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Old August 5th, 2009, 10:47 PM   #1761
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AirAsia X increases flights to Melbourne
Published: 2009/08/06

AIRASIA X will fly 11 times a week to Melbourne from Kuala Lumpur, starting December 1.

At present, it flies seven times.

It is offering seats from RM149 during the booking period from August 6 to 9 for travel between December 1 this year and April 30 next year.
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Old August 5th, 2009, 10:48 PM   #1762
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Thai AirAsia to fly Bangkok-Taipei
Published: 2009/08/06

BUDGET airline AirAsia Bhd will start a non-stop flight between Bangkok and Taipei on September 25.

It will offer all-in-fares from NT$690 one-way online at www.airasia.com during the booking period from August 6 to 11 for travel between September 25 this year and January 9 next year.

The service will be operated by Thai AirAsia.
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Old August 6th, 2009, 08:06 PM   #1763
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MAS unveils RM876m net profit for Q2
Business Times 6 August 2009

MALAYSIA Airlines announced a net profit of RM876 million for its second quarter ending 30 June 2009. This represents the highest ever quarterly net profit recorded by the airline.

This profit offsets Malaysia Airline’s RM695 million net losses in Q109, leading to a first half net profit of RM181 million.

Due to the recovery of oil prices since 31st March 2009, Malaysia Airlines’ fuel hedging losses of RM640 million in Q109 has been reversed with a RM1.3 billion gain in Q209.

Since the beginning of the year, the airline has implemented aggressive sales campaigns to deal with the worst crisis facing the industry. It has successfully increased its load factors to 66% in Q209, a double digit growth of 10% compared to 56% in Q109.

In response to the growing demand with domestic load factor up to 69% at Q209, Malaysia Airlines has increased capacity by 6% by adding more aircraft for the domestic sector.

The airline also made substantial load factor gain for its international routes with loads up 11% to 65% compared to 56% in Q109.

“We are managing well in this crisis. While the operating environment remains tough, the load factors have increased due to our aggressive strategies to boost sales. On the domestic front, more passengers are travelling with us.

“On the international routes, we have performed better than the industry average as we are less dependent on the front end,” said Managing Director Chief Executive Officer, Dato’ Sri Idris Jala.

He added, “Our forecasted booking numbers for the second half of the year are encouraging. With the loads on an upward trend, we will now be able to work on increasing the yield.”

The airline has aggressively pushed sales by offering various fare promotions ranging from Everyday Low Fares, Weekend Specials, Malaysia Airlines Travel Fair, and the MAS Stimulus Package which offers 9 fare options covering all classes of travel.

From January to June 2009, internet sales at www.malaysiaairlines.com grew 82% or RM272 million compared to the same period last year.

The MAS Stimulus Package which was launched on 15 April this year has registered sales amounting to over RM93 million.

Recently, Malaysia Airlines launched the ASEAN Pass. Since the soft launch of the pass on 1st June, 5,000 passes have been sold, generating RM1.2 million in revenue.

“We will continue to push hard with some 15 sales campaigns planned for Malaysia and over 30 for international. We will also be ramping up our advertising spend for the rest of the year,” he also said.

To date, Malaysia Airlines Corporate Sales Programme has 1,120 corporate clients which are expected to provide revenue of some RM400 million. Some 80% of these clients which are mainly multinationals and Government Linked Companies are in the top 30 FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI.

“We expect the economy to recover next year, and are looking forward to take delivery of our new B737-800 in 2010 to capture the expected growth. We are reviewing the aircraft requirements according to supply and demand, and realigning our capacity to tap into the growth in demand.

“We will increase our frequencies into key ASEAN capitals, South Asia, China and offer more flights to certain points in Australia.

“In the Middle East, we are looking at expanding our services into at least 3 new destinations. We are currently in the process of finalizing these details,” Jala said.

He added, “We will remain focused on what truly matters – bringing in the sales, and preparing to capture the growth next year. These are challenging times but when the going gets tough, the tough get going. We will emerge out of this, stronger, more resilient and a winner.”

In July 2009, Aviation Week announced Malaysia Airlines as one of the top 3 airlines in the world (together with Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa) capable of weathering the current crisis. - Bernama
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Old August 6th, 2009, 09:00 PM   #1764
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AirAsia to defer 8 Airbus deliveries to 2014
Published: 2009/08/06

AirAsia Bhd, Southeast Asia’s biggest discount carrier, said it will defer the delivery of eight Airbus SAS A320 aircraft to 2014 from 2010 because of “infrastructural constraints” at an existing airport.

