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Old December 23rd, 2009, 08:56 AM   #1881
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MAS' plans for saving RM649mil
By TEE LIN SAY 23 Dec 2009



Tengku Azmil Zahruddin and Airbus senior vice-president, sales, customer
affairs, Thomas Friedberger at the MoU signing ceremony. They are flanked
by MAS stewardesses


Quote:
Carrier plans to buy six A380s, ‘bundle’ four planes from PMB for RM3.19bil
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines System Bhd (MAS) will have a cost savings of RM648.9mil over the next three financial years (FY) beginning FY 2010 with its proposal to acquire six Airbus A380s and “bundle” four Boeing aircraft from Penerbangan Malaysia Bhd (PMB) for RM3.19bil.

The national airline will pay PMB RM1.54bil cash for novation of the purchase of the A380s from PMB to MAS under the deal.

It is also paying RM190mil cash and undertaking liabilities of RM1.46bil to bundle two B777 and two B747 aircraft.

The bundling concept refers to MAS paying cash upfront as pre-lease rental to PMB, hence allowing a certain amount of discount to MAS.

At the end of the lease period, PMB will have an option to buy back the planes from MAS.

MAS is also expecting a compensation of about RM330mil for the delay in the deliveries of the Airbus A380 from January 2011 to August 2011.

MAS’ strategy, moving forward, is to transform from a 100% leased fleet to owning at least a third of the aircraft in its core fleet.

“While leasing ensures that we have the flexibility with our fleet, we pay a premium for this. In practice, we do not need full flexibility for the entire fleet,” MAS managing director and CEO Tengku Azmil Zahruddin told reporters at a press conference yesterday.

To fund this acquisition, MAS has proposed to offer 1.67 billion new shares to raise about RM2.67bil.

The rights shares will be offered to shareholders on the basis of one rights share for every one share held at a date to be announced later.

At RM1.60 each, the rights shares are priced at about 32.1% discount to the theoretical ex-rights price of about RM2.36 based on a five-day volume weighted average market price up to Dec 21.

Of the proceeds, RM500mil will be used for the acquisition of A330-300 aircraft, RM1.78bil for working capital, RM365mil for the repayment of bank borrowings and the remainder for estimated expenses.

PMB and Khazanah Nasional Malaysia, which collectively own 69.33% of MAS, have agreed to fully take up the rights issue.

The listing of the new rights share is estimated to happen in early March 2010.

Earlier, MAS and Airbus signed a memorandum of understanding covering the order of 15 A330-300 and acquired purchase options for another 10.

The total cost of the 25 aircraft is US$5bil.

These fuel-efficient aircraft will be delivered from 2011 to 2016 and will serve the growing markets of South Asia, China, North Asia, Australia and Middle East.

When all 15 A330 aircrafts are received by 2016, MAS expects annual savings gains of RM300mil.

MAS will also have the youngest, most fuel-efficient and environment-friendly fleet in Asia.

“This is the best time to order aircraft.

“When you order in a downtime, you get better deals and the aircraft is received when the economic cycle picks up,” Azmil said.

Maybank Investment Bank Bhd senior analyst Khair Mirza views the deal positively, saying that apart from cost savings, the acquisitions would bring in new revenue and improve yields due to the planes’ larger capacity.

Khair expects MAS to stage a turnaround in FY10. “Don’t be surprised if fourth-quarter earnings surprise on the upside, as cost has come down significantly. I think we should see some recovery in MAS’ yields,” he said.

Meanwhile, upon completion of the rights issue and proposed aircraft acquisition, MAS’ gearing ratio will fall to 1.3 times.

Gearing will peak in 2011 to 2.1 times due to the delivery five A380, five A330-300 and three B737-800.

Come 2016, with the increased capacity and new product offering from its new aircraft, MAS’ gearing will drop to one time.
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Old December 29th, 2009, 04:59 PM   #1882
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Old December 29th, 2009, 05:01 PM   #1883
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Old January 6th, 2010, 07:34 AM   #1884
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AirAsia And Jetstar Form Cost-Saving Alliance
January 06, 2010 11:41 AM
By Neville D'Cruz

MELBOURNE, Jan 6 (Bernama) -- AirAsia says its alliance with Qantas Airways' subsidiary, Jetstar, could potentially generate cost-savings worth hundreds of millions of dollars and result in lower fares.

