are “everyday low fares and all inclusive fares.’’

Francis said these were popular products and MAS would consistently innovate and create offerings for the market.

“We will be offering more competitive fares so that we are able to give customers more choices,’’ he added.

To him, marketing should be taken to a new level at MAS. Online booking is becoming a popular option and MAS’ lowest fares are found online. But travel agents are still the biggest contributors to sales for the airlines, making up 80% of sales. Online sales bring in 7%. The rest is from MAS sales offices and centres.

“Travel agents are our important stakeholders and we want to further enhance the incentive programme that is in place.

“We will refine the programme to include all the 670 travel agents. The more they sell, the higher their incentives. MAS will track the agents’ performance from within,’’ Francis said.

Corporate sales is another big area that can grow further. MAS has 1,000 corporate customers and a team that will be pushing for corporate sales to hit 10% of total sales by end-2009 from 5% currently.

MAS’ sales division was previously regionalised but it has now been aligned to the headquarters for the airline to respond quickly to market dynamics. Francis believes he has an excellent team that can help the airline withstand the many challenges in the aviation sector.

“It is a rough patch but we will strive to survive with good leadership,’’ he said.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 10:58 AM   #1366
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MAS flies to the top
Saturday November 22, 2008 TheStar



MALAYSIA Airlines is the biggest gainer after industry magazine Aviation Week tweaked the focus of its annual survey of publicly traded airlines to emphasise the ability to weather the hard times. In the latest Top-Performing Companies (TPC) report, MAS vaulted from 17th to second place.

With a total score of 87.8, the national carrier is sandwiched between Singapore Airlines (SIA) (93.3) and Iberia Airlines (80.2).

“(MAS) has turned out to be the biggest surprise in this year’s report,” the weekly says in a recent analysis of the study.

The airline earned the No.2 spot by making sound decisions on route streamlining and dramatically improving its revenue management, adds the magazine.

Financial fitness is a significant criterion for this year’s TPC rankings. The scores represent the composite of five performance categories: liquidity (30% contribution to total score), fuel cost management (20%), financial health (20%), earnings performance (20%) and asset utilisation (10%).

Aviation Week points out that most airlines are under “extreme financial pressure” as economies falter. “A siege mentality is beginning to take hold, with traffic demand starting to slide and airlines in most regions slashing capacity,” it says.

The magazine quotes Christian Torrego, senior manager of PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory France, as saying, “The industry will go on, but only after a deep transformation and a new focus on efficiency.” The TPC study offers clues as to who the winners and losers will be as this transformation unfolds, says Aviation Week.

(Torrego is a member of the four-man TPC council of airline advisers who helped Aviation Week analyse the results of this year’s study.)

One noteworthy trend is the continued strong showing of Asia-Pacific carriers at the top of the rankings.

Four of the first eight in the major airlines category are from the Asia-Pacific region.

Apart from SIA (leading the pack for the fourth year in a row) and MAS, the others from this part of the world are Qantas and Cathay Pacific.

According to Aviation Week, the TPC advisory panel agrees that these airlines are among the best situated to weather the latest slump. The study also shows that the gap between the Asian and European top performers and the US airlines has only grown larger over the past year.

The magazine says the TPC airline formula has been revamped this year to place more emphasis on the airlines’ ability to survive.

Liquidity is the factor that really sets the highest-ranked airlines apart, ACA Associates managing director George Hamlin is quoted as saying.

“There’s a stark difference (in liquidity) when you get below the top 10,” he adds. ACA Associates is a consulting and financial advisory firm that specialises in the commercial aviation industry, and Hamlin is also on the TPC council of advisers. While it is true that the Asian carriers enjoy some advantages unique to their markets, the TPC analysts also point out that these airlines boast organisational strengths that stem from good management rather than geographical location.

The inherent advantages are, says Raymond Neidl of Calyon Securities, are long-distance routes with very little competition.

Hamlin adds that these airlines operate in a region where economies are still robust, and low-cost competitors have been a relatively recent arrival compared with the US and Europe. Lower labour costs help as well.

Aviation Week says another factor that must be considered is state ownership. Many airlines in this region have significant levels of government investment, which are not factored into the rankings, although state ownership can be an advantage.

However, the TPC analysts agree that in the case of SIA and MAS, they are “so commercially successful that any government safety net is probably of little consequence”.
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Old November 25th, 2008, 04:51 PM   #1367
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It’s RM499 to fly to London on AirAsia X
Updated: Tuesday November 25, 2008 MYT 9:54:48 PM
By CHOI TUCK WO

LONDON: It’s £99 or RM499 one-way – that’s the much-awaited opening fare of AirAsia X’s latest London Stansted-Kuala Lumpur route.

