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Old May 3rd, 2009, 01:34 PM   #1541
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The Red Lady on board, AirAsia
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Old May 4th, 2009, 06:34 AM   #1542
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AirAsia plans to dominate Asean before taking on India, China
Published: 2009/05/04

AIRASIA Bhd (5099) said it has no plans to form joint ventures in India and China like in Thailand and Indonesia, despite its desire to aggressively expand routes into the world's two most populous countries.

"We wouldn't want to tie up (with partners) there ... not for a long time because both markets are huge," AirAsia group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes told Business Times.

He said it was important for AirAsia to become a strong airline in Asean before taking on markets such as India and China, which already have many low-cost carriers (LCCs).

As such, it is eyeing to establish affiliate airlines in Vietnam and the Philippines.
AirAsia and its long-haul sister airline AirAsia X currently fly to six destinations in China and one in India.

"Maybe the next generation of AirAsia leaders will look into China and India. (For now) my job is to deliver a strong (presence in) Asean," he said.

"The plan is to be strong in the local market, then Asean, followed by China and India. But we are not strong in Asean yet."

Fernandes wants AirAsia to become a dominant airline in Asean within three years, with the help of its associate airlines in Thailand and Indonesia.

"For us to be strong in Asean or to become a single airline, I think a lot also hinges on political will."

Citing Europe's largest budget airline Ryanair as an example, Fernandes pointed out that it was able to open a base in any of the European countries.

To allow airlines to compete on a level playing field here, the aviation industry in Asean must be liberalised as well as that of the individual countries, he said.

"Even if it means (the entry of) a new LCC, so be it. More competition is better for the consumers," he added.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 06:29 AM   #1543
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Akamai power for AirAsia's website
Published: 2009/05/05

AIRASIA Bhd (5099) has signed a 10-year agreement with Akamai Technologies Inc to boost the airline's online performance and reliability.

Under the agreement, AirAsia's website, www.airasia.com, will be powered by Akamai's dynamic site acceleration solution that will deliver website performance up to five times faster than the original web infrastructure.

In a statement in Kuala Lumpur, the airline said by leveraging on Akamai's globally-distributed delivery network of 42,000 secure servers equipped with specialised software and deployed in 70 countries, AirAsia will provide a premium online experience for customers.

Akamai is the global leader in powering rich media, dynamic transactions and enterprise applications online.
AirAsia group chief executive officer, Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said through this strategic partnership with Akamai, AirAsia will also be able to sustain its momentum in enhancing market share. - Bernama
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Old May 5th, 2009, 04:52 PM   #1544
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Air-Asia To Fly Daily From Bali To Perth

Air-Asia To Fly Daily From Bali To Perth
Tuesday, 05 May, 2009 | 18:35 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: Air Asia a Malaysian-based carrier announced new route from Bali to Perth starting July this year. President Director of Air Asia Indonesia Dharmadi said on Tuesday (5/5) the airline to operate two-way daily flights as short range flights increased during Q1 this year.

Culture and Tourism Ministry data showed Australian tourists in Indonesia jumped around 30 percent in January to MArch this year, while those who visited Bali increased about 25 percent. The ministry did not provide the actual figure, saying there were 314 thousand Australian tourist in Bali in 2007.

The airline flew 2.5 million passengers last year and targets to fly 3.5 – 4 million of passengers this year.

WAHYUDIN FAHMI
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Old May 6th, 2009, 03:22 PM   #1545
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AirAsia Indonesia to service Bali-Perth
Published: 2009/05/06

LOW-COST carrier AirAsia Bhd will start operating daily flights between Perth in Australia and Bali in Indonesia through affiliate AirAsia Indonesia.

Seats for the route are now available, starting from A$139 (RM361) for one-way travel.

The promotion booking is from May 5 to 10 for travel between July 17 this year and January 31 next year.

