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Old June 11th, 2009, 05:58 AM   #1581
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AirAsia: Colombo-KL flights start August 15
Published: 2009/06/11

BUDGET airline AirAsia Bhd (5099) will start flights between Colombo and Kuala Lumpur on August 15, with daily direct flights between the two cities. It is offering promotional all-in fares from as low as RM99 one-way, which is only available online via the airline’s website at www.airasia.com.
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Old June 11th, 2009, 06:00 AM   #1582
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MASkargo bags ACE excellence award
Published: 2009/06/11

MASKARGO has bagged another international award, the ACE Award for Excellence under the Air Carrier category, from the US-based Air Cargo World.

Winners were picked from a survey participated in by air cargo customers and Air Cargo World magazine based on their overall first-hand experience.

In a statement, MASkargo managing director Shahari Sulaiman said the award was a morale booster given the grim economic situation and tough competition.
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Old June 13th, 2009, 09:38 AM   #1583
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Malaysia Airlines posts loss in first quarter

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia Airlines said Friday it plunged into the red in the first quarter, hit by a triple blow of overcapacity, fuel hedging losses and the global economic slump which hurt passenger and cargo demand.
It warned of tough prospects this year as airlines are forced to cut fares to boost sales.

The flag carrier posted a net loss of 695 million ringgit ($199 million) for January-March, compared to a profit of 120 million ringgit a year earlier. The decline was blamed on derivative losses — mostly losses on its fuel hedging contracts — of 557 million ringgit, it said in a statement.

Revenue fell 28% to 2.7 billion ringgit ($771 million) as the percentage of seats filled fell sharply while yields — which measures income per seat — dwindled further, it said.

Managing Director Idris Jala said the airline has cut passenger capacity by 11% in the first quarter and may further reduce capacity to cut cost in line with falling demand.

Its operating loss for the quarter was 138 million ringgit ($39 million).

"This is the first operational loss for Malaysia Airlines since the third quarter of 2006 as it faced a triple squeeze: overcapacity, extreme fuel volatility and a global slump," he told reporters.

But he said the airline's fundamentals remained strong, with a cash balance of 3.8 billion ringgit ($1.1 billion).

The airline said air travel demand was expected to remain soft. It warned that the "outlook remains challenging as yield pressures continue to mount as airlines proceed to reduce fares and fuel surcharges to encourage consumers to travel."

The flag carrier said it has decided to maintain its fuel hedges as oil prices rallied past $70 a barrel recently. It has hedged 47% of its fuel requirement this year, 60% of its needs for 2010 and 40% for 2011 at a price of around $100 a barrel, Jala said.

He said Malaysia Airlines will further trim costs by up to 1 billion ringgit ($286 million) this year with no new aircraft deliveries until the end of 2010, freezing new recruitment and cutting budgets across the company.

He said the World Health Organization's move to raise its influenza pandemic alert for swine flu to its highest level was a "point of concern going forward" but didn't elaborate.

Malaysia Airlines had net profit of 244 million ringgit ($68 million) in 2008, down sharply from a record 851 million ringgit in 2007.

The International Air Transport Association on Monday predicted the world's airlines would collectively lose $9 billion this year — nearly double the previous projections. Asia-Pacific's carriers are expected to be the hardest hit with losses of $3.3 billion, worse than the previous forecast of $1.7 billion.
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Old June 13th, 2009, 04:40 PM   #1584
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AirAsia offshoot seeks expansion to Sydney

AIRASIAX, the Kuala Lumpur-based low-cost carrier that recently offered return flights to London for as little as $700, wants to expand its footprint in Australia and is looking at Sydney as its next target.

The long-haul carrier flies to Australia, China and London and is an offshoot of Southeast Asia's biggest short-haul operator, AirAsia.

Fares from Australia's east coast to Kuala Lumpur start at $199 one-way. Sydney would be the carrier's fourth destination in Australia after Perth, the Gold Coast and Melbourne.

Its expansion plans come as low-cost carriers have steadily been increasing their share of the international market in and out of Australia while flagship carrier Qantas's slice of the action in March slipped to 23.1 per cent, down from 28.2 per cent in 2006. The latest government statistics show low-cost carriers in March accounted for 16 per cent of the overseas market, up from 11.1 per cent a year ago.

AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes said the airline was talking with both Sydney and Newcastle airports about servicing Sydney.

"In Australia we want to do daily to the Gold Coast, daily into Sydney and we still haven't done Darwin and Adelaide," Mr Fernandes said, adding that the airline would use a smaller A320 to service Darwin and offer flights for less than $100 one-way.

Mr Fernandes said AirAsiaX was getting a lot of through traffic to London on its services, especially from Melbourne and Perth.

He said the service was also attracting Australians returning from Europe and young travellers, most of whom were taking a break in Asia.

"If you look at the Australians coming in, 80 per cent appear to be using our network to go elsewhere," Mr Fernandes said. "So the symbiosis of AirAsia and AirAsiaX is working well."

Despite the economic downturn, Mr Fernandes said airlines were profitable in their most recent quarter and the second quarter also looked good.

He said both were benefiting from the crisis. As well as investment in expanding the AirAsia network, corporate business had shot up by about 500 per cent, although this was off a small base.

"I took my son to rugby practice the other day and there were four guys who came up to me and said they were all in the oil business," he said.

"They said we're using AirAsia all the time now and even using AirAsiaX down to Perth."
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Old June 13th, 2009, 04:43 PM   #1585
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AirAsia seeks more support for carriers

Terminal, fee cuts can help no-frills airlines

KUALA LUMPUR : AirAsia founder Tony Fernandes has urged the Thai airport operator to build terminals for low-cost carriers and immediately slash service levies on international passengers to stimulate tourism in the country.

The chief executive of Asia's largest budget airline group said AirAsia could save Thailand's tourism industry if the government establishes a policy framework that supports budget carriers.

The current airport tax, or passenger service charges (PSC), imposed by the Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) increases costs and restricts the growth of arrivals, especially for budget travellers, said Mr Fernandes.

In some cases the PSC is a significant part of the air-travel costs paid by passengers.

The average one-way fare on Thai AirAsia is about 2,000 baht.

The Sepang-based AirAsia planned to launch a service between Hat Yai and Kuala Lumpur by charging a starting fare of 500 baht one-way, but the plan was derailed because AoT declined to reduce the 700-baht PSC.

"Who's going to go [to Hat Yai]? It's cheaper to go somewhere else," Mr Fernandes said.

The lack of AoT support for low-cost carriers is holding up the sector's growth. AoT should introduce preferential airport charges and a dedicated terminal, he said.

"It's not the function of retracting but a function of not growing enough," he said in an interview in the Malaysian capital. "It's very urgent for Thailand to have the right infrastructure [to support LCCs]."

With the right incentives from AoT, Mr Fernandes said AirAsia could increase its passenger flow through Thailand from 5.2 million projected this year to 20 million in 2013.

"I am taking AirAsia from 2 million passengers to 24 million in six years, despite all the obstacles."

The 45-year Malaysian did not say how much of a reduction he wanted to see in the PSC.

However, in Bangkok yesterday Thai AirAsia chief executive Tassapon Bijleveld told the Bangkok Post that the PSC for international travellers should not be more than 500 baht, a roll-back to what AoT charged before Suvarnabhumi Airport opened two and a half years ago.

The 200-baht cut would appeal to budget travellers who count every baht they spend, he said.

As a next step, he said, AoT should introduce a lower passenger service charge for low-cost passengers as part of a special policy framework that should be developed for budget airlines.

"The whole idea is to generate the traffic volume, and AoT's receipts may get a big boost as a result of more passengers coming in, albeit with lower charges," he said.

AirAsia has called on AoT to build dedicated passenger terminals for LCCs initially in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket.

"An LCC terminal in Phuket capable of handling 2-3 million passengers a year can be built for only 500 million baht," said Mr Fernandes.

"If AoT does not want to invest, privatise it. I'm sure there are developers who want to build LCC terminals."

He said AirAsia was prepared to take part in the development.