The airline may also defer the delivery of another eight such planes to 2014 from 2011, and will make a decision on the delay by Oct 31, it said in a statement to the stock exchange in Kuala Lumpur today. AirAsia won’t incur any penalties in revising the delivery schedules, it said.

“AirAsia foresees infrastructural constraints with the current airport facilities and until the new low-cost carrier terminal is constructed,” the company said. “The present infrastructure at the low-cost terminal is not able to accommodate AirAsia’s fleet expansion in the number of aircraft originally scheduled to be delivered in 2010 and 2011 under the purchase agreement.”

AirAsia had its 2010 and 2011 net income estimates cut by 12 per cent and 18 per cent, respectively, at RHB Research Institute Sdn Bhd last month, after the Star newspaper reported that the airline planned to delay some plane deliveries.

The carrier will now receive 16 aircraft next year, from the original 24, it said. Should it decide to defer the delivery of the eight planes in 2011, that will reduce the number for that year to 15, it added.

“The rationale to scale down on the delivery of aircraft in 2010 and possibly 2011 is to enable AirAsia to optimize its fleet and avoid the costs associated with leaving idle or under- utilized aircraft due to infrastructural limitations, avoiding having to incur depreciation, interest expense and other costs without earning revenue,” the company said. - Bloomberg
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Old August 6th, 2009, 09:54 PM   #1765
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Malaysia Airlines defies industry slump, reports record profit
Friday August 07 2009
UPDATED

PETALING JAYA, Aug 6 — Malaysia Airlines (MAS) recorded its highest ever quarterly net profit despite the ongoing slump in the airline industry due to the global economic slowdown.

Its net profit of RM876 million offset first quarterly losses of RM695 million leading to a first-half net profit of RM181 million, becoming one of the few major airlines to report a profit for the first half of the year.

The airline had implemented very aggressive sales campaigns to deal with the worst ever crisis facing the industry. Load factors subsequently increased to 66 per cent in the second quarter compared to 56 per cent in the first quarter.

The airline will continue to focus on growing sales and an advertising blitz consisting of some 15 sales campaigns has been planned for Malaysia and another 30 for the international market.

“We will focus on top line growth,” said CEO Datuk Seri Idris Jala, who however declined to reveal the size of the advertising campaign budget citing the need to maintain trade secrecy.

He said that based on previous years, he expects the second half the year to be better than the first.

Revenue dropped to RM2.565 billion from RM3.774 billion in the previous quarter due to capacity cuts and reductions in passenger yield.

However, the airline managed to reverse a RM640 million fuel hedging loss in the first quarter with an RM1.3 billion gain in the second.

“We will continue to hedge our fuel costs to protect us against price increases,” said Idris.

A much talked about possible salary cut will also not be implemented this year but a salary freeze will take place next year, saving the company about RM100 million.

Impact from the A(H1N1) virus on passenger volumes were limited to the North Asia and China markets which recorded a drop in volume compared to last year.

Idris attributed the airline’s profitability despite the tougher business climate to the “dual pricing strategy” of offering low fares for non-peak flights.

“The answer lies solely in dual pricing,” said Idris. “We play the game of yield for peak flights and low fares for non-peak flights. This dynamic pricing is the way we want to navigate the current crisis.”

Malaysia Airline’s cash and negotiables remained at a comfortable level, though it had deteriorated to RM2.938 billion from RM3.772 billion in the first quarter.

The airline had “proactively” reduced capacity by 12 per cent during the quarter to contain costs, but does not plan to cut capacity further and will instead increase capacity on routes to Tawau, Sandakan, Seoul and Taiwan in addition to introducing three new destinations in the Middle-East.

Idris added that due to the focus on increasing load factors through fare promotions, yields had dropped during the quarter when compared with the previous year.

He pointed out however, that the airline can now afford to try and boost yields due to improved passenger load conditions, citing forward bookings for the second half of the year that had increased by 16 per cent compared with the same period last year.

The airline industry is expected to report losses of about US$9 billion (RM31.5 billion) this year according to the International Air Transport Association due to the economic slowdown and fear of travel stemming from the spread of the A(H1N1) virus.

Even perennially profitable Singapore Airlines had reported a loss of RM708 million during the first half of the year.

Malaysia Airlines was recently named as the third most financially viable airline by trade publication Aviation Week, behind only Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa.

“The high ranking is due to the work we have done in the past three years in our turnaround plan,” said Idris.
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Old August 7th, 2009, 08:09 PM   #1766
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MAS to freeze pay from 2010
Published: 2009/08/07

The salary freeze is expected to save the airline some RM100 million next year as it seeks to conserve cash in a tough operating environment.