AirAsia will use the A320. The Bali-Perth route is the fifth international service from its Bali hub, besides Kuala Lumpur, Johor Baru, Bangkok and Singapore.
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Old May 7th, 2009, 10:41 AM   #1546
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Abdullah now adviser to MAS


KUALA LUMPUR: - Former Malaysian premier Abdullah Badawi has been appointed as an adviser to national carrier Malaysia Airlines (MAS), a month after stepping down from office, the airline said yesterday.
'The board welcomes (Abdullah), with his wide experience and extensive contacts, to this non-executive appointment and looks forward to a beneficial association with him,' MAS chairman Munir Majid said in a statement.

Tun Abdullah, forced to bow out after a disastrous performance in the general election a year ago, stepped down last month and was succeeded by his deputy Najib Razak.

Former prime ministers are traditionally given advisory positions in government-linked companies in Malaysia.

Mr Abdullah's predecessor, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, was made an adviser to national oil company Petronas and carmaker Proton after stepping down in 2003.

Mr Abdullah is also expected to work on Islamic think-tanks and help build closer relations with countries in the Middle East, an official in the new premier's office said.
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Old May 8th, 2009, 10:22 AM   #1547
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AirAsia to fly more routes to Singapore
By Presenna NambiarPublished: 2009/05/08

BUDGET airline AirAsia Bhd (5099) will fly to Singapore from five more points in Malaysia soon, its group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said.

It will announce the new points in the next few weeks.

Yesterday, AirAsia launched its Singapore-Langkawi service, marking its third route to the Lion City from the country. The other points are Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu.

The new service will start on June 1. On that day, it will also begin operating flights between Singapore and Penang, its fourth point in the country to Singapore. In addition, it will increase its Kuala Lumpur-Singapore flights to eight times daily from seven.
Fernandes said the airline was also planning to obtain rights to fly from Langkawi to international destinations such as Bangkok, Jakarta and Hong Kong.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, who was present at the launch in Langkawi yesterday, said his ministry was willing to grant AirAsia the traffic rights to these international destinations.

"We have no qualms about the idea of giving AirAsia international routes out of Langkawi, but we have to make sure that once you get them you must sustain (the flights) with full commitment," Ong said.

To mark the start of the Langkawi-Singapore route, AirAsia is offering free rooms at its partner hotels in Langkawi through holiday division GoHoliday.

This special deal is in addition to the airline's current promotion of RM1/S$1 for seats on the route. The promotional airfare and free hotel room for first night are available on a "first come, first serve" basis and subject to availability.

"It takes more than low fares to bring in tourists. The airport tax needs to be low, the hotels need to be reasonable. So this time around, by getting the hotels on board, we have managed to give people a really good deal," Fernandes said.

"For example, we are now offering zero fares, but the airport tax at the Langkawi International Airport is RM51. How do you promote the destination?" he pointed out.

AirAsia opened bookings for its Langkawi-Singapore flights three days ago and 50 per cent of seats next month has been sold.

Fernandes said AirAsia will be spending some S$200,000 (RM478,000) to advertise the new route in the Singapore media.

Since its inception, AirAsia has flown 2.5 million passengers to Langkawi. It expects to fly some 750,000 passengers to Langkawi this year.

On Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam's statement that he had no objections to AirAsia's proposal to take the Batu Berendam Airport in the state private, Ong said his ministry had not received any proposal as yet.

"We have not received such a proposal. All airports should be under the purview of Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd. This is a federal matter and not a state one," Ong said.
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Old May 9th, 2009, 06:38 AM   #1548
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A million free seats on AirAsia
Monday May 11, 2009

PETALING JAYA: Travellers have more reason to smile as low-cost airline AirAsia is giving away a million free seats starting today.

The airline’s regional commercial head Kathleen Tan said the promotion was initiated to honour passengers for supporting AirAsia throughout the years.

“Winning the recent Skytrax’s Best Low-Cost Airline 2009 award would not have been possible without our guests rating us as the best. This is our way of saying thank you,” she said in a statement yesterday.

Tan added that the airline will also be introducing an “All-In-Fare” policy for the Malaysian market whereby prices stated are the nett amounts to be paid.

Those interested in enjoying the free seats can book their tickets from today until Friday for flights between Jan 5 to April 30 next year. Customers only pay for airport tax and administration fee. For more information, log on to www.airasia.com or mobile.airasia.com.