Malaysians flying to London will also pay RM499 for the return flight while travellers from London going to KLIA will pay £99 (RM541) for the return ticket.

Online bookings opened at 8pm Tuesday (Malaysian time) for the five-times-a-week direct flights which will begin in March.

Also on offer are premium seats at £549 or RM1,999. The initial bookings are for the travel period from March 11 till Oct 24 next year.

The AirAsia X flights will use Airbus A340 planes which will have 286 economy and 30 premium seats.

AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman-Rani made the announcement during the route launch at London’s County Hall featuring a special performance by five-member British girl band, The Saturdays.

“The London-Kuala Lumpur route is the realisation of a long-held ambition to open up affordable access between Malaysia and Europe for both the Asean and European communities,” AirAsia Group CEO Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said.

Fernandes said with the airline’s comprehensive route network, the opportunity for Londoners and Europeans to explore Asean has never been greater.

“This new route will benefit all of Asean as it will encourage more economic and tourism activities, bringing in more revenue and creating job opportunities,” he said.

Azran described the London route as a significant achievement, allowing those who had always wanted to travel between Europe and Asean to achieve their dream at an affordable price.

Stansted Airport’s commercial and development director Nick Barton, who finalised discussions with AirAsia X, hailed the launch as a major milestone for low-cost, long-haul air travel around the world.

“This is set to be a hugely popular link for business and leisure travellers seeking affordable long-haul travel options,” he added.

The latest route is the first step for AirAsia to realise its European aspirations and boost Kuala Lumpur as the regional aviation hub and gateway into Asean, China and Australia.

With the launch, Europeans can now see more of Asia for less by tapping into the airline’s network to popular destinations such as Phuket, Borneo, Bali, Angkor Wat and Ho Chi Minh city.

To date, AirAsia X – the long-haul affiliate of AirAsia – flies to the Gold Coast, Perth and Melbourne in Australia, Hangzhou in China and now London, bringing the Asean brand to a global stage.

Stansted is Britain’s third busiest airport, with 22.8 million passengers passing through and many leading low-cost airlines making it their base.
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Old November 25th, 2008, 04:51 PM   #1368
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I think that deserves a special thread
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Old November 25th, 2008, 09:12 PM   #1369
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AirAsia X's London Launch
by Amazing AirAsia of flickr

Connecting London - Kuala Lumpur for *Pound Sterling 99: AirAsia Group CEO Dato' Sri Tony Fernandes and AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman-Rani reveals the London - Kuala Lumpur fare in a ceremony held at London's County Hall

image hosted on flickr


AirAsia X cabin crew posing against the London Eye. The low-cost long-haul carrier affiliate of AirAsia announces its latest route connecting London and Kuala Lumpur in London on 25 Nov 2008.

image hosted on flickr


AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes and AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman-Rani with the airline's cabin crew on top of a London double-decker bus that is wrapped with AirAsia and AirAsia X branding. AirAsia X, the low-cost long-haul carrier affiliate of AirAsia announces its latest route connecting London and Kuala Lumpur in London on 25 Nov 2008.

image hosted on flickr


AirAsia X cabin crew on top of a London double-decker bus that is wrapped with AirAsia and AirAsia X branding. AirAsia X, the low-cost long-haul carrier affiliate of AirAsia announces its latest route connecting London and Kuala Lumpur in London on 25 Nov 2008.

image hosted on flickr


AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes (7th from left) and AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman-Rani with the airline's cabin crew posing next to a London double-decker bus that is wrapped with AirAsia and AirAsia X branding. AirAsia X, the low-cost long-haul carrier affiliate of AirAsia announces its latest route connecting London and Kuala Lumpur in London on 25 Nov 2008.

image hosted on flickr


image hosted on flickr
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Old November 25th, 2008, 09:42 PM   #1370
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AirAsia X plans to expand sales tenfold to US$1b
Tuesday, 25 November, 2008

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian long-haul budget carrier AirAsia X hopes to expand sales tenfold to 1.0 billion dollars by the end of 2010 despite the global slowdown, a report said Monday.

Chief Executive Azran Osman Rani told the New Straits Times that the first goal would be to breach 1.0 billion ringgit (276 million dollars) in sales next year.

"The psychological test will be reaching the 1.0 billion ringgit mark in 2009, barely two years into operations. But we will do it and target 1.0 billion dollars for the year after that," he said.