Under the alliance formed in Sydney Wednesday, Jetstar and AirAsia would explore opportunities to jointly procure next generation narrow-body aircraft, cooperate in passenger handling in Australia and Asia, pool aircraft components and spare parts and jointly acquire engineering and maintenance supplies and services.

The airlines said the alliance would reduce costs, pool expertise and result in cheaper fares.

AirAsia Group Chief Executive Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said the alliance showed low-cost carriers could work together to stimulate the market and to operate on lower fares.

"The key thrust is to increase our efficiency and find ways of getting even lower fares. From this I believe we will then move into revenue ideas and we've already got a few that we've been discussing," Fernandes was quoted as saying in Sydney by the Australian Associated Press.

Fernandes said a common aircraft type specifications of the next generation narrow-body airplanes would be pro-actively pursued by both airlines due to the many efficiencies it would bring.

Jetstar Chief Executive Bruce Buchanan said: "We have identified many hundreds of millions of dollars of cost-saving opportunities and we think is an exciting opportunity for us as we launch this partnership going forward.

"Cost-savings are critical to Jetstar's business model and enables lower fares and more people can travel," he said.

Buchanan said there were "natural synergies" between Jetstar and AirAsia: They operated the same aircraft type to similar ports and had very similar business models.

The big potential savings would not be in labour costs but in obtaining aircraft best suited for the Asia-Pacific region and in sharing spare parts, he said.

"There'll be no job cuts from the Jetstar side and I can't imagine there'll be any job cuts from the AirAsia side," said Buchanan.

Describing the alliance as "historic", Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce said: "This is the first alliance between two low-cost carriers of this size anywhere in the world.

"It's a non-equity alliance but it's the foundation for bigger things for the group into the future.

"This will lead to further joint ventures, it will lead to significant cost savings within the group," Joyce was quoted by AAP as saying.

The alliance would reinforce Qantas Group's position in Asia, said Joyce, adding that: "It makes Asia the big focus of the group going forward and it's something that we think is strategically significant for the group today."

Asia is expected to overtake the US and Europe as the world's largest travel market by 2015.

Joyce said he did not expect any significant regulatory issues arising from the alliance given that the focus at the moment was on cost savings and future aircraft design.

Joint purchasing power would enable the airlines to work with airline manufacturers on the right aircraft configuration and design, he added.

IG Markets research analyst Ben Potter said the alliance was "very positive" given the extremely competitive airline industry and the pressures under which carriers operated.

"The Asia-Pacific region is one of the biggest growth markets in aviation.

Any ways to further reduce costs and offer more competitive fares will benefit both shareholders and customers," Potter told AAP.

-- BERNAMA
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Old January 6th, 2010, 06:11 PM   #1885
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Jetstar-AirAsia alliance to influence narrowbody design

By Laura Mueller - Flightglobal.com - 6 Jan 10

The newly-formed Jetstar-AirAsia alliance hopes to influence the future design of narrowbody aircraft to better fit the needs of low-cost operations in Asia. "Aircraft are generally designed for full-service carriers, what we need is an aircraft designed for low-cost carriers in Asia," says AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes.

He believes aircraft design can be enhanced to reflect the stresses on aircraft that are particular to low-cost operations, particularly regarding fuel savings and reliability issues. A solution, he adds, could be for manufacturers develop separate types of narrowbody aircraft for low cost carriers and full service carriers.

Reducing costs through better purchasing power and design influence over new narrowbody aircraft are the key features of Jetstar and AirAsia's new non-equity airline alliance, which the carriers announced today. The alliance believes collective purchasing during the next round of narrowbody aircraft orders will deliver significant savings. "The AirAsia name carries a lot of clout," says Fernandes. He also believes the alliance's purchasing power could be used beyond narrowbody aircraft. "There are no reasons why this can't be extended to includes widebodies as we both have Airbus A330s," he says.

Jetstar chief executive Bruce Buchanan says that the partners have identified "many hundreds of millions of dollars of cost saving opportunities", but admitted most of this would come from aircraft design and purchase initiatives.