Last edited by nazrey; May 11th, 2009 at 09:35 AM.
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Old May 11th, 2009, 09:35 AM   #1549
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AirAsia wins award from Airbus
Published: 2009/05/08

AIRASIA Bhd has received the A320 Family Operational Excellence Award from Airbus in recognition of its service record with the single aisle aircraft type.

In a statement in Kuala Lumpur today, AirAsia said the award was presented in Paris this week during Airbus' bi-annual symposium of all operators of the A320 Family worldwide.

The selection criteria for the awards is based on data covering two years of operation and takes into account the number of aircraft in the fleet, daily utilisation rate, technical reliability and the number of delays caused to flights for operational reasons.

"While the world A320 Family fleet continues to record outstanding operational results, these awards recognise exceptional technical performance at individual operators," said Charles Champion, Executive Vice President Customer Services.

"AirAsia has established an extremely efficient operation with its Airbus aircraft, including exceptionally high utilisation and an outstanding dispatch reliability," Champion added.

AirAsia Group CEO, Dato’ Sri Tony Fernandes said the award from Airbus accentuated the constant efforts of the airline, in striving for better performance and greater flying experience for customers.

AirAsia is one of the largest customers for the Airbus A320 Family, having placed firm orders for 175 aircraft, of which 59 have already been delivered.

All A320s ordered by AirAsia are in 180-seat configuration and powered by CFM International CFM56 engines.

AirAsia in Malaysia now operates a fully Airbus A320 fleet and is in the process of replacing its existing Boeing 737’s in Indonesia and Thailand with the brand new A320. - Bernama
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Old May 12th, 2009, 09:41 AM   #1550
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Singapore Amex Card Holders Can Now Purchase AirAsia Tickets
May 11 2009

SINGAPORE, May 11 (Bernama) -- From Monday onwards, American Express card members in Singapore can use their card to purchase the low-cost carrier AirAsia's tickets to enjoy its popular low fares.

AirAsia said the airline now accepted American Express cards for bookings both online and through its call centres and sales counters here.

The two companies announced here their partnership to offer consumer and corporate travellers more choices and value.

The announcement of the alliance was made by American Express Regional Vice President for Merchant Services, Peter Kapoor, and AirAsia Commercial Regional Head Kathleen Tan.

In line with the launch, American Express card members can enjoy flights from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, Pulau Pinang, Langkawi and Kuching at a price as low as S$40, and S$68 for Bangkok, which are valid for bookings made from May 11 to May 17, and for travel from this June 1 to Jan 31 next year.

Malaysian holders of the card have benefited from similar arrangement when American Express and AirAsia announced their collaboration in Kuala Lumpur last month.

-- BERNAMA
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Old May 12th, 2009, 03:46 PM   #1551
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MAS offers enticing deals at Dubai travel mart
Published: 2009/05/05

CUSTOMERS can look forward to competitive fares and fantastic travel packages offered by Malaysia Airlines in conjunction with the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2009 which began in Dubai today.

"As part of Malaysia Airlines' customer value proposition, we're intent on offering an array of packages to meet the needs and desire of different types of travellers," said airline regional manager for Middle East and Africa, Merina Abu Tahir.

Among others, the Malaysian national carrier is offering all-inclusive airfares with prices starting from 2,945 dirhams to destinations in Malaysia during the summer holiday period.

Travel enthusiasts can also look forward to the recently-launched Economy Plus of MAS Stimulus Package that allows passengers to enjoy Business Class privileges and comfort with an Economy Class ticket from Dubai to Malaysia.

MASholidays, the travel arm of Malaysia Airlines, is also getting into the act with packages catering to the different needs of travellers.

Those looking for relaxing holidays can opt for special spa packages while the adventure-inclined can go for scuba diving packages.

Honeymooners are also in for a treat with special packages tailored for them while property investment packages will pique the interest of people keen on making Malaysia their second home.

