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Old August 25th, 2009, 02:55 PM   #1781
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AirAsia adds 7th China destination
Published: 2009/08/25

Malaysian low-cost carrier AirAsia said Tuesday it will launch its seventh route into mainland China in October as part of its regional expansion despite the economic slump.

AirAsia will be the first airline to fly direct from Kuala Lumpur to Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan province in southwestern China, with four weekly flights from October 20, it said in a statement.

The carrier said the new route would be operated by its long-haul affiliate AirAsia X.

AirAsia already flies to Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Guilin and Haikou in the southern region, Hangzhou in the east and Tianjin in the north. It also has flights to Hong Kong and Macao.

With China a key trading partner for Souteast Asia, the new route will also boost trade and tourism, AirAsia said.

AirAsia X, which began long-haul operations in November 2007, currently flies from Kuala Lumpur to London, Australia, Taiwan and China. Last week, it announced it would launch flights to Abu Dhabi in November, marking the group’s first foray into the Middle East. - Agencies
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Old September 4th, 2009, 08:39 PM   #1782
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Air Asia partners with... Oakland Raiders
From flickr

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Old September 4th, 2009, 08:42 PM   #1783
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From flickr

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Old September 4th, 2009, 09:42 PM   #1784
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Old September 5th, 2009, 02:08 AM   #1785
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No deferment of plane deliveries, says AirAsia X
By Presenna Nambiar Published: 2009/09/05



BUDGET long-haul carrier AirAsia X (5099) has no plans to defer the delivery of its planes, despite its parent doing so in anticipation of a possible delay in the construction of the new low-cost carrier terminal.

"No (we will not defer any plane deliveries), because we don't have the big numbers like AirAsia, we have been quite conservative in our expansion. The option is to keep the planes outside of Kuala Lumpur (KL), in order to reduce the congestion here," AirAsia X chief executive officer Azran Osman-Rani told reporters at its booth in conjunction with Matta Fair in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The airline will have eight wide-body aircraft by year-end, with another eight to be delivered on a staggered basis by 2011.

Azran gave an example that for an aircraft to initially return to KL after a flight to Abu Dhabi, it could look to send it on to Europe, rather than returning to KL.
"It is not an ideal situation and for AirAsia X, it is a real concern, considering that we have only four parking bays right now," he said.

Meanwhile, on its participation in the fair this year, Azran said that he is confident that AirAsia X will contribute some 40 per cent to the expected RM5 million sales AirAsia expects.

With a total of 30 booths, AirAsia is the biggest exhibitor at the Matta Fair.

"While the deals are similar to the ones that you can get online, this is really an avenue for them to also get a lot of other information they need, before they make their purchase decision," Azran said.

He believes that AirAsia will be able to double the number of tickets sold to 40,000 this year.

Azran is especially hopeful that its recently launched two new routes, Chengdu, in west China and Abu Dhabi in the Middle East, will be a hit with travellers.

Since the Matta Fair in 2008, AirAsia X has more than doubled the number of destinations it flies to from four to nine now.
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Old September 7th, 2009, 07:02 PM   #1786
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MAS eyes larger slice of Mideast market
Published: 2009/09/07

HAVING come up with a slew of fare promotions to suit everyone's budget, Malaysia Airlines is hopeful of grabbing a larger slice of the Middle East market.

Its Regional General Manager for Middle East and Africa, Merina Abu Tahir, said since the beginning of the year, the airline had implemented aggressive sales campaigns, with all-inclusive fares, to deal with the worst crisis facing the industry.

"The market is growing in the Middle East and in line with this, we're offering various fare promotions to suit the size of everyone's wallet and lifestyle.

"Our current ongoing promotions from Dubai is competitively priced and benchmarked against our competitors," Merina said of the Malaysian national carrier's marketing plans and promotional attractions for Middle East travellers this year.

Noting that Malaysia Airlines was offering very competitive fares to encourage the demand for travel, Dubai-based Merina said sales had been brisk.