AirAsia has been lobbying AoT to build LCC terminals since it started operations in Thailand five years ago. But the call has been largely fallen on deaf ears as AoT saw little merit from the investment.
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Old June 13th, 2009, 04:45 PM   #1586
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Bullish AirAsia targets 24 million passengers in 2009

AirAsia remains bullish about its performance in 2009 as passengers increasingly choose LCCs over full service carriers during the economic downturn. The LCC forecasts it will handle 24 million passengers in 2009, and 60 million passengers p/a by 2013, compared to 18.3 million in 2008. The LCC also forecasts a 21% increase in passenger traffic for 2Q2009, matching its rise in passenger traffic in 1Q2009. According to IATA, international passenger traffic (RPKs) in the Asia-Pacific region fell 8.6% year-on-year in Apr-2009.
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Old June 15th, 2009, 03:06 PM   #1587
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MAS fuel-hedging strategy gets mixed reviews
By Presenna NambiarPublished: 2009/06/15

ANALYSTS are mixed about whether Malaysia Airlines (MAS) (3786) is doing the right thing in its fuel contracts, but they agree that the outlook for the national carrier looks sombre.

"I do not find the mark-to-market losses it posted all that worrying because, it is something that most companies will have to go through come 2010, and MAS did take some measures to mitigate its affects," Maybank Investment Bank senior analyst Khair Mirza told Business Times.

"What I am more worried about is that the carrier does not seem to be reacting fast enough to passengers' needs. They are not doing enough.

"With the second quarter being traditionally its weakest quarter, and the H1N1 flu gathering more intensity, it is hard to imagine the carrier making a profit (in the second quarter of 2009)," he added.
Khair estimated that during the January-March period, MAS had lost 30 per cent of its passengers to its competitors.

On Friday, MAS reported a net loss of RM695 million in its first quarter ended March 31 2009, versus a year-ago net profit, largely due to its fuel hedging contracts.

Notwithstanding the RM640 million mark-to-market fuel hedging losses, the carrier posted RM138 million in operating loss.

It also said it had spent some RM400 million to restructure its hedging contracts into 2011.

Standard & Poor's Asian Equity Research analyst Shukor Yusof said MAS' mark-to-market losses is an indication of what to expect from the carrier in the coming months.

For MAS to be a trend setter, he believes that it should take a more proactive approach in its fuel hedging strategies.

"One of MAS' main problems is that it adopts a herd mentality when it comes to fuel hedges. There is no real vision and MAS is obviously afraid to take risks," Shukor said.

The airline could still make a profit in the second quarter, though, albeit not an operational one, again due to the airline's new accounting standard.

This is because just as how the airline saw a paper loss of RM640 million in the first quarter, it could see a paper gain of RM1.1 billion on fuel hedging if oil prices average US$66 a barrel in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, in a reply to a local blog posting on Rocky's Bru on Saturday, MAS executive director and chief financial officer Tengku Azmil Zahruddin said any business in which its major cost item doubles to US$180 per barrel in six months, only to fall to US$40 per barrel in the next six months, must take steps to protect itself against such volatility.

He added that because airlines typically sell seats six months into the future and sometimes even up to 340 days in advance, the need to hedge against the unpredictability of fuel price is critical.

"As with other airlines which hedge, MAS only enters into long fuel hedges, where we are buying fuel, and do not speculate by selling short in the fuel market, as may be the case with certain low-cost carriers," Tengku Azmil said.
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Old June 15th, 2009, 03:21 PM   #1588
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MAS declines most since June 3
Published: 2009/06/15

MALAYSIAN Airline System Bhd (MAS), the country’s state-controlled carrier, declined the most in a month in Kuala Lumpur trading after reporting its first quarterly loss in more than two years.

The shares tumbled as much as 4.9 per cent to RM3.10 and closed 2.5 per cent lower at RM3.18, the most since June 3.

MAS reported a net loss of RM695 million (US$197 million) in the quarter ended March after passenger traffic slumped and it made wrong-way bets on fuel costs. Credit Suisse Group AG and OSK Research Sdn. downgraded the carrier’s stock after the earnings were detailed.

OSK analyst Ng Sem Guan was “stung by the numbers,” he wrote in a report today. “MAS was unable to cut capacity and fares fast and steep enough to arrest the plunge in demand,” he wrote while lowering his rating to “sell” from “take profit.”