"It's really the best time to travel now as we have something for everyone. For those who prefer tour packages, we're offering our travel agents the best airfare deals for them to package into value-for-money packages," said Merina.

The airline currently operates daily flights between Dubai and Kuala Lumpur -- non-stop to Kuala Lumpur (five times a week) and via Karachi (twice a week).

It also offers thrice-weekly flights between Dubai and Beirut, four weekly flights between Jeddah and Kuala Lumpur as well as two weekly flights between Istanbul and Kuala Lumpur via Dubai.

During the summer season, Malaysia Airlines will operate twice- weekly non-stop flights between Kuwait and Kuala Lumpur. A total of 18 flights will be offered between June 18 and Aug 18, 2009. -- BERNAMA
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Old May 12th, 2009, 03:47 PM   #1552
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MAS sees 30pc rise in domestic bookings
Published: 2009/05/12

MALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) has seen a 30 per cent increase in domestic bookings since the launch of its stimulus packages last month when compared to last year's bookings.

Its managing director and chief executive officer, Datuk Seri Idris Jala, said the stimulus packages have received good response, attracting many customers.

"Our forward bookings in domestic bookings are better than last year by 30 per cent," he told reporters after the opening of MAS' one-stop ticket centre in Petaling Jaya today.

The latest ticket centre at the Skypark Subang Terminal was opened by Tourism Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen. "We have also seen some improvements in our forward booking profile for Asean, which is better than last year by around 10 per cent," Idris said.

He said customers could log on to the MAS website www.malaysiaairlines.com for more information on the stimulus packages.

On the impact of the H1N1 flu outbreak on the airline, Idris said: "We have not seen any direct impact of the Influenza A so far. I think we are a lot more prepared globally on how to deal with this."

On the ticket centre, MAS chairman Tan Sri Munir Majid said the development of ticket offices was part of the national carrier's Business Transformation Plan which focused on making the most of resources to serve customers and partners better.

"The ticket office is an important place to meet and serve our customers, whether they are individuals or travel agents," he said.

"Although we officially opened today, the system has been up and running since a month ago. As of May 5, we have closed over 1,442 transactions, served over 600 customers and brought in sales worth RM321,000," he added.

Munir said the airline planned to place six Internet booking facility kiosks at Skypark, which are expected to be operational in October this year.

He said these would enable flight tickets to be purchased as early at 6.30am or as late as midnight, similar to the automated teller machines.

MAS has three other ticketing offices at KL Sentral, Putrajaya and the main terminal building of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Meanwhile, Ng said a total of 20 million tourists were targeted to arrive this year compared to 22 million last year.

"The tourist arrival target has been reduced by eight per cent. It is a reasonable target in view of the current global economic situation. It is also an achievable number," she said. -- Bernama
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Old May 13th, 2009, 07:12 AM   #1553
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MAS strives to keep fares competitive
Wednesday May 13, 2009

PETALING JAYA: Three passengers who travelled on first or business class on Malaysia Airlines (MAS) got their air fares reduced after they showed that they had obtained lower prices on another carrier. Two travelled from Kuala Lumpur to London while the third person flew from KL to New York, said MAS managing director Datuk Seri Idris Jala.

They got the discounts under Pre-mium Match, one of nine deals under the MAS stimulus package launched in mid-April, that offers travellers the same price as another carrier should the MAS fare be higher.

“This shows that our air fare is competitive,” Jala told reporters after Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen opened MAS’ one-stop ticket centre at Skypark Subang Terminal yesterday.

He also challenged other MAS travellers to come forward with evidence of a cheaper air fare to enjoy such benefits.

Premium Match is for business and first class travellers on Asean and international routes with the flight journey lasting more than three hours. The deal is valid for travel from now until Aug 15.

Jala also said that after the MAS stimulus package was introduced, the airline saw a 30% increase in its domestic booking compared to last year. There was also an increase of 10% in Asean destinations, he said.

He added 15% of Malaysian passengers bought their tickets online while the rest preferred counter purchases.

MAS chairman Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid said the one-stop ticket centre at Skypark Subang was to tap the growing commercial and residential areas of Subang, Shah Alam, Damansara, Kelana Jaya and others.