"This demonstrates that the public will choose to travel with Malaysia Airlines as they know that they'll get value for money as we offer up to 20 kilogrammes of free baggage allowance, free meals, assigned seating and many other benefits without charging them extra.

"In fact, our July seat factor was close to 70 per cent," said Merina of the five-star airline's performance.

According to her, the airline's main traffic during summer was leisure while travellers to Australia and New Zealand visiting friends and relatives as well as business travellers were also its target traffic.

"We're now focused on attracting the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) traffic and aggressively promoting our corporate sales programme to multinational companies," she said.

Queried on Malaysia Airlines' strength in the Arab world, she said the company held a lengthy record of service, best practice excellence, was well-known for its award winning cabin crew and assurance of serving halal food.

"This demonstrates that the public will choose to travel with Malaysia Airlines as they know that they'll get value for money as we offer up to 20 kilogrammes of free baggage allowance, free meals, assigned seating and many other benefits without charging them extra.

"In fact, our July load was close to 80 per cent," said Merina of the five-star airline's performance.

According to her, the airline's main traffic during summer was leisure while travellers to Australia and New Zealand visiting friends and relatives as well as business travellers were also its target traffic.

"We're now focused on attracting the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) traffic and aggressively promoting our corporate sales programme to multinational companies," she said.

Queried on Malaysia Airlines' strength in the Arab world, she said the company held a lengthy record of service, best practice excellence, was well-known for its award winning cabin crew and assurance of serving halal food.

She highlighted that the carrier's cabin crew was recognised as the World's Best Cabin Staff 2009, its sixth time since 2001.

"Our In-flight Services Audit and Compliance Department ensures that all food products served on flights are halal and comply with the standards of the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) as well as international standards such as Codex Alimentarius Halal guidelines," she stressed.

Merina added the airline had introduced value fares to the United Arab Emirate market to allow passengers flexibility to fly with preferred options.

There are MHlow and MHbasic that offer the lowest fares available while MHsmart and MHflex allow more privileges at affordable fares and value for money to passengers.

Malaysia Airlines has also introduced the Stimulus Packages offering special deals covering Business and Economy class travel, including additional free baggage allowance.

Under the promotions, a return ticket from Dubai to Kuala Lumpur, Terengganu and Kota Kinabalu costs between Arab Emirates Dirham (AED) 1,945, AED2,672 and AED3,030 respectively.

All-inclusive return fares from Dubai to Beirut and Karachi cost between AED1,165 and AED915 respectively, while attractive fares are also in store for Philippines, Indonesia and Canton.

For families, there is the "Kids Fly Free" promotion whereby those who purchase two adult tickets can get a free child ticket.

Under the MHflex category, a passenger can purchase one Economy class ticket and bring a companion along for free.

Malaysia Airlines currently operates non-stop flights between Dubai and Kuala Lumpur, five times a week, and via Karachi twice a week.

It also offers three weekly flights between Dubai and Beirut, four weekly flights between Jeddah and Kuala Lumpur and two weekly flights between Istanbul and Kuala Lumpur via Dubai.

The carrier also has code share flights from Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Bahrain, Doha, Kuwait and Muscat to Kuala Lumpur. - BERNAMA
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Old September 8th, 2009, 01:31 AM   #1787
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MMC, MAS to launch new freighter flight
Published: 2009/09/08

MMC Corp Bhd said its unit Senai Airport Terminal Services Sdn Bhd has signed a deal with Malaysia Airlines Cargo Sdn Bhd to launch a new weekly freighter flight from Sultan Ismail Airport in Senai Johor to Narita, Japan.

The service signals a new beginning for Senai International Airport as a regional air cargo hub, MMC said in a statement to Bursa Malaysia.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 11:40 AM   #1788
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MAS adds flights to Seoul, Taipei
Published: 2009/09/09

DUE to growing demand for flights to North Asia, Malaysia Airlines will increase its flights from Kuala Lumpur to Seoul, and to Taipei.