NATIONAL carrier Malaysia Airlines (MAS) (3786) will impose an across-the-board salary freeze from next year, says its chief.

"We announced two weeks ago the salary freeze after consulting with our staff the things we could do to tighten our belts," MAS managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Idris Jala told a press conference to announce the airline's second quarter results in Petaling Jaya yesterday.

The salary freeze is expected to save the airline some RM100 million next year as it seeks to conserve cash in a tough operating environment.

"If there are any other specific areas where we intend to make further reduction by allowances, it will not be made unilaterally. It will be made after consulting our union and staff members," he added.

In June, it was reported that MAS was in talks with its employees on cost-reduction measures. It has ruled out a lay-off.
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Old August 7th, 2009, 08:10 PM   #1767
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MAS upgraded, soars most in 3 months
Published: 2009/08/07

Malaysian Airline System Bhd, the national carrier, rose the most in three months in Kuala Lumpur trading after reporting its highest quarterly profit in at least a decade.

The airline climbed as much as 8.1 per cent to RM3.35, the biggest intra-day gain since April 30. The shares changed hands at RM3.25 at 10:44 am in Kuala Lumpur trading.

Net income surged 22-fold in the second quarter after gains from fuel-hedging contracts helped mask an operating loss. Chief executive officer Idris Jala yesterday said the airline has no plan to cut capacity, cancel or defer delivery of aircraft as forward bookings are “looking good.”

“Malaysian Air’s traffic contraction has moderated significantly,” AmResearch Sdn Bhd, a local brokerage, said in a report dated today. The brokerage upgraded the company’s stock to “hold” from “sell.”

Profit at the Subang, Malaysia-based airline totalled RM876 million in the three months ended in June, helped by a RM1.3 billion paper gain from fuel-hedging contracts. Crude oil price gained 41 per cent in the quarter.

The operating loss was RM421 million after revenue slumped 32 per cent to RM2.56 billion, the company said in a statement after the stock market closed for trading yesterday. The airline’s second-quarter passenger numbers declined 11 per cent to 2.82 million, according to the company’s website. -- Bloomberg
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Old August 7th, 2009, 08:11 PM   #1768
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Malaysia Airlines' Q2 profit highest ever despite economic crisis
Friday August 7, 2009
By LEONG HUNG YEE



Datuk Seri Idris Jala ... ‘The net profit was even higher than
our net profit in the (full) financial year ended Dec 31, 2007.’


PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) reported an operating loss of RM420.8mil but exceptional derivative gains of RM1.34bil on fuel hedging resulted in the carrier reporting a net profit of RM876mil in the second quarter ended June 30.

The operating loss was largely due to lower operating revenue in line with the declining trend in global travel and cargo movements.

Its operating expenditure decreased by 20% while fuel cost was 56% lower during the quarter.

At its results briefing yesterday, chief executive officer and managing director Datuk Seri Idris Jala said the net profit achieved in the quarter was the highest ever quarterly net profit recorded by the airline.

“The net profit was even higher than our net profit in the (full) financial year ended Dec 31, 2007,” he said, adding that it offset the net loss of RM695mil registered in the first quarter and showed a RM1.57bil improvement in the second quarter.

For the first quarter ended March 31, its net loss included a derivative loss of RM557mil following the early adoption of the Financial Reporting Standard 139 (FRS 139).

MAS had recognised fuel-hedging contracts to reflect its fair value changes due to movement in mark-to-market position and took a charge on its balance sheet of RM3.8bil starting Jan 1.

Revenue for the first six months fell to RM5.3bil from RM7.52bil in the same period last year. It recorded a net profit of RM180mil, or 10.78 sen, compared with RM160mil, or 9.58 sen, previously.

In a filing to Bursa Malaysia yesterday, MAS said if it had not adopted the FRS 139, its operating revenue would have been RM2.49bil and a net loss of RM803.7mil for the second quarter.

MAS would have posted a net loss of RM1.59bil for the first six months ended June 30 on revenue of RM5.19bil if it had not adopted the FRS 139.

To contain its expenditure, Jala said MAS would freeze salary increases next year for its employees.

Chief financial officer and executive director Tengku Datuk Azmil Zahruddin said the move to freeze salary increases could help to reduce its operating expenditure by about RM100mil.

He said the airline still had a robust balance sheet to weather the crisis but it needed to continue its effort to cut cost.