The report said AirAsia X, which currently flies to Australia's Gold Coast, Perth and Melbourne, and Hangzhou in China, will end the year with about 362 million ringgit in sales.

But Azran said that as it takes delivery of 25 Airbus A330-300 aircraft between now and 2013, it will expand to at least 30 destinations.

"Our model is to be the trunk that connects Southeast Asia with key Asia Pacific markets such as Australia, China, India, Korea, Japan and the Middle East," he told the daily.

He said AirAsia X is hoping to fly to five cities in Australia, four to five cities in China, three to four in India, one or two in Korea, and two or three in both Japan and the Middle East.

AirAsia X and Southeast Asian affiliate AirAsia have sounded an extremely optimistic note in recent months, despite the uncertain global outlook and predictions of doom for airlines.

Earlier this month they scrapped fuel surcharges on all flights to drum up business, as founder Tony Fernandes said that falling oil prices enabled it to make travel more affordable.

"We (AirAsia) are very bullish and very optimistic," he told the New Straits Times, chiding the Malaysian press for being "negative" about the carrier's future.

"You are a depressing bunch, but I'm optimistic. My load factors are good, people want to travel... you have to be innovative," he reportedly said. - AFP
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Old November 27th, 2008, 05:40 AM   #1371
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Airlines’ profit poser
Thursday November 27, 2008 By LOONG TSE MIN TheStar



PETALING JAYA: Airlines, which have been badly hit by all-time high fuel prices, should finally be making money with crude oil prices now at just above US$50 a barrel.

However, with an expected weakening of passenger demand, the prospects of air travel remain uncertain. The issue is further complicated by potential fuel hedging losses as fuel prices have dropped dramatically.

Jet fuel is typically priced at US$25 to US$35 a barrel above crude oil price. On Nov 14, jet fuel was quoted at US$78.60 per barrel.

Analysts covering the sector contacted by StarBiz were quite pessimistic of the country’s airlines being able to turn the lower fuel costs into stronger earnings with one analyst saying: “If you don’t even get your topline (revenue as passenger numbers fall), a drop of 20% or so in operating costs won’t do any good.”

However, a drop in passenger numbers was by no means a sure thing with many analysts pointing to still growing passenger numbers that were bucking expectations for AirAsia Bhd.

An analyst at a bank-backed brokerage said: “It could be too early to say as the fuel price drop occurred in the past three weeks or so and both airlines (MAS and AirAsia) are quickly passing on the gains to customers.

“It has to be admitted that this is really stimulating demand, but we have to wait and see in the long term.”

The analyst maintained his estimate of weaker passenger numbers up to July 2009.

AirAsia was showing a strong expansion in passenger numbers while Malaysia Airlines (MAS) was seeing falling passenger numbers.

The analyst said the figures could be misleading: for AirAsia, strong passenger expansion meant the budget airline was able to capture more business from its regional low-cost rivals during this difficult period. However, for MAS it was the opposite.

“MAS is actually seeing earnings improve as it carries fewer passengers. The reason for this is that it is in the midst of restructuring and cutting unprofitable routes,” he said.

Fuel hedging further complicates the subject. Fuel hedging is a contractual tool used by some airlines to stabilise jet fuel costs. A fuel hedge contract commits an airline to paying a pre-determined price for future jet fuel purchases.

Analysts expect AirAsia to recognise more costs since it has settled its hedging positions since July.

This would offset in the short term any gains from lower fuel.

MAS, on the other hand, is believed to be still holding about 50% of its fuel needs in crude oil hedges above US$100 a barrel, which was a negative factor but as it hasn’t settled its positions yet the costs would be more spread out, said an analyst.

MAS was also using a different hedging tool from AirAsia which makes MAS lose less from low fuel prices but also gain less from the hedge when prices were high.

MAS and AirAsia are announcing their third quarter results tomorrow and so have entered into a “closed period” and declined comment.

The same goes for AirAsia’s sister company AirAsia X.
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Old November 27th, 2008, 07:16 AM   #1372
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MAS flights to Mumbai proceed as usual
Updated: Thursday November 27, 2008 MYT 12:46:10 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flights from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport to and from Mumbai are operating on schedule.

In a statement Thursday, MAS said flight MH195 which departed from Mumbai at 11.55pm Wednesday arrived at KLIA at 7.20am Thursday. Thursday’s flight MH194 to Mumbai is also on schedule, departing KLIA at 8.05pm.