Effective Sept 17, Malaysia Airlines will have six weekly flights to Seoul except for Monday, the airline said in a statement today.

The additional flight departs Kuala Lumpur every Thursday at 11.30 pm and arrives in Seoul at 7.10 am.

The additional flight to Taipei leaves every Sunday at 9.20 am and arrives at 2.10 pm, starting from Oct 1. This means there will be 13 weekly flights to Taipei with six non-stop flights and seven via Kota Kinabalu.

Tickets are now available for purchase at www.malaysiaairlines.com.

Malaysia Airlines Senior General Manager, Network & Revenue Management, Dr Amin Khan said demand for air travel to North Asian destinations was picking up.

He also said both Seoul and Taipei have shown growth and the year end loads are up compared to 2008.

"We believe that this is the beginning of air travel recovery. We are starting to see more leisure travel. We expect business travel to pick up as well.

"We are constantly aligning demand with capacity. We are offering additional flights to Tawau and Sandakan, and will also be increasing flights to Bali," he added. - Bernama
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Old September 9th, 2009, 10:34 PM   #1789
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AirAsia eyes Penang-Chennai route
Written by Regina William Wednesday, 09 September 2009 13:48

GEORGE TOWN: AirAsia will launch its daily flights from Penang to Chennai on Jan 1, 2010.

AirAsia CEO Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said the new route, which was given the nod by the Ministry of Transport in June, was pending final approval.

He told The Edge that AirAsia was currently waiting to sign an agreement with Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) for landing rights on the same route.

During the launch of the inaugural flight from Penang to Singapore on June 1, Tony had expressed hope to launch the Penang-Chennai route within three months, which was supposed to have been sometime this month.

"We have set Jan 1 to launch the first flight from Penang to Chennai and I am hoping to ink the MAHB agreement out soon," Fernandes told The Edge.

AirAsia currently only has one other destination to India which is to Thiruchirappalli, from the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) terminal in Sepang.

The Penang-Chennai route will once again restore Penang's direct link with Chennai after more than six years.

MAS used to fly from Penang to Chennai but this was discontinued due to non-profitability of the route.

AirAsia is looking at seven flights a week out of Penang, one flight daily.

Besides Singapore, Penang is also connected by AirAsia to other international destinations such as Hong Kong, Bangkok, Jakarta, Medan and Macau besides the local connections to Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching and Johor Baharu.
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Old September 10th, 2009, 10:31 AM   #1790
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Quote:
Sarawak

Make S’pore-Miri route a success: Dr Chan
By Anthony Joseph Thursday, September 10th, 2009

MIRI: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan yesterday advised players in the local tourism industry to be more creative and innovative in marketing Miri Division.

“They need to attract tourists coming to Miri through direct flight from Singapore to Miri mounted by AirAsia,” said Dr Chan who was at Miri Airport to welcome 103 passengers on board the first flight from the republic to Miri yesterday.

“The flight provides convenience for people in Miri to get to Singapore. Hopefully the number of flights will increase in the future. I’m aware when you start something like this…in the beginning it will be difficult because of lack of publicity. It may take time for people to fully realise (the work involved),” he said.

Dr Chan believed that Singaporeans and others were interested to visit Miri and the state in general for the attractions of culture, adventure and nature.

“Miri and Sarawak are a confluence of culture and nature which is mostly still untouched. I have no doubt that if this is well promoted by our people (tour agents), it is will be a success and in no time more frequent flights will come in,” Dr Chan said.

“Our tour agents can also sell Singapore to our people here. So they must work together for mutual benefit,” he added.

He thanked AirAsia for providing the service and assured that the route would turn out to be a money-spinner.

“Today, you have to work hard in the tourism industry. You cannot just leave it alone. You have to go to customers and customise your tour packages (for them). The direct Singapore-Miri flight is a good beginning to make tour operators here aware of the need to work hard,” said Dr Chan.