As at June 30, MAS’ cash and negotiable deposit balance stood at RM2.93bil.

The group shareholders’ equity, which turned negative RM459mil and triggered the criteria of being an affected listed issuer under PN17, had turned positive in the second quarter with RM420mil.

Jala said MAS was managing well in this crisis. “While the operating environment remains tough, the load factors have increased due to our aggressive strategies to boost sales. The sales campaign that we do is beginning to bear fruit. The campaign for the next six months will be like never before.”

Its load factors increased to 66% in the second quarter compared with 56% in the first quarter leading the carrier to capacity increase of 6% in the domestic sector.

“On the international routes, we have performed better than the industry average as we are less dependent on the front end.

“Our forecast booking numbers for the second half of the year are encouraging. With the loads on an upward trend, we will now be able to work on increasing yield,” he said, adding that its yield was 16% lower at 23 sen year-on-year.

Jala said with the strong forward booking on air tickets, MAS was hopeful of improving its performance in the second half and remain profitable for the full year. “I am always a hopeful person. We have consistently been profitable. My team will do the absolute best.”

Asked if its performance for the second quarter would be an indicator for the group to remain profitable this year, he said the carrier would do its “level best” but there was no surety.

He said green shoots were coming out but was not sure if it could be a reality.

Jala said the airline would increase the number of flights to key South-East Asian capitals, South Asia, China and expand its network with three new destinations in the Middle East.

MAS is studying plans to buy a new fleet of wide-bodied aircraft to replace its current planes but has yet to make any decision.

The airline has hedged 47% of its fuel requirement this year and 63% of its needs for 2010 at a price of about US$95 a barrel.
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Old August 8th, 2009, 09:37 AM   #1769
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Turbulence at Malaysia Airlines

MALAYSIA Airlines says its net profit of RM876mil for the second quarter of this year is its highest ever quarterly profit. Yes, that’s true but that’s not the whole truth.

The whole truth is this: The accounting profit due to hedging gains masks Malaysia Airlines’ serious operational problems caused by declining traffic and prices, and high costs. If it does not reverse this soon, it could well run out of cash not long from now.

Despite the net profit of RM876mil, Malaysia Airlines had an operating loss of RM420mil for the same period, after taking out a gain of a massive RM1.34bil from a partial reversal of provisions of nearly RM4bil for derivative losses.

How’s that possible? How could accounting net profit be so good but the actual financial position and outlook for the company be so dire? Here’s how.

Malaysia Airlines adopted Financial Reporting Standard 139 (FRS 139) from the beginning of this year. Effectively, this standard requires hedging positions to be marked to market value and the resulting loss or gain to be taken into the books.

On first adoption of this, Malaysia Airlines had huge losses of RM3.95bil, which were taken straight into the balance sheet – not via the profit and loss account. These losses are not actually realised but represent the losses if oil prices remained at the level they were at Jan 1, 2009.

For the first quarter of the year to March 31, 2009, Malaysia Airlines, as oil prices continued to decline, made huge hedging losses of RM567mil, pushing net losses to about RM695mil. Why, when oil prices are declining, should Malaysia Airlines lose in terms of hedging? That’s because Malaysia Airlines had hedged at prices believed to be roughly equivalent to around US$100 a barrel for oil.

While oil prices declined (to as low as US$30 a barrel), the losses from its derivative contracts increased as they are marked to lower fair values. That means it effectively continues to pay high prices because of the hedges which basically capped prices of oil but did not provide for benefits to flow if prices fell instead.

On hindsight that was a bad move because oil prices declined. But Malaysia Airlines practised what it called competitive hedging which means it did what most other airlines did when it came to hedging – a follow-the-leaders policy that has cost it dearly.

Why does it benefit when oil prices are rising? That’s because it has already taken a hit for when the price was low – remember the RM3.95bil charge against the balance sheet for derivative losses. That charge put it in negative territory in terms of accounting equity or shareholders’ funds even though it had cash of close to RM4.62bil then (Dec 31, 2008).

Because of this charge, any rise in the oil price towards US$100 a barrel enables recovery in proportion to the increase in oil price, and if the price goes up to US$100 or more a barrel it will enable the recovery of most of the RM3.95bil provision.

But here’s the important point to remember: Malaysia Airlines’ current profit and more are coming entirely out of the provisions for hedging losses it made – if there had been no provision, there would have been no profit.

And here is where the accounting standard fails in painting a true picture to the public.

The previous one-time charge was taken through the balance sheet. The standard, however, allows any subsequent gain in an accounting period to be taken through the profit and loss account, misleadingly inflating reported profit.