As of May 5, Dr Munir said this one-stop sales centre had done over 1,442 transactions, served over 600 customers and brought in sales worth RM321,000. He said the airline planned to place six Internet booking facility kiosks at Skypark by October.

Meanwhile, Dr Ng said that besides tour packages tailored for the aged, she would also be checking to ensure there were sufficient toilets in the country in order to attract foreign senior citizens.

In a recent meeting with the state tourism councils, Dr Ng said she had asked for states to submit a report on the audit of toilet facilities, specifically on the quality and numbers.
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Old May 13th, 2009, 09:10 AM   #1554
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Quote:


AirAsia presents the Saturdays

Sizzling straight from the UK, AirAsia brings you the Saturdays. Last we saw them, they were grooving the set of our London launch way back in March with their hot singles. Heck, even our London Launch video which is up on our Youtube channel featured their single, Up! And since last week, you might have noticed the Hitz FM crew blasting the Saturdays all over the air waves. Their hits such as Up!, If This is Love, and Just Can't Get Enough.

The Saturdays is a pop girl group formed in Britain in 2007, comprising Irish singer-songwriter and guitarist Una Healy, and British singers Mollie King, Frankie Sandford, Vanessa White and Rochelle Wiseman. AirAsia will be actually bringing them to Malaysia for a one stop showcase and a night to remember. Where better to catch the next best pop act than in our own backyard if you're in Malaysia.

Catch the Saturdays live in Zouk KL on 12 May 2009 for absolutely FREE. Find out more when you try out our new Have You Flown AirAsia Lately experience. Just log on for free caller ring tones and wall paper download of the Saturdays.
British girl group to fly in on regional tour

KUALA LUMPUR: The latest British all-girl music sensation – The Saturdays – will be in town on their regional tour this July and August.

Air Asia will be the official arline taking Una Healy, Rochelle Wiseman, Vanessa White, Mollie King and Frankie Stadford on their tour in partnership with the world’s biggest record company Universal Music.

South-east Asia will be the group’s first tour destination covering Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Manila and later to Hong Kong.

AirAsia group CEO Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said the partnership was also to promote the airline’s brand campaign ‘Have you flown AirAsia lately?’

“Music is in our blood. This partnership will bring this fast-rising girl band to AirAsia’s many destinations.

“We will be drumming up the excitement in the music scene of many cities that we fly to, particularly those in Asean,” he told a press conference before a showcase by The Saturdays at a club here yesterday.

It was not the first time AirAsia and The Saturdays have worked together.

The band performed a mini-showcase at the launch of AirAsia X’s inaugural flight to Stansted, London on March 11.

Formed in Britain in 2007, The Saturdays released their debut album Chasing Lights about three weeks ago in Malaysia, with four hit singles, Up, If This is Love, Issues, and Just Can’t Get Enough.

Fernandes said that while the airline was fully committed to helping to break the band into the Asian market, they would not rule out bringing other acts into the region.

For more information, log on to www.haveyouflownairasialately.com.
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Old May 14th, 2009, 07:41 AM   #1555
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MAS, French firm in overhaul facility deal
By Azlan Abu BakarPublished: 2009/05/14



MALAYSIA Airlines(3786) plans to tie up with a French partner to set up a maintenance facility for the Pratt & Whitney 100 (PW100) series engines in Malaysia.

Its unit, MAS Aerospace Engineering Sdn Bhd (MAE), has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with French-based EADS SECA in Subang yesterday, to set up a joint-venture company

EADS SECA is a Pratt & Whitney designated aircraft engine repair and overhaul facility of the EADS Group.

Currently, there are only two PW100 series engine repair facilities in Asia, namely in Singapore and Australia.
"The new facility is positioned as a one-stop centre for engine, airframe and component support for PW100 series engines, and is expected to be operational by 2010," MAS executive director and chief financial officer Tengku Azmil Zahruddin said.

A study is being done to determine the cost of the new facility.