The flight would be four times a week — every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

At the airport to welcome the passengers were Assistant Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communication Datuk Lee Kim Shin and Miri Mayor Lawrence Lai.
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Old September 11th, 2009, 09:39 PM   #1791
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Etihad to work with MAS onpassenger load
By Sharen Kaur Published: 2009/09/12

ETIHAD Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, aims to work more closely with Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to increase the number of passengers.

MAS and Etihad signed a memorandum of understanding last year to collaborate on code-sharing, frequent flyer programmes, ground and cargo handling to improve load factor, yield and opportunities to reduce cost.

Under the agreement, MAS is placing its "MH" code on flights operated by Etihad between Abu Dhabi and Bahrain as well as Doha in the Gulf region.

Etihad is placing its "EY" code on MAS flights between Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu, Penang, Kuching, Langkawi as well as Kuantan.

"Malaysia generates connectivity for us and represents a very important key destination for our network," Etihad country manager for Malaysia, Adam Phillips, said.

"We have done a lot in a short span of time in Malaysia. The possibility of point expansion here is endless," he told Business Times in an interview.

Etihad flies from Kuala Lumpur to Abu Dhabi and has connecting flights to the Middle East, Europe, Asia-Pacific, the US, Canada and South Africa. These routes are popular among Malaysians, Phillips said.

"We are identifying new cities and more partners to collaborate with to expand the business. We are one of the fastest-growing airlines in the world despite it being more challenging now."

Since its set-up in November 2003, Etihad has established code-sharing with 18 airlines.

Etihad has 46 Airbus and Boeing passenger planes, and will add six more by December.

It flies to 54 destinations. New routes this year included Melbourne, Istanbul, Athens and Cyprus.

Despite the global financial turmoil, Etihad will start to fly to Hyderabad, Chicago and Cape Town by the year-end.

Phillips said Etihad was on track to carrying seven million passengers this year, up 17 per cent from last year, attributing it to network and fleet expansion.

In the first six months to June, it carried 3.01 million passengers, up 8 per cent from the previous corresponding period.

"We had a bit of a double hit this year with the slowdown in economy and the influenza A(H1NI) pandemic, which put people off travelling. But the real challenge for us as an airline is recognition and understanding of the Etihad brand," Phillips said.

"We are only five years old in the aviation industry. We are getting the success right, but it's about getting the brand up. We are looking at sports sponsorship to build that and it is a great vehicle for going across international boundaries," he added.

Etihad announced in May its biggest deal as official club and shirt sponsor of the Manchester City Football Club, which plays in the English Premier League.
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Old September 15th, 2009, 09:40 PM   #1792
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AirAsia Raiders plane to head for Oakland
Published: 2009/09/16

BUDGET carrier AirAsia Bhd is bringing its Raiders’ branded A340 from Kuala Lumpur to Oakland, the US, on Monday, in celebration of Raiders’ season opener against the San Diego Chargers.

AirAsia and the Oakland Raiders have teamed up to expand the Raiders’ fan base in Asia and to promote the AirAsia brand in the US, creating excitement for future entry into the US market.

AirAsia X chief executive officer Azran Osman-Rani said AirAsia X is now in the process of negotiations with airports in the US over a possibility of operating flights there.

It is exploring ways of commencing flights to the US much earlier than 2016.
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Old September 24th, 2009, 02:01 PM   #1793
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AirAsia spreads its wings to American football
By AFTAR SINGH September 24, 2009



Eye-catching trio: Three cheerleaders posing in front of AirAsia’s
Airbus A-340 at the Oakland International Airport on Sept 14.


AIRASIA is fast becoming synonymous with sports.

It has already penetrated the hugely popular English Premier League market, is a partner of the AT&T Williams Formula One racing team and is also the official low-cost airline for Manchester United.

Now, it has spread its wings to American football with its two-year sponsorship of the Oakland Raiders in the National Football League (NFL).