It would have been better if the gain had gone straight to the balance sheet via an adjustment to the value of the derivative contracts, leaving the profit unchanged. But such is accounting policy at times.

What would be a fairer and more accurate reflection of profit? It can be argued that this would be if all hedging losses/gains are allocated and expensed to the period in which they were realised. In other words, if actual incurred costs were used.

This would be if FRS 139 had not been introduced. Then, Malaysia Airlines would have reported a loss of RM803mil for the latest quarter and a loss of RM1.6bil for the first half of the year, according to figures disclosed by the airline.

That looks like a much fairer reflection of the actual predicament that it faces.

When accounting seems dubious in terms of painting the true picture, it always pays to look at the cash position.

For the first half of this year, figures show that operations drained nearly RM1.5bil in cash, almost equivalent to the loss if FRS139 had not been used. That means in a year, the airline could be out of cash if it does not start reversing the situation.

As at Dec 31, 2008, the airline had RM4.62bil in cash, reducing by a huge RM850mil to RM3.77bil as at March 31, 2009 and by a further RM830mil to RM2.94bil as at end-June 2009. That’s a rapid rate of cash depletion of almost RM1.7bil in a mere six months.

There’s still a lot of cash and it gives substantial cushion for the airline to weather the downturn but only if it can turn around into operational profit and start generating cash flow once again. At the moment, the airline is in the grip of a potentially lethal pincer attack – its high fuel expenditure caused by hedging that went wrong and severe declines in revenue caused by both falling prices and reduced demand.

That’s a terrible place to be and the public would have appreciated a straight address by the airline on these pressing issues instead of the emphasis on the record reported but misleading profits. How Malaysia Airlines is going to generate cash is the question to answer. By glossing over the whole truth (its media release never so much as mentioned an operating loss of RM420mil for the second quarter of the year or highlighted the drain on cash) and choosing to focus on record quarterly accounting profits, Malaysia Airlines does a disservice.

This is not only to its shareholders, mainly the Malaysian Government, but also its customers and the Malaysian public, which indirectly owns most of the company, all of whom deserve a clearer explanation of its financial situation and future plans.

l Managing editor P. Gunasegaram thinks that sometimes accounting is an ass, much like law is more often.
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Old August 11th, 2009, 07:15 AM   #1770
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AirAsia scraps plan for Viet budget carrier
Published: 2009/08/11

LOW-COST carrier AirAsia Bhd has scrapped a plan to partner Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group to set up a budget carrier in Vietnam.

It terminated a letter of intent (LOI) signed by both parties almost two years ago, it said in a statement to Bursa Malaysia yesterday.

“As a matter of formality, AirAsia has through a letter dated August 10 2009 informed Vinashin that the LOI is now of no further effect save for confidentiality provisions which the parties had agreed to upon signing the LOI,” said AirAsia.
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Old August 12th, 2009, 12:53 PM   #1771
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Unions object to AirAsia’s request for review of RAS routes
Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

KUCHING: Airline workers unions in East Malaysia are furious the Transport Ministry would even consider reviewing the scrapping of AirAsia’s Sibu-Kota Kinabalu route after what they had gone through during the Fly Asian Express (FAX) episode.

In a strongly worded statement yesterday, Airlines Workers Union Sarawak (AWUS) and Air Transport Workers Union Sabah (ATWUS) told the ministry not to ‘kowtow’ to AirAsia.

The statement, signed by AWUS president Haswandy Morshidi and ATWUS president Mohd Alfreedo Mohd Yahya, objected to any plan by the ministry to go back on its decision to award the route to Malaysia Airlines’ (MAS) subsidiary, MASwings.

They recalled that when the government announced the new domestic aviation restructuring some three years ago, there were extensive negotiations between MAS and AirAsia, which took over the domestic flights including the Rural Air Service (RAS) through its subsidiary, FAX.

As a result of the route rationalisation, they said more than 2,600 MAS staff were affected, including about 700 from Sabah and Sarawak, who had to leave MAS on a mutual separation scheme (MSS).

At the same time, they said MAS had to close down a few of its stations and staff were either transferred or offered the MSS.

Lahad Datu was one of the stations affected when FAX commenced operation.

“AirAsia is quick to blame MAS and MASwings, but where were they when the public and passengers were complaining about FAX service and punctuality?

“If AirAsia cares so much for the public, why aren’t they flying to the unprofitable sectors such as to Labuan which they have abandoned and now serviced by MASwings only?” they asked.