Speaking to reporters after the MOU signing ceremony in Subang yesterday, Tengku Azmil said at present, there are some 100 aircraft in the region equipped with the PW100 series engines.

"However, we expect the number of aircraft to double to 200 by 2012," he said.

MAE's immediate plan is to set up a PW127 engine maintenance and hot section inspection capability (HSI).

It will be extended to line maintenance support and on-site HSI through a mobile repair team, providing airlines with significant cost-savings.

Aircraft equipped with the PW100 series engines include ATR, Bombardier Dash 8 planes and Fokker 50s.

MAS currently has a fleet of nine ATRs, three for MASwings and six for Firefly. By year-end, both will each have seven ATR aircraft.
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Old May 14th, 2009, 03:15 PM   #1556
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Malaysia now operates a fully Airbus A320 fleet
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Old May 18th, 2009, 07:03 AM   #1557
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AirAsia X in no rush to buy A340s
By Presenna NambiarPublished: 2009/05/18

AIRASIA X (5099) is doubtful that it will be able to secure the remaining three A340-300s it wants to lease this year.

"We have some offers but we are not rushing it. We'll start with two (A340s) this year, and once London grows and we have more flights or open the second destination to Europe or even look at the US ... these are the possibilities," AirAsia X chief executive officer Azran Osman-Rani told Business Times.

He said it is important that that particular make of Airbuses is leased in order to keep costs low.

"The planes (A340s) are the exact same thing as our A330s. We can use the same pilots, everything is the same," Azran said.
AirAsia X expects to take delivery of three new A330s in September, November and December this year.

"We haven't fully finalised the destinations we will fly to with the new planes, but we definitely plan to double the number of destinations AirAsia X flies to, from four destinations at the start of the year, to 10 when we have eight planes," Azran said.

With the new planes, Azran said, he may add another Australian city, one or two more Chinese cities, one Indian city and maybe a Japanese city.

AirAsia X currently operates three A330s and one A340 and is expecting delivery of one more A340 in June.

Azran said his main aim in 2009 is to prove AirAsia X's mettle as a fully profitable entity.

"With our billion ringgit revenue and 10 to 20 per cent profit margin, we would be one of the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index's top 100 companies in terms of revenue and profit, and then, we can list on or sell off shares based on 2010 forward.

"Now, we have been showing profit since December, but it's not very exciting, is it?" Azran said.

He said such a feat would give AirAsia X the growth and size that could make for a very interesting initial public offering story.

"It hinges very much on getting the planes and starting the destinations. If we don't get it, we might only double our revenue, but we would like to quadruple it to one billion," Azran said.

On the Influenza A virus H1N1, he said, it has not affected the airline in the sense that people are still buying tickets and loads are steady.

AirAsia X has an average load factor of 77 per cent on its flights.
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Old May 18th, 2009, 07:09 AM   #1558
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MASkargo to focus more charter market
By Presenna NambiarPublished: 2009/04/13

MASkargo hopes to redeploy its freighters for charter, at a time when demand for scheduled freighter space is low.

MALAYSIA Airlines Cargo Sdn Bhd (MASkargo) will concentrate more on the charter market for its freighters after freeing the planes from scheduled operations.

MASkargo has reduced 30 per cent of scheduled freighter capacity and 7 per cent of belly space in passenger planes.

According to the air cargo operator's website, it has seven freighters, one A300-600F, two B747-400F and four B747-200F.

MASkargo managing director Shahari Sulaiman said it hopes to redeploy its freighters for charter, at a time when demand for scheduled freighter space is low.

There is a B747 freighter in the Middle East which MASkargo hopes to put on charter to Lagos, Nigeria, by next month.

It also hopes to start charter operations at new destinations like Kuala Lumpur-Colombo where there is demand for the service owing to the high volume of perishable shipments out of Sri Lanka, including plants and tuna.

MASkargo has reduced its flights out of Pudong, Shanghai - its biggest station - to four a week from nine. It has also withdrawn some service from Taipei.

Its A300 freighter which used to service the Asean region is now in the Middle East charter business.

Six of MASkargo's 747 freighters are on a wet lease which expires in April next year.