American football may not be as famous or as popular as soccer in this part of the world but that has not stopped AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes from trying to promote the game here.

“It’s a very popular game in the US and we also want it to be one of the sports in Asia. We (AirAsia), with the help of Oakland Raiders, will make efforts to promote the game in Asia,” Tony told a press conference in Oakland last week.

His made those comments after AirAsia’s “Xcellence’’ – its Airbus A340 – touched down at the Oakland International Airport for the first time last Monday. On board the flight was a group of 10 journalists from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.

Also present were newly-appointed Malaysian Ambassador Datuk Seri Dr Jamaludin Jarjis, the city’s Mayor Ron Dellums, Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis and CEO Amy Trask, AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman-Rani and director Datuk Lim Kian Onn.

“This is a very proud moment for us.

“We are excited to associate ourselves with an iconic team like Oakland Raiders. This partnership will greatly enhance our efforts to boost our brand globally.

“We are already a well known brand in Asia. We are on our way to becoming a household name in Europe.

“And now, our relationship with the Raiders will allow us to establish our brand in the United States,” said Tony.

The no-frills airline’s foray into the NFL is also a way for AirAsia to get landing rights in the US.

AirAsia had, in March, secured landing rights in Stansted, England, for the European tourists.

“We are now in the process of negotiating with airports in the United States on the possibility of operating flights into America,” said Tony.

“American destinations are very much in our long-term plans as demonstrated by our recent order of 10 Airbus A350 aircraft.

These planes will be delivered beginning 2016.

“However, we are exploring ways of commencing flights to the US by the end of next year.”

Tony also said that it would cost an American tourist just US$350 to fly from Oakland to Malaysia.

Once it takes off, Tony expects the NFL and Oakland Raiders’ fan-base to expand in Asia.

Speaking of the Raiders, the 10 journalists, including yours truly, were treated to the season-opening NFL match between Oakland Raiders and San Diego Charges at the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Stadium on Sept 14.

Unfortunately, the Raiders lost 20-24. Raiders owner Davis was enthusiastic about AirAsia’s sponsorship, saying: “Not only is Xcellence the name of the plane but it is the driving force behind both our organisations to promote the game.”
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Old September 25th, 2009, 06:35 AM   #1794
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AirAsia X eyes second French route
September 25, 2009

PETALING JAYA: While Nice will be AirAsia X’s first port of call in France next year, the long-haul low cost carrier is looking at adding a second destination in the country.

The carrier believed there was strong demand for flights between Nice and Kuala Lumpur but would not be launching the route “anytime soon”, AirAsia group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said in an interview with Bloomberg TV yesterday.

“Well, I think there’s a huge amount of demand. That would be our first point of call. We’ve also got the whole of the south of France, you’ve got Geneva a couple of hours away and you’ve also got Milan,” he said.

He said AirAsia was innovative in the way it looked at destinations and going to Nice was “really serving the whole of the south of France, a bit of Italy and Switzerland.”

Asked whether there would be more capital fund raising for AirAsia in the next two years, Fernandes said no.

“We had a fantastic roadshow, great demand, so we raised RM500mil. It’s only the second time we’ve been in the market. The first time was our IPO (initial public offering) in 2004,” he said.

The company announced its capital-raising last month to pare down its debt. Fernandes said AirAsia’s business income had been strong and ancilliary income was increasing. “Oil prices have come off substantially so we don’t see ourselves needing capital for a long long time,” he added.

On the expansion of AirAsia’s fleet, Fernandes said the company was looking to take in 16 planes next year, eight planes fewer than originally planned.

“The demand (for travel) has been very good. We’ve continued to outgrow capacity above 20% in the last two quarters (and) this quarter is looking very strong as well in terms of passengers,” he said. He said the carrier had just started flying into India, which “has been looking very good”.
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Old September 28th, 2009, 12:41 AM   #1795
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AirAsia aims to beef up cargo revenue
By Jeeva Arulampalam Published: 2009/09/28



LOW-COST carrier AirAsia Bhd (5099) wants to increase its cargo business by targeting clients that are more price sensitive and less time sensitive, said AirAsia X chief executive officer Azran Osman-Rani.