They claimed that by demanding the Sibu-Kota Kinabalu route, AirAsia showed no regard for the agreement between the government and MAS or MASwings.

The unions said this not only had an impact on MASwings’ business, but also the staff and the public at large.

“If this is allowed, how are we the staff assured that there will not be another ‘route rationalisation’ for the sake of ‘kowtowing’ to AirAsia.

“Allowing AirAsia to fly this sector would also mean the government subsidising the profit of AirAsia because MASwings would not be able to optimise their seat capacity. Again this would mean creating profit for AirAsia from the tax payers’ coffers,” they stressed.

In this respect, the unions urged the Transport Ministry not to take up the interest of AirAsia alone, but also the interest of the current workforce of MAS and MASwings.
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Old August 12th, 2009, 09:41 PM   #1772
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AirAsia posts RM139m Q2 net profit
By Jeeva Arulampalam Published: 2009/08/13



LOW-COST carrier AirAsia Bhd (5099)continued with its profitable streak, recording a second quarter net profit of RM139.2 million.

AirAsia group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said the airline remains confident of passenger demand and is keeping its forecast of a 20 per cent full-year growth.

"Despite lower yields, we will be able to make up for it in terms of volume," he told analysts during a conference call yesterday.

However, the airline has cautioned that the third quarter is the weakest quarter due to the Ramadan fasting month.
For the three-month period ended June 30 2009, AirAsia's revenue grew 8 per cent to RM657 million from a year ago. It posted a net profit of RM9.4 million for the same quarter in 2008 due to foreign exchange losses and high fuel costs.

Growth in the quarter under review was due to higher passenger volume, stronger ancillary income and write-backs on certain previously made over provisions.

Passenger volume was up 24 per cent to 3.52 million but the average fare was lower by 19 per cent at RM160 compared with RM198 from a year ago. Load factor remained unchanged at 75 per cent.

AirAsia's core operating profit jumped to RM128.4 million, from RM29.98 million a year ago.

Meanwhile, the airline's associates in Thailand and Indonesia made losses in the second quarter, at RM8.2 million and RM21.8 million respectively.

For the first half of 2009, AirAsia saw its net profit double to RM342.3 million from one year ago. Revenue grew by 20 per cent to RM1.37 billion due to higher passenger volume and ancillary income.

Passenger volume increased 22 per cent from a year ago while the average fare was down eight per cent at RM178 million. Load factor dropped by 1.4 per cent to 72.3 per cent.

Fernandes also said that the airline will continue buying fuel on the spot market and has not entered into any new fuel hedging contracts.

Fernandes added that AirAsia was in talks with the Department of Civil Aviation for an additional eight parking bays at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) in Sepang.

"We are currently one parking bay short and are optimistic of getting the additional parking bays, which mean utilising the taxiway," he said.

He added that the additional deferment of eight aircraft in 2011 was likely given infrastructure constraints at the present LCCT and possible delay in the development of the new LCCT.
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Old August 12th, 2009, 10:28 PM   #1773
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AirAsia profit soars on cheap travel demand
Thursday August 13 2009

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12 — AirAsia, Asia’s largest budget airline by fleet size, reported sharply higher quarterly earnings as dwindling demand for full-fare carriers amid the economic downturn boosted discount airlines.

Regional budget carriers such as AirAsia and Jetstar Asia Airways, partly owned by Australia’s Qantas Airways Ltd, and Tiger Airways, 49 per cent owned by Singapore Airlines, have either added capacity or increased flight frequencies to cope with higher demand.

“While major legacy carriers are cutting flights, grounding planes, retrenching staff and reporting massive losses, AirAsia is seeing rising demand, adding more routes, increasing frequency and securing higher profits,” Tony Fernandes, AirAsia’s chief executive, said in a statement today.

Underlying passenger demand in the third quarter remains positive based on forward booking trends, he said.

Full-service carrier Malaysia Airlines said last week it returned to profitability in the second quarter, boosted by revaluation gains from fuel hedging, but still made losses at the operating level. — Reuters
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Old August 15th, 2009, 04:41 PM   #1774
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When will Air Asia start an Islamabad - KL flight! with their fares they would swep the asia pacific market from the exisiting thai, singapore, pia and cathay airlilines!
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Old August 15th, 2009, 06:19 PM   #1775
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Daily flights to Kuala Lumpur in three months

Daily flights to Kuala Lumpur in three months

Subhro Niyogi, TNN 15 August 2009, 03:10am IST

KOLKATA: Three years after Malaysia Airlines withdrew operations from Kolkata after servicing the sector for only a year, Kuala Lumpur-based low-cost airline, AirAsia Berhad, is set to revive the connection between the Malaysian capital and Kolkata with daily flights from November 7.