Wet lease is an arrangement in which the lessor (airline) provides at least some crew members, maintenance and insurance.

Freight volume in Pudong has dropped by some 30 per cent.

"The station is still very important to us and we will definitely add capacity back on should there be a demand for it later," Shahari said.

He said China may be one of the first few economies to come out of the crisis, which will bolster intra-Asia trade.

"If they (China) come out of the crisis, they will certainly help pull us out of it because of the increase in cargo volume."
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Old May 21st, 2009, 08:31 AM   #1559
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MAS has strong forward bookings
Thursday May 21, 2009
By B.K. SIDHU

SUBANG: Malaysia Airlines’ (MAS) forward bookings until year-end look “positive and strong’’ despite the turbulence in the aviation sector with the A (H1N1) flu creating chaos on top of a slowing global economy, according to senior general manager of sales Datuk Bernard Francis.

“Demand for flights did decline since November but we are in a transformation mode and therefore we quickly shifted our strategy to focus on the retail market by undertaking aggressive promotional activities to stimulate demand.

“In the current circumstances, innovation is key and being in the retail market has helped us maintain our load factors from June to December 2009 at the same levels as last year. Load factor was 68%-69% in the period last year,’’ he told StarBiz.

Currently, MAS’ load factor stands at 65% and the airline has not reduced capacity apart from the earlier announced 6%.

Francis said the airline had for a long time relied on group sales, which only contributed 30% to the group revenue, and reaching out to the retail market had proved to be fruitful.

MAS has organised several Malaysia International Travel Fairs (MITFs) in foreign countries and this has boosted forward bookings.

“We need to offer the best deals out there with no fuel surcharges to stimulate demand and our fares are truly competitive.

“Our MITFs are about anchoring on big results fast and, as our managing director Datuk Seri Idris Jala says, we need to do everything possible to survive,’’ he said.

MITFs have since been organised in the United States, Europe, Britain, China, India, Hong Kong and one is currently being held in Jakarta. Another is scheduled for Japan next week.

“We had good response for our recent fair in Britain. It not only brought the bookings but created greater awareness for the airline and Malaysia as a tourist destination,’’ he said.

MAS has seen a 4% rise in forward bookings for June to December 2009 compared with the same period last year for South Asia, 10% increase for the United States after capacity cuts, but 5% down for Australia due to intense competition.

“With our everyday low fares we have seen our bookings rising 3% (for the June-December period) from last year for Asean,’’ Francis said without revealing last year’s figures.

The global load factor has come to a standstill this month and not many want to predict which way it will go given the chaos in the aviation industry. Traditionally, the third quarter is the strongest for global airlines and if there is no uptrend, then it should be a gloomy summer ahead for most airlines.

“Last year the challenge was to manage the high fuel cost in addition to decline in demand for travel. This year the sector is hit by the H1N1 and no one can predict how long the flu will linger on,’’ Francis added.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 05:50 AM   #1560
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More all-inclusive, low fares from MAS
Published: 2009/05/25

MALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) (3786) will be offering more all-inclusive low-fare bargains for domestic travel.

The fares, starting from RM48, will be available from June 25 to November 30.

Network and revenue management senior general manager Dr Amin Khan said the offer reflects MAS' commitment to providing customers with quality, affordable and convenient services.

Bookings can be made at www.malaysianairlines.com from today till June 7.
"With such competitive fares, customers can now consider travelling to destinations that previously did not fit their budget," he said in a statement.

For instance, fares from Kuala Lumpur to Cape Town, South Africa, will start as low as RM988, and to Los Angeles in the US or Buenos Aires in Argentina, from RM1,888, Amin added.

Travellers on the low fares will still enjoy the airline's premium service, such as snacks and meals on board, convenient schedules, punctual departure and 20kg baggage allowance.

Trips to Asean countries will start from RM198.

One-way fare from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore will start from RM98; Hong Kong, RM398; Seoul, RM388; and Chennai, RM398.

The fare to Perth will be offered from RM498; Tokyo, RM688; and London, RM888. - Bernama
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