Azran, who is driving AirAsia's cargo expansion, said the airline will be able to grow its cargo revenue by half in 2009 from the RM40 million recorded last year.

While cargo revenue represents roughly 1.5 per cent of the group's topline in 2008, the airline hopes to increase the contribution to 10 per cent by 2011.

"In the past, as a low-cost carrier, we did not look at cargo seriously as there were concerns that cargo may be disruptive to the core operations, which requires fast turnaround," Azran told Business Times in a recent interview in Sepang.

The airline, which utilises less than 20 per cent of the aircraft belly space for cargo now, has the potential to utilise up to 40 per cent of its cargo space for core routes including Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Melbourne, London, Bangkok and Jakarta.

"The reasons why the cargo business is interesting to us now is because we have started adding a lot more (new) flights and frequencies," said Azran.

While the shipment amount remains small, frequent flights, such as eight flights daily between Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, allow the carrier to provide more competitive rates in the market due to under utilised cargo capacity.

Azran said rates can be up to 50 per cent cheaper compared with the market, lending to AirAsia's visibility as a viable alternative cargo provider.

"We are also setting up a strategic approach to the cargo network. So instead of just going point-to-point, we are working with cargo sales agents on how to piece together interline solutions," he said.

For example, cargo bound from China to Europe can be placed on an AirAsia flight from China to Kuala Lumpur and subsequently transferred onto an airline traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Europe.

"We talk to freight forwarders because they match the routes," said Azran.

AirAsia will not compete with large air cargo players but work with middle market players that can utilise AirAsia's services.

"There is a lot of business within the 24 to 48 hour window cycle for cargo movement, especially for people who are less time sensitive and want an alternative to shipping," he adds.

AirAsia also hopes to capitalise on its presence in the Chinese market given the country's large export industry.

"As China increases the value of goods that it produces such as sophisticated electronics or rich textiles, the demand for air cargo increases because they may not want to send it by ship," said Azran.

He added that two key cargo routes in China, Tianjin and Hangzhou, were already operated by AirAsia X.

"We have also heard that the Chinese government is going to start limiting cargo flights to Beijing Airport and will direct the cargo aircraft to Tianjin. This will make Tianjin a more prominent global cargo hub in the next six months," said Azran.
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Old September 28th, 2009, 09:11 PM   #1796
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AirAsia flies into three more South Indian cities
Tuesday September 29 2009

SEPANG, Sept 28 — AirAsia, Asia’s leading low cost airline, will fly to Kochi, Trivandrum and Kolkata come December, in a move to expand its network in India.

AsiaAsia Group’s Regional Head of Commercial Kathleen Tan said AirAsia was flying now to Tiruchirappalli and would spread its wings to other destinations in India this year.

“Last year we were very busy working in China and we are now extensively covered in China. At present, AirAsia flies to Chengdu, Guangzhou, Guilin, Haikou, angzhou, Shenzhen and Tianjin in China.

“For the fourth quarter and next year, AirAsia will focus on building our network in India where there is huge demand,” she told Bernama in an interview today in conjunction with AirAsia’s 48-hour sales.

The two-day promotion, offers a 20 per cent discount on fares to all destinations, excluding London and Thailand, for the travel period beginning today until Nov 30.

It covers all domestic and international destinations across 20 countries and over 130 routes.

Elaborating on the Indian sector, Tan said AirAsia was looking at tapping destinations like Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and AirAsia’s long-haul affiliate, AirAsia X, would look further at Mumbai and Delhi.

She said the Tiruchirappalli sector received overwhelming response from the population in Southern India who visited Kuala Lumpur and used it as a gateway to enter Southeast Asia.

On whether AsiaAsia was experiencing a dip in sales due to the economic downturn, Tan said AirAsia was not really affected due to the airline’s strategic commercial initiative to encourage people to travel.