AirAsia is Asia's largest low-fare, no-frills carrier that began operations in 1996. It will operate a 180-seater Airbus A320 aircraft. The incoming flight AK 203 will touch down at the city airport at 4.30 pm. The return flight, AK 204, will take off for Kuala Lumpur half an hour later.

The revival of flights to Malaysia comes as a huge boost to the sagging fortunes of international traffic from Kolkata with JetStar Asia, British Airways, Gulf Air, Royal Jordanian, KLM and even Air India deserting the city. Among carriers that have touched down are Emirates, Air India Express, Bangladeshi private carriers and international wings of Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines.

"The revival of flights between Kuala Lumpur and Kolkata is significant, given the Centre's Look East' policy. Business and holiday traffic between eastern India and South-East Asia is also likely to go up," said Sanjay Budhia, Malaysia's honorary consul general to the city. With Shah Rukh Khan announcing plans to set up a film city in Malaysia, the daily flight could also see Bollywood using different locations in the country for shooting movies.

The travel trade fraternity has also welcomed the flight's introduction and believes its convenient schedule will ensure that it does not go the way Malaysia Airlines did. The latter withdrew flights to Kolkata and several other cities across the globe as part of a radical rescue plan to save the airline that recorded a whopping 1.26 billion ringgit ($339 million) loss during April-December 2005. Only 48 of its 114 international routes were profitable.
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Old August 17th, 2009, 12:37 AM   #1776
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Up close and personal
Saturday August 15, 2009 By CECILIA KOK



Azran

AZRAN Osman-Rani unabashedly confesses that he gets distracted and bored quite easily, which he has self diagnosed as ADD (attention deficit disorder)! It’s a mighty challenge, he admits, to focus on anything for long and he constantly needs to be occupied to keep him going. And by that, he means he persistently craves new challenges. Indefatigable, indeed.

“I am more at ease when I have many things to do. If you do not give me anything to do, I can become very edgy and restless … I will go crazy,” Azran says.

It’s little wonder then that the AirAsia X chief executive officer revels in the high-paced, high-pressure airline industry.

“There is enough challenge here,” he says.

“In the first year, it was all about starting the company, then it was about getting new planes, then expanding the fleet size and routes. It’s been crazy.”

His career path in the turbulent sector began two years ago with a phone call, not just from anyone but from Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes, founder of low cost carrier AirAsia, whose triumphs in the industry are only too well documented.

Azran was then a senior director at Astro All Asia Networks plc. Suffice to say he got an earful of Tony’s pitch about AirAsia X; he wanted Azran to head the airline, which at that point, had only one aircraft and a bold business plan.

“The one thing that got me hooked was when Tony said ‘people think this cannot be done’. I thought – ‘wow, everyone in the world says this model can’t work’. That made me want to do it even more. I jumped at the opportunity and took a huge pay cut to join the team,” he recalls.

Despite the past year being one of the global airline industry’s worst times, the low cost long haul carrier has steadily increased its routes over that period. It’s not done yet of course.

“We are flying into new markets to secure more routes,” he says.

It has not been smooth sailing all the way. More recently, temperatures flared when the airline was denied the rights to fly to Sydney and Seoul.

“It was heartbreaking,” says Azran. But there’s no time to sulk. The company is moving on and as Azran says, there are many other opportunities out there.

When the StarBizWeek interviewed him recently, he had just returned from the Middle East. Sporting a red T-shirt and jeans, he enthuses that AirAsia X is keen on the Mid-East market and expects to launch some routes to the region by year-end.

How does a guy like Azran, with an insatiable thirst for the get-go, pass time when he’s not working? Why, sports of course.

“It’s important to release stress. Otherwise, the stress can build up and you will explode,” he says.

Azran is passionate about running marathons. When he can, he runs a 5km circuit around the Klang Valley on Sunday mornings.

He takes pride in having managed to complete the 42km Gold Coast Airport Marathon in Australia last month. He has also signed up to run in several international marathons in the months ahead, namely the Borneo International Marathon and Melbourne Marathon in October and Hangzhou Marathon in November.

In high school, he was a serious field hockey player. But when he went to the United States for his tertiary education, he discovered that field hockey was regarded as a “girl’s game” and that “real men played ice hockey.”

Soon, he found a new passion – the ultimate frisbee. Ultimate frisbee is relatively new to Malaysians but Azran is keen to build its following. He spends Saturday mornings at Kolej Bandar Utama coaching students in the sport.