Passenger traffic fell 12 per cent in the first quarter from a year earlier, even after cutting capacity by 11 per cent, MAS said on June 12. Operating revenue fell to RM2.70 billion, its lowest level since 2004, the company said. The airline also reported a loss on fuel-hedging contracts of RM640.2 million.

Oil prices have fallen from last year, hurting companies that had already locked in fuel prices on expectations they would rise. MAS said it has hedged 47 per cent of its fuel needs for this year at US$103 a barrel of crude oil. The carrier has hedged 60 per cent of its fuel for next year, and 40 per cent for 2011, both at about US$100 a barrel of crude.

Trading in the shares resumed today after a one-day suspension on June 12 for the earnings announcement.

Joshua Ng, an analyst at RHB Research Institute Sdn. today slashed his forecast for the airline’s 2009 earnings to a loss of RM805 million from an earlier profit estimate of 161.9 million ringgit and maintained an “underperform” rating.

For the whole of 2009, the airline’s forecast ranges between a loss of RM499 million and net income of RM50 million, according to yesterday’s statement. - Bloomberg
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Old June 17th, 2009, 01:46 PM   #1589
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AirAsia X orders 10 A350s for US$2.2b
Published: 2009/06/1

By buying the A350, AirAsia and AirAsia X have now got their strategy fixed all the way to 2020, says AirAsia Bhd group CEO

Long-haul budget carrier AirAsia X has inked a contract to buy 10 Airbus A350s worth more than US$2.2 billion (RM7.8 billion), with option to purchase another five.

Deliveries are scheduled between 2016 and 2018.

The A350s will complement its current fleet of A330s.

The airline has ordered 25 A330s, due to be delivered through 2015, of which two have been delivered since October last year.

The A350-900 variant will be configured to seat 425 passengers in a two-class layout.

The deal was made at the Paris Air Show in France yesterday.

"Business is all about timing and long-term strategy. By buying the A350, AirAsia and AirAsia X have now got their strategy fixed all the way to 2020.

"The vision of creating the world's first long-haul and short-haul low-cost airline is complete and we are all very excited," AirAsia Bhd group chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said in a statement yesterday.

AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman-Rani said it selected the A350 XWB for the step-change it offers in terms of operating economics and its passenger appeal.

"We believe the A350 will be an industry game-changer that will allow us to dramatically operate with unprecedented unit costs for long-haul flights to Europe and North America, opening up new tourism markets and exciting destinations," he added.

AirAsia X currently flies to London, the UK; Melbourne, Perth and Gold Coast in Australia; and Tianjin and Hangzhou in China.

Airbus president and CEO Tom Enders said the A350 XWB burns up to 25 per cent less fuel per seat and covers a range of up to 15,400km.

Firm orders for the A350 XWB now stand at 493 from 31 customers worldwide.
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Old June 18th, 2009, 06:20 AM   #1590
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AirAsia X steps up route plans, to lease more A340s
By Presenna Nambiar
Published: 2009/06/18



Long-haul budget carrier AirAsia X will be looking to lease more A340s between 2010 and 2016 as part of plans to service a few more European routes and possibly a North American destination.

On Tuesday, it inked a contract to buy 10 A350s worth more than US$2.2 billion (RM7.8 billion), with option to purchase another five. Deliveries are scheduled between 2016 and 2018.

"We expect the lease market to soften further as the Boeing 787s come on stream. It is not difficult to find A340s; it's just that we're choosy and patient, waiting to pounce on a lease only when it is very favourable," AirAsia X chief executive officer Azran Osman-rani told Business Times through e-mail yesterday.

Come 2016, the A350s will replace its A340s, of which the airline has two at present.

"The 2016 timing works because it will be the end of our current A340 lease term. The A330s will remain in our aircraft fleet, covering the Asia-Pacific region (within eight hours of flying)," Azran said.

Shares of parent company AirAsia Bhd rose four sen to close at RM1.17 yesterday as investors responded favourably to news of the purchase.

Some 4.95 million shares were traded.

Azran said that even though the A350s will need a newly-trained crew because of its next-generation cockpit, this will be offset by the huge fuel efficiency which will help lower costs.

For example, fuel burn per passenger seat on the A350 flying to London is 50 per cent lower than for the A340, he said.

The new planes will allow AirAsia X to open up European, North American and New Zealand routes.