MAS Director of Operations Datuk Tajuden Abu Bakar said, “We are monitoring the situation in Mumbai very closely after the bombing incidents in the city and are working with all relevant authorities to ensure continued smooth flight operations.

“If there are changes to the current flight schedules, we will contact our passengers and update them accordingly. We also encourage our customers to call our 24-hour toll-free number 1-300 88 3000 for updates.”

Malaysia Airlines operates a Boeing B777 flight to and from Mumbai daily.
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Old November 27th, 2008, 08:08 PM   #1373
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AirAsia X Weighing Options For Europe
November 27, 2008 23:50 PM
From Muin Abdul Majid

LONDON, Nov 27 (Bernama) -- Malaysia's long-haul budget carrier AirAsia X is weighing its options for Europe following the London Stansted-Kuala Lumpur (KL) service which is set to take off on March 11, 2009.

"The big question is whether we put all our efforts into London and this becomes the hub for Europe, and from there (London) people can go off to France, Germany or other destinations, or whether we eventually have one place in central Europe, one place in eastern Europe, for example," said AirAsia group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes.

"That's to be debated. (AirAsia X chief executive officer) Azran (Osman-Rani) and his team will look at it," he said at the London-KL route launch, with fares starting from 99 pounds each way.

Fernandes said he personally had mixed feelings about the matter.

"I think sometimes it's good to have a lot of frequency in one place and then farm it out. But it would be nice to say we're going to fly to Rome, Prague and so on. What makes financial sense will drive us," he said.

The airline chief said the next step would be to have daily flights between KL and London, and possibly introducing two flights a day for the sector.

AirAsia X is scheduled to fly five times weekly between the two cities using the Airbus A340 from Air Canada.

Meanwhile, Azran said he would definitely introduce daily flights to London if he could get a second A340 plane.

To a question, he expressed hope that the load factor for the London sector would hover in the 83 to 84 percent range.

"It works for us if it's in the mid-70s in terms of breaking even. Eighty percent is really good, but 84 and beyond is what I'm hoping for," he said.

Azran said Germany was a potential destination for AirAsia X.

-- BERNAMA
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Old December 1st, 2008, 11:56 PM   #1374
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MAS Adopts SITA Reservations System As Turnaround Enters New Phase
December 01, 2008 23:20 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 (Bernama) -- Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has replaced its in-house reservations system as part of its US$130 million (US$1=RM3.59) information technology (IT)-driven turnaround programme.

In a statement here Monday, managing director/chief executive officer, Datuk Seri Idris Jala, said it has adopted the system from SITA, the aviation IT specialist.

"SITAs Horizon portfolio has been crucial to our business turnaround and that is why we are now retiring our in-house reservations system and implementing SITA Reservations and Inventory," he said.

SITA chief executive officer, Francesco Violante, said MAS has said that they are counting on the company to help meet the challenges.

"Our Horizon offering has already made a considerable impact and we are looking forward to a successful implementation of the next phase," he said.

Under the 10-year contract, SITA has so far implemented e-Ticketing and an upgraded Departure Control System which allowed MAS to offer new self-service options to passengers including kiosk and web check-in.

MAS' fares strategy has also been re-engineered to include fares workflow, competitive monitoring and effective distribution, together with the provision of an easy-to-use Internet booking engine for the convenience of its 14 million passengers.

SITA has also helped to eliminate revenue leakage through an integrity and protection programme.

-- BERNAMA
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Old December 2nd, 2008, 02:00 AM   #1375
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New MAS Services Proposed To Promote Health-Tourism
November 30, 2008 21:21 PM

PENANG, Nov 30 (Bernama) -- The Health Ministry has proposed that Malaysia Airlines System (MAS) introduce direct flights from Penang to Thailand and Singapore aimed at boosting health-tourism in the state.

"I will write to Transport Minister Datuk Ong Tee Keat asking that MAS introduce new services to Thailand and Singapore," Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai told reporters here.

He said the new services would popularise Malaysia as a country that offers good health services in Asia.

On the Kuala Terengganu by-election, Liow who is MCA vice-president said the party would work hard to ensure that the 11 percent Chinese voters vote for Barisan Nasional (BN).

The parliamentary seat fell vacant with the death of Deputy Education Minister Datuk Razali Ismail on Friday.

-- BERNAMA
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Old December 2nd, 2008, 10:47 AM   #1376
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AirAsia share price dip after posting first losses

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Shares of Southeast Asia's top budget airline AirAsia and Malaysian Airlines fell Monday after both carriers reported weaker earnings in the third quarter.