“Because of the economic downturn, people are downgrading but corporate travellers still want to fly. AirAsia offered alternative solutions to get people to fly,” she said.

Tan said AirAsia’s market was huge covering the corporate, youth, retired, labour, family and student segments, adding that travelling during an economic crisis was best because of low prices offered by hotels.

“Because of our low cost model, the fares are affordable. We are changing the travel dynamics in Asia and we see more Malaysians flying now. In the past, people in East Malaysia will not come to Kuala Lumpur because of the expensive airfare,” she said.

Tan said the low cost carrier had opened up the flying experience as people not just travel for holidays but also for shopping or medical treatment.

She said AirAsia’s low cost model also boosted domestic tourism as the airline’s huge network enabled more Malaysians to take short domestic holidays to Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Miri and Tawau.

“We see 2009 as a challenging year for the aviation industry. We removed fuel surcharge and administration fees because we want to keep flying at affordable prices to stimulate travel.

“AirAsia today is more than just about low fares. We are selling romance,

lifestyle and holiday dreams,” Tan said.

Asked on AirAsia’s sales target for 2010, Tan said the economy was recovering and people are beginning to spend.

“The worst is over, so let’s see. Our bookings have been very encouraging,” said Tan, adding that AirAsia was still expanding despite the challenging economy.Saying that the low cost model was more matured and gaining acceptance, Tan added that online booking was no longer an issue because people were more tech-savvy now.

On AirAsia’s 48-hour sales campaign, Tan said the airline rarely offered such a promotion.

“The campaign will encourage people to travel because this year was a tough year due because of the H1N1 pandemic and challenging economic factors,” she explained.

Asked on the sales expectation, Tan said: “I would not be able to give figures, it depends on the response, but I think the response will be good. We are running into the peak travel period now and people want to start planning their holidays.”

During the two-day promotion, AirAsia will offer a 20 per cent discount on fares to all destinations, excluding London and Thailand, for the travel period beginning today until Nov 30.

It covers all domestic and international destinations across 20 countries and over 130 routes. — Bernama
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Old September 29th, 2009, 01:12 PM   #1797
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Setting course for MAS to reach new heights
By Presenna NambiarPublished: 2009/09/23

The most urgent task for Malaysia Airlines' (MAS) (3786) newly-appointed chief would be to position and brand the national carrier ahead of economic recovery, say analysts.

Datuk Tengku Azmil Zahruddin, previously the chief financial officer, took over as MAS' managing director and chief executive officer from Datuk Seri Idris Jala on August 28.

"With economic recovery possibly happening by the end of the year, passengers will be less concerned about the few dollars' difference in fares. MAS should position itself to take advantage of that. In the long run, the current low-fare scheme won't work," Maybank Investment Bank Bhd senior analyst Khair Mirza told Business Times.

He said that the last thing MAS needed was to price itself so low that it diluted the airline's premium-service products.

"What MAS must now ask itself is, what exactly it needs to do. It has cut all that it can cut - costs, size, network. The question is, as part of its fleet renewal plan, will it come up with something that meets the needs of the more price-sensitive consumers?"
Should MAS decide to come up with a new low-fare scheme for the long term, it should focus on giving exactly what a normal low-cost carrier (LCC) would give rather than the extra trappings it boasts of currently, Khair said.

"Azmil saying that he will continue with the existing plan is his way of not rocking the boat. I'm sure he will have new ideas worked out, and one of them should be what role (MAS' wholly-owned subsidiary) Firefly can play in the greater scheme of things. In a way, this is Firefly's opportunity to rise," he added.

Khair voiced hopes that Tengku Azmil would continue to ensure MAS was well represented in the formulation of government policies, adding his view that Idris had done a good job in this respect.

During Idris' tenure, MAS evolved into a new breed of hybrid carrier blending traditional full-service carrier traits with those of the LCCs.