"It will likely be used for our London route, for which we intend to have multiple daily frequencies to London by 2016.

"We also expect two to four more European destinations, two in North America (at least one on the US West Coast and another on the East Coast) and possibly some African and New Zealand options."

Azran added that AirAsia X will not have any problems financing the purchase as substantial payments for the aeroplanes will only start in 2013. The first downpayment was not substantial.

"We don't expect a material change in our cash flow from this A350 order prior to 2013. Anyway, by that time, we would have paid off a big chunk of our A330 debt. So, we should have more cash capacity for the A350s."
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Old June 18th, 2009, 06:22 AM   #1591
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MAS Aerospace teams up with Alenia Aeronautica
Published: 2009/06/18



MALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) (3786), through its subsidiary MAS Aerospace Engineering Sdn Bhd (MAE), has teamed up with Alenia Aeronautica, a Finmeccanica company to capture a big slice of the turboprop maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services market in Asia.

Both companies sealed an agreement to create a joint venture for the provision of the MRO services for turboprop commercial aircraft, particularly the ATR, at the ongoing Paris Air Show in France yesterday.

MAE managing director Mohd Roslan Ismail signed the agreement, while Alenia Aeronautica was represented by its chief executive officer Giovanni Bertolone.

In a statement issued yesterday, MAE said the new company, MAS-Alenia Aeronautica Aerospace Engineering (MAAE) is 51 per cent owned by MAE and the remaining 49 per cent by Alenia Aeronautica, with its headquarters to be located in Malaysia.
The joint venture agreement is related to the earlier order of 20 ATR 72-500s, plus an option for seven more jets by Firefly and MASwings. These two airlines are wholly-owned by MAS.

MAAE aims to offer MRO services for ATR aircraft within Asean and the Indian sub-continent, with plans to offer these services to other countries in the future.

Mohd Roslan said the lack of MRO maintenance for turboprop aircraft in Asia would position this joint venture company to become a key MRO provider for turboprop.

In the second stage, he said the joint venture will help develop additional business opportunities in the cargo conversions and specialised activities.
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Old June 18th, 2009, 08:50 AM   #1592
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How will Airasia X pay US$2.2b for the 10 Airbus ordered?
Thursday June 18, 2009
By C.S. TAN

PETALING JAYA: AirAsia X’s latest fleet purchase has raised concerns among analysts that it is following the high debt-leverage route of AirAsia Bhd, expanding the risks to its bankers.

The long-haul, low-cost airline company’s CEO, Azran Osman-Rani, said there was a fundamental difference between the business model of AirAsia X and that of traditional airlines.

“For AirAsia X, most of its tickets are sold through the Internet and bought by customers months before their flights.

“As for traditional airlines, tickets are mainly bought through agents and paid by customers just two weeks before the flights.

“The agents may even pay the airlines after the flights,” he told StarBiz in a telephone interview yesterday. The airline has a similar business model as AirAsia as both are low-cost carriers.

“We have forward cash. In this business, what is important is cashflow. We’re holding the forward cash,” he added.

It was announced on Tuesday that AirAsia X placed a firm order for 10 Airbus A350 aircraft which carried a list price of US$2.2bil.

This follows an earlier order for 25 Airbus A330 planes for delivery between last year and 2015.

On the company’s debt leverage, he said AirAsia X’s gearing was about 200% and was not expected to increase.

The 10 planes in the latest order will only be delivered from 2016.

“It’s not like we’re buying all the planes at the same time. But it is important to place the deposits now. This is to ensure we’ll have the delivery slots. The deposit is just US$10mil, we’re not paying US$2.2bil yet,” he added.

Progressive payments will start 36 months from delivery but the bulk of payments will be made when the planes are delivered.

By the time the A350 planes are delivered from 2016, most of the borrowings taken for the A330 planes would have been repaid.

Azran said some equity analysts did not understand AirAsia X’s business model, but that was not important.

“What is important is what the banks do. If the banks are worried with our gearing, wouldn’t they be the first to run away?

“But the banks are saying they’ll fund all our deliveries this year,” he said.

AirAsia X will take delivery of three Airbus A330 planes between September and December. Financing has been obtained for these planes.