AirAsia on Friday announced a net loss of 465.5 million ringgit in the July-Sept quarter, reversing a 180 million ringgit profit in the same period a year ago. It was the first quarterly loss for AirAsia since it was publicly listed Nov. 2004.

Domestic rival Malaysia Airlines managed to stay in the black with a net profit of 38 million ringgit during the quarter, but this was down sharply from 364 million ringgit a year ago.

"Operationally, the outlook is grim for AirAsia. It is facing intensifying competition from Malaysia Airlines and both are competing for a shrinking market as demand slows," research firm Aseambankers said.

AirAsia shares lost 10 percent to 1.00 ringgit (28 cents) while Malaysia Airlines fell 4 percent to 2.55 ringgit at midday Monday in line with overall market weakness. So far this year, the stocks have fallen by 38 percent and 48 percent, respectively.

"It will be tough operation for airlines. We are concerned that AirAsia's association continue to lose money while its Malaysian operations may be close to saturation point," said Chris Eng of OSK Research.

He said prospects are grim for both AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines' next year, but there may be a slight recovery in 2010.

AirAsia blamed its poor performance on foreign exchange losses and the unwinding of fuel hedging contracts following sharp drop in world oil prices.

However, it described the losses as "short-term pain for long-term gains." It believed outlook has improved with jet fuel falling to three-year low and more travelers switching to budget airlines amid the global economic downturn.

Malaysia Airlines said it proved its resilience by reporting a profit for the ninth consecutive quarters despite the global economic slowdown. It said it would continue to cut costs and offer competitive fares to survive the crisis.

"Although crude oil price has tapered off, the current financial crisis will result in many bankruptcies and it will take 2-3 years for the aviation industry to fly out of this crisis," its Managing Director Idris Jala warned last week.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/...uxR6QD94PP89O0
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Old December 2nd, 2008, 10:50 AM   #1377
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Malaysia Airlines adopts SITA reservations system as turnaround enters new phase


SITA’s Horizon helps Malaysia reduce annual costs by $140 million

SITA, the aviation IT specialist, and Malaysia Airlines today announced the replacement of the 14 million passenger airline’s in-house reservations system as part of a $130 million IT-driven turnaround programme which has seen the Asian carrier return to profitability with annual costs slashed by over $140 million.

Three years after taking on the role of Managing Director and CEO, Malaysia Airlines, Idris Jala, today said: "SITA’s Horizon portfolio has been crucial to our business turnaround and that is why we are now retiring our in-house reservations system and implementing SITA Reservations and Inventory. This will provide us with robust core passenger management services to meet our future functional and business growth requirements.

"SITA delivered a new Passenger Services System for the airline in record time including one of the fastest e-ticketing implementations ever seen by IATA. It was done in 11 months resulting in $6 savings for each ticket sold"

Francesco Violante, SITA CEO, said: "Malaysia Airlines deserves enormous credit for seizing the opportunity presented by smart IT solutions to turn around its performance in a relatively short space of time. We are proud to have been an active partner in this process.

"Malaysia Airlines has said that they are counting on us to help meet the challenges which loom ahead in the air transport industry. Our Horizon offering has already made a considerable impact and we are looking forward to a successful implementation of the next phase"

In a contract worth more than $130 million over ten years, SITA has so far implemented E-Ticketing and an upgraded Departure Control System which allows Malaysia Airlines to offer new self-service options to passengers including kiosk and web check-in.

The airline’s fares strategy has also been re-engineered including fares workflow, competitive monitoring and effective distribution, together with the provision of an easy-to-use internet booking engine for the convenience of its 14 million passengers. On-line booking has more than doubled due to these improvements.

SITA also helped to eliminate revenue leakage through an integrity and protection programme which prevented the waste of 200,000 segments in the first half of 2008 by ensuring authentication of every booking.

In a case study which is now available at www.sita.aero, Idris Jala is quoted: "SITA’s partnership approach with us - focusing on business goals and delivery success, rather than simply trying to sell us existing solutions - has been greatly appreciated by all of us at Malaysia Airlines. SITA really understood our business turnaround plan, and continues to work hard in delivering the most appropriate solutions to drive our business forward - profitably"

*The case study results will be presented at the IATA Commercial Strategy Symposium in Las Vegas on December 2 by Dato Rashid Khan, Commercial Director, Malaysia Airlines, and Brian Cook, SITA Vice President, Airline and Passenger Solutions Line.

http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=81129
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Old December 2nd, 2008, 02:20 PM   #1378
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AirAsia Aims To Secure 10 New Routes In India
December 01, 2008 19:37 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 (Bernama) -- Budget airline, AirAsia Bhd, is confident of getting 10 new routes in India in the next 18 months, says its group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes.