Other savings will come from agreements to cooperate on the provision of passenger and ground handling in Australia and within Asia at overlapping airports, and will pool inventory for aircraft components and spare parts. They will jointly procure engineering and maintenance supplies and services, with Jetstar saying that it will maintain its existing use of and commitment to Australian facilities. The alliance is also looking at the joint purchase of fuel.

Finally, there will be reciprocal arrangements for passenger management. This will allow them to support passenger disruptions and recovery onto the other airline's service across both of their networks.
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Old January 6th, 2010, 06:13 PM   #1886
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AirAsia-Jetstar may examine A320 leasing operation

By Laura Mueller - Flightglobal.com - 6 Jan 10

The new Jetstar-AirAsia alliance could examine the formation of a new leasing company based around their older Airbus A320 aircraft. "This is an interesting option for us," says Tony Fernandes, CEO of AirAsia, who adds that the venture would have to overcome tax issues. Given that the companies operate a large fleet of A320s, it would enable them to provide easy access to spares and overcome other issues, he adds.

Between them the two carriers operate a total of 166 A320-200 aircraft with 162 on order, according to Flightglobal's ACAS database. AirAsia operates 48 A320-200 aircraft with 105 on order, and Jetstar Australia operates 32 A320-200s with 57 on order. Singapore-based Jetstar Asia operates six A320-200s.
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Old January 7th, 2010, 07:33 AM   #1887
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AirAsia, Jetstar form alliance
By Jeeva Arulampalam Published: 2010/01/07



The first such alliance between two budget airlines will involve them buying planes and parts together and offering joint ground-handling services

Airasia Bhd (5099) and Australia's Jetstar Airways Pty Ltd have formed a cost-savings-driven alliance that could well change the region's low-cost carrier (LCC) landscape.

The first such alliance between two LCCs, it will involve both airlines buying planes and parts together and offering joint ground-handling services, a strategy that could result in annual cost-savings of some A$200 million to A$300 million (RM620 million to RM930 million) for both airlines.

The partnership could even lead to a code-share agreement in future for two of Asia-Pacific's leading LCCs, AirAsia group chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said.

"The next logical step would be to look at a code-share agreement. It will not be your traditional code-share agreement, but for routes that we don't have the rights to fly to or if we don't have the (right) planes," Fernandes told Business Times in a telephone interview.
He was speaking after AirAsia, Jetstar and its parent airline Qantas Airways Ltd finalised the alliance agreement between both LCCs in Sydney, Australia, yesterday.

"This will be an exclusive partnership between both airlines. It's difficult to have two husbands," Fernandes said.

The alliance will help both airlines reduce costs, pool expertise and, ultimately, offer even cheaper fares.

Under the agreement, the airlines will look at opportunities for joint procurement of the next generation of narrow-body aircraft, such as the Airbus A320.

The goal is to reduce costs through large orders and work with aircraft manufacturers on the design of planes and specification that suit their operational needs as LCCs.

"We will have the economies of scale to help us cut cost," said Fernandes.

They will also jointly procure engineering and maintenance supplies and services and pool their inventory arrangements for aircraft parts.

"We have already started doing so for some parts like brakes, wheels and engines," Fernandes said, adding that AirAsia could see savings of some RM100 million this year from the alliance.

In addition, both airlines will have a cooperative arrangement for passenger and ground-handling in Australia and within Asia at overlapping airports.

"There won't be any duplication of staff because we are short-handed in some areas. So there will be no job cuts. Instead, we are interested in developing our own ground-handling unit through this alliance," Fernandes said.

The agreement also allows for reciprocal arrangements for passenger management, support for passenger disruptions and recovery onto the other airline's service across their networks.

Fernandes strongly believes the strategic tie-up will help AirAsia maintain its position as the lowest-cost airline in the world despite rising costs associated with the fledgling global economic recovery.

Asked when AirAsia would begin flights to Sydney, Fernandes said he was looking at July.

"It's difficult to answer that question because we are awaiting the approvals. We were asked the same question by journalists in Sydney (yesterday) given that we already fly to Perth, Melbourne and Gold Coast," he said.

Meanwhile, Qantas Airways CEO Alan Joyce said the historic non-equity alliance would give Jetstar and AirAsia a natural advantage in one of the world's most competitive aviation markets.