Currently, the airline flies five planes to London, Melbourne, Perth and Gold Coast (Australia), and Tianjin and Hangzhou in China.

Its most profitable routes are Gold Coast and Hangzhou because these were the first two routes flown by the airline.

“They’re more matured markets for us than London or Melbourne. It’ll take us a year to build brand awareness for the newer routes and, initially, the pricing has to be aggressive,” he said.
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Old June 18th, 2009, 03:28 PM   #1593
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@ KLIA
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Old June 19th, 2009, 04:56 PM   #1594
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Special Livery - An experience redifined
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Old June 19th, 2009, 05:00 PM   #1595
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Boeing 747
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Old June 19th, 2009, 09:01 PM   #1596
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Old June 22nd, 2009, 10:21 AM   #1597
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MAS Discusses Cost Reduction Measures With Staff
June 22, 2009 15:34 PM

PETALING JAYA, June 22 (Bernama) -- Malaysia Airline System Bhd (MAS) is still in discussions with employees on measures to further reduce costs, chairman Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid said Monday.

"We are still in a consultation process and we do not want to rush," he told reporters after the airline's annual general meeting and extraordinary general meeting here today.

It is understood that MAS is currently in talks with staff on cost-saving measures, including pay cuts and reduced work days.

With these measures, the airline aims to save between RM700 million and RM1 billion this year.

"We are still looking what can be done to earn revenue and save cost. So, pay cut may not be necessary after all," Munir said.

-- MORE
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Old June 22nd, 2009, 10:28 AM   #1598
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MAS MD says Q2 load factor rising
Published: 2009/06/22

MALAYSIAN Airline System Bhd, the national carrier, said load factor in the second quarter so far has risen from the first three months of the year after fare promotions.

Second-quarter load factor as of June 21 was 66 per cent, up from 56 per cent in the first quarter, managing director Datuk Idris Jala told reporters today.

The airline is considering pay cuts as part of a series of measures to reduce expenses, chairman Tan Sri Dr Munir Abdul Majid said. He ruled out job cuts. -- Bloomberg
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Old June 22nd, 2009, 11:04 AM   #1599
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Airbus secures US$12.9b commitments for 127 planes
by Joseph Chin
Monday, 22 June 2009 12:33

KUALA LUMPUR: Airbus has secured commitments for 127 aircraft valued at US$12.9 billion at the 2009 Paris Air Show, the airline manufacturer said.

Airbus said these commitments include firm orders for 58 aircraft worth almost US$6.4 billion, plus memoranda of understanding (MoU) agreements for a further 69 aircraft totaling US$6.5 billion,” it said on June 22.

On the firm orders for the 58 planes, it said Qatar Airways placed an order for 24 single-aisle aircraft valued at US$1.9 billion, The planes comprised of 20 A320s and four A321 aircraft.

Vietnam Airlines signed a US$1.4 billion firm order for 16 A321s. In addition, Air Asia X expressed announced a firm order for 10 A350-900s valued at US$2.4 billion.

Other firm airliner orders made during the show include Cebu Pacific, which ordered five A320s; Aigle Azur for one A319; and Zest Air of the Philippines one A320. A private customer also ordered one Airbus Corporate Jet (ACJ) A320 Prestige.

“Moreover, as a further indication of the industry’s forward planning at the show, Airbus received MoU commitments for a further 69 aircraft,” said Airbus.

These MoUs comprised of 50 A320s for Wizz Air worth US$3.8 billion; 10 A321s for Indian based Paramount Airways worth US$900 million; two A330-200s plus five A330-300s for Turkish Airlines together worth US$1.4 billion; and two A350-900s for Vietnam Airlines worth US$480 million.

Airbus chief operating officer customers John Leahy said Airbus' commercial performance shows that the airline industry continues to invest in the most fuel-efficient and environmentally-friendly aircraft.

“Our customers are addressing both the long-term industry growth as well as the necessary replacement of older less efficient aircraft,” he added.
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Old June 22nd, 2009, 07:54 PM   #1600
chornedsnorkack
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10-abreast A350!

Confirmed to fly, with Air Asia X:
http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...iguration.html

Ouch. Just how wide is A350XWB compared to, say, DC-10?
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