He said the carrier had already launched its inaugural flight from Kuala Lumpur to Tiruchirappalli in south India.

"AirAsia received overwhelming response for the route. Barely a month after opening the ticket sales for the route, we recorded 100 percent load factor from Dec 1 to 18," he told reporters at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal in Sepang while waiting for the arrival of AirAsia's inaugural flight from Tiruchirappalli in south India.

"We are extremely proud of the soaring load factor for this new route. We have created new demands for the market and are very proud to service an under-served sector," he said.

AirAsia currently serves the route with direct daily flights using the 180-seater Airbus 320. Tiruchirappalli, located on the banks of Cauvery River, is the fourth largest city in Tamil Nadu.

The city, a thriving commercial centre in Tamil Nadu, is famous for artificial diamonds, cigars, handloom cloth, glass bangles, wooden and clay toys.

On flying to embattled Thailand, Fernandes said AirAsia had moved its flights from the Suvarnabhumi International Airport to other airports in Thailand.

He said the carrier flew a rescue flight from Kuala Lumpur to U-Tapao Naval Base in Bangkok for passengers stranded in Bangkok for the past few days.

-- BERNAMA
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Old December 4th, 2008, 11:15 PM   #1379
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AirAsia to increase ad spending: CEO
Published: 2008/12/05

LOW-cost carrier AirAsia Bhd (5099) will continue to invest in advertising to strengthen its brand in the global market.

Group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said AirAsia would improve its services and continue to be innovative to become a premium low-cost carrier.

“We are not going to cut spending on advertising. In fact, we will increase it. My next goal is to make AirAsia as good as a premium carrier,” he told a media briefing at the two-day Global Brand Forum Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Fernandes said the airline would not change its model but would supplement it where possible.

“Our branding statement for 2009 is that we are not just a low-cost carrier,” he said.

On whether AirAsia has any plans for merger and acquisition, Fernandes said the airline would continue to grow organically.

AirAsia expects a fantastic fourth quarter, he said.

“By removing the fuel surcharge, the carrier has managed to enhance its growth,” he said.

Earlier, Fernandes received the Brand Icon Award for his achievement in the airline industry from Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Najib said Fernandes is a creative man, an entrepreneur, a man with vision and above all a man who made it happen.

“He has raised Malaysia’s standard in the global arena. I hope someday I can fly with AirAsia,” he said.

Others who had received the award were Al Gore, former US Vice President and Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia. — Bernama
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Old December 6th, 2008, 03:43 PM   #1380
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Is MAS merging with BA, Qantas?


By Leslie Lau
Consultant Editor
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 4 – Speculation is rife that Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is in talks for a possible merger or a strategic alliance with British Airways (BA) and Qantas to form a global airline.

It is learnt that what is being looked at is the creation of a super alliance or a global airline, and could involve other airlines.

Under pressure from the global economic conditions, the airline industry is now going through a consolidation period with talks of mergers, acquisitions and bankruptcies dominating the business pages.

MAS did not deny the talks, but would only say today that the Malaysian national carrier was pursuing strategic partnerships with a number of airlines.

“We are in talks with a number of airlines on collaborating and creating synergies for growth. This ranges from joint ventures and code shares to interlining partnerships,” said MAS CEO Datuk Seri Idris Jala today.

"In our Business Transformation Plan, we have said we will pursue strategic partnerships to create additional value for Malaysia Airlines. This is in line with our vision to transform into The World’s Five Star Value Carrier.”

The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia reported in this morning’s edition that Qantas had held merger discussions with MAS earlier this year, and is believed to be keeping its options open in case its own proposed merger with BA fails.

This morning’s Sin Chew Daily, Malaysia’s best selling Chinese-language newspaper, splashed a front page report claiming that all three airlines are looking into a merger or alliance.

Quoting sources, the newspaper said the merger would cut off the possibility of Qantas or BA merging with Singapore Airlines, a scenario which the newspaper described as disastrous for Malaysia and MAS.

Neither Qantas nor BA currently flies to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

While details of the talks remain sketchy, it is understood that what is on the cards is a business arrangement which is “deeper than a code share, but maybe just short of a merger.”

This would mean the respective airlines remain in local control with their own identities intact, with the possibility of that a new super-holding company could be formed.

But any deal will still be subject to government approval.

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/i...with-ba-qantas
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