During a press briefing in June last year, Idris had likened MAS' business model to a cross between full-fledged full-service airlines like Cathay Pacific Airways and Singapore Airlines and LCCs like AirAsia.

Standard & Poor's Asian Equity Research analyst Shukor Yusof said that as more and more airlines consolidate, MAS would have to decide where it wanted to position itself in the industry.

"There has been a wave of consolidation, as you can see in the likes of Japan Airlines. With the latest round of airline consolidation, where does MAS see itself being positioned?" Shukor questioned.

So far, rather than join any of the global airline alliances such as OneWorld and Skyteam, MAS has chosen to grow its network through code-share deals with other airlines.

"Would MAS be looking to join an alliance? This remains a key aspect of the business which needs to be addressed quickly," Shukor said.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 01:12 PM   #1798
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MAS inks pact with CFM Intl
Published: 2009/09/29

Malaysian Airline System Bhd, the national carrier, signed an agreement with CFM International, which will provide engine support for the carrier’s new fleet of Boeing Co planes.

Under the agreement, CFM will provide full support for the engines including technical training, engineering and repair, as well as spare parts provision, Malaysian Airline said in a statement today.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 01:13 PM   #1799
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MAS CEO: No plans to replace A380
Written by Darlene Liew Tuesday, 29 September 2009 15:10



KUALA LUMPUR: MALAYSIAN AIRLINE SYSTEM BHD (MAS) says it has no plans to replace the proposed purchase of six superjumbos Airbus A380 with other wide-bodied aircraft.

MAS chief executive officer and managing director Datuk Tengku Azmil Zahruddin said on Sept 29 that MAS expected to receive the six A380 by 2011.

He was refuting a recent report by S&P Asia Equity Research that MAS had broached the idea of swapping the A380 for smaller wide-body aircraft such as the A330 and Airbus' upcoming A350 to avoid a massive penalty of up to US$300 million (RM1 billion) if it were to cancel the A380 orders.

Earlier Tuesday, MAS and CFM International (CFM), a 50:50 joint company betweem Snecma and General Electric Company, sealed a support agreement for CFM engines to power the national carrier's Boeing 737-800 fleet.

In 2008, MAS had ordered 35 firm and 20 optional aircraft with 20 optional aircraft with delivery commencing in the fourth quarter of 2010.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 05:00 PM   #1800
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MAS and CFM agree to B738 engine support
Tuesday September 29 2009



KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 29 — Malaysia Airlines and CFM today sealed a support agreement for CFM engines to power the airline’s Boeing 737-800 fleet.

In 2008, Malaysia Airlines ordered 35 firm and 20 optional aircraft with delivery commencing fourth quarter 2010.

Malaysia Airlines Senior General Manager, Engineering and Maintenance, Mohd Roslan Ismail said the airline had been getting excellent support from CFM for its B737-400 aircraft engines.

The CFM56-7B26/3 engines powering the new B738s will be the advanced Tech Insertion configuration, which will provide the airline with lower maintenance costs, improved oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions, and better fuel burn, a joint statement from the two parties said here today.

Tech Insertion includes improvements to the high-pressure compressor, the combustor, and the high- and low-pressure turbines.

Under the agreement, CFM will provide full support for the engines including technical training, engineering and repair, as well as spare parts provisioning.

Malaysia Airlines will be using the new aircraft primarily within the ASEAN region, including domestic Malaysian operations as well as routes to Australia, China and India.

“We are very pleased and honoured that Malaysia Airlines has chosen to make CFM such an integral part of its business,” said Thomas Wygle, Vice President Asia Pacific Sales.

CFM56-7B engines are a product of CFM International (CFM), a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (SAFRAN Group) and General Electric Company. CFM is the world’s leading aircraft engine manufacturer, with more than 20,000 engines delivered to date.

The CFM56-7B is the exclusive powerplant for the Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft family and more than 6,400 CFM56-7B engines have been delivered to date. — Bernama
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