Besides, spending time with youths makes him “feel young and sane”, says the father of three boys. Azran is married to Azreen Pharmy, a former news anchor with Astro.

Azran’s background in engineering comes handy at work, as he says it is not easy for the engineers to fool him by giving excuses for any technical problem that crop up in the aircraft.

“I get very upset when people don’t know what they are doing. When someone tells me something is wrong, I will keep on asking them why. This is how we figure out the root cause of the problem,” he explains.

Azran considers himself to be an accessible and engaging boss.

“I am open to new ideas. I do not have as much experience in the aviation industry to claim to be an expert. I also want to create opportunities for our staff.”

“Look at our team. It is small, but it’s diverse,” he says.

Azran says he learnt about the value of diversity from Malaysian tycoon Ananda Krishnan while working under the latter in Astro.

“We should actively seek to form a diverse team that cuts across racial and gender barriers. We have way too many monotonous companies. Just look at the top 50 listed companies, open their annual reports and take note of their management team. Most of the time, they are either very Malay, or very Chinese,” Azran says.

The two gadgets he never leaves home without – his Blackberry and laptop. And this – he’s got a “bucket list”.

“In my laptop, I have a list of things to do before I die,” Azran says, such as personal goals, and those in relation to health, finance and family.

Not surprisingly, one of the things in the list is to fly a plane. With that in mind. Azran is currently trying out the flight simulator.

And surprisingly, Azran wants to be a stand up comedian, to be on stage in front of thousands and make them laugh.

Clearly, an optimist, he says: “The best things have yet to happen.”
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Old August 19th, 2009, 04:14 PM   #1777
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AirAsia X to fly to Abu Dhabi Nov 23
Published: 2009/08/19

AirAsia X, the Malaysian long-haul budget airline partly owned by AirAsia Bhd, will start flights to Abu Dhabi from November 23 2009.

The five-times weekly flight will connect Kuala Lumpur with Abu Dhabi, the airline said in an e-mailed statement today.
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Old August 19th, 2009, 04:17 PM   #1778
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MAS to buy Transmile engineering unit
Published: 2009/08/19

MALAYSIA Airline said on Wednesday its aircraft maintenance unit plans to buy Transmile’s engineering unit to achieve a revenue target of RM500 million this year.

The plan involves the purchase of Transmile’s base maintenance and engineering capabilities including 2 hangars, equipment, and employment of its skilled manpower.

Malaysian Aerospace Engineering Sdn Bhd (MAE), a unit of Malaysia Airline, will also provide heavy maintenance services to Transmile’s fleet of 16 freighter aircraft, it said in a statement.

It did not provide any financial details for the transaction.
MAE currently services more than 80 customer airlines including Air Atlanta, Lufthansa, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Jet Airways and Delta Air Lines Inc. - Reuters
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Old August 24th, 2009, 09:54 PM   #1779
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AirAsia targets new products to boost ancillary income
By Azlan Abu Bakar Published: 2009/08/25



Budget airline AirAsia Bhd (5099) projects ancillary income to increase 20 per cent in two years, backed by new in-flight food and passenger growth.

Its group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said food sales were a major part of the RM186 million revenue contributed by ancillary income in the first half of the year.

"Ancillary income represented 50 per cent of the total revenue," he said, adding that the airline also expects to see passenger numbers increase 20 per cent quarter to quarter this year.

Last year, its ancillary income was RM177 million. Food sales alone contributed RM30 million.

A substantial number of AirAsia's 20 million passengers last year had inflight meals, which have to be purchased.
Speaking to reporters after announcing the introduction of Krispy Kreme doughnuts on its flights, Fernandes said he was optimistic that the new product would help increase food sales.

Also present at the event were Berjaya Group director Datuk Robin Tan and Berjaya Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Sdn Bhd director Datuk Francis Lee.

"With the addition of Krispy Kreme to our in-flight menu beginning September 1, we offer guests another best-of-its class product. We expect it to begin contributing to our profit starting this quarter," Fernandes said, noting that nasi lemak remained the all-time favourite.

Meanwhile, Lee said that its tie-up with AirAsia could be considered a world first as no other airline offered doughnuts on their flights.

"We are excited to be flying our doughnuts with AirAsia and to be exposed to its large market," he said.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 05:40 AM   #1780
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I took Air Asia flight from Jakarta (CGK) to Singapore and back. I have to say that it was much better than I expected.

Tempted to get something to eat from the snack attack, but decided to wait and get something from the airport.
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