"Jetstar and AirAsia offer unmatched reach in the Asia-Pacific region, with more routes and lower fares than their main competitors, and this new alliance will enable them to maximise that scale," he said in a joint statement issued yesterday.

He said the aviation sector in Asia was a growth market and had been resilient over the past year despite the tough operating environment.

Jetstar CEO Bruce Buchanan said the cooperative approach was a result of both airlines' strong focus on costs.

He said Jetstar had reduced its controllable costs by up to 5 per cent annually and that the agreement would enable a further step-change in its cost position and ensure sustainable low fares.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 03:39 PM   #1888
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MAS flies into new year with low fares
Monday January 11, 2010

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines is offering fares as low as RM89 for domestic travel and RM193 for international destinations, in line with its Everyday Low Fares promotion starting today.

From now until Friday, travellers bound for Hong Kong can also take advantage of the promotion and fly to the city for only RM419 one-way.

Travellers can enjoy these low air fares for travel from Feb 22 to Dec 15 on domestic routes and from Feb 22 to Dec 17 for international sectors.

Other low-fare destinations in-clude RM419 to China and RM469 to the Indian sub-continent.

Malaysia Airlines senior general manager (network and revenue management) Dr Amin Khan said: “Our Everyday Low Fares promotion is a fantastic opportunity to grab some bargain air fares.

“Malaysia Airlines is allowing more people to travel more often, but you will need to grab the tickets quick to avoid disappointment.”
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Old January 14th, 2010, 12:32 PM   #1889
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"Flash" Your Enrich Blue & Silver Card And Get Extra Baggage Allowance, Says MAS
January 13, 2010 17:44 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13 (Bernama) -- Frequent flyers of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) just need to show their Enrich Blue or Enrich Silver card to get 5kg or 10kg extra baggage allowance, respectively, this month.

The New Year offer was available to passengers travelling from now until Jan 31 to all MAS-operated destinations, said the national carrier in a statement. The offer was in conjunction with MAS' frequent flyers programme and Enrich's 10th anniversary, said its Corporate Marketing and Loyalty Programme General Manager Raja Datuk Nordiana Zainal Shah in the statement. Enrich membership is 1.6 million spread over 240 countries, with the highest in Malaysia at about 60 per cent, followed by Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Singapore.

However, Enrich Gold and Enrich Platinum baggage entitlements remain as per current privilege at 1.5 times of ticket entitlement for Gold and two times for Platinum, it added.

-- BERNAMA
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Old January 15th, 2010, 09:17 AM   #1890
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MAS unit, SpiceJet to sign maintenance pact
Published: 2010/01/15

MAS Aerospace Engineering, a unit of Malaysian Airline System Bhd, will sign a maintenance support agreement with SpiceJet, an Indian lo-cost carrier, for its fleet of Boeing 737 New Generation series aircraft. - Bloomberg
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Old January 15th, 2010, 01:28 PM   #1891
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AirAsia's maiden Kota Kinabalu-Taipei flight
Published: 2010/01/15

Low-cost airline AirAsia today celebrated its maiden flight to Kota Kinabalu (KK) from Taipei.

In a statement today, AirAsia said the new international destination would establish KK as its second largest hub in Malaysia with a total of seven international and nine domestic destinations.

"The route, which was opened for booking in November 2009, received excellent response. Over 32,000 seats were sold to date," it said.

Chairman of AirAsia Datuk Aziz Bakar said besides Taipei, KK would also connect guests to Brunei, Jakarta, Shenzhen, Macau, Clark and Singapore.

"To date, we have carried 129,000 guests both inbound and outbound from Taipei since April 2009 and the numbers are still growing," he said. -- Bernama
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Old January 15th, 2010, 01:35 PM   #1892
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Malaysian dishes: Satay / Nasi Lemak

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Old January 19th, 2010, 08:53 AM   #1893
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AirAsia X Undertakes Seat Refurbishment Exercise
January 19, 2010 14:50 PM

SEPANG, Jan 19 (Bernama) -- AirAsia X is undertaking a major refurbishment exercise to upgrade all economy and business class seats on board its long-haul aircraft.

Chief Executive Officer Azran Osman-Rani said the first aircraft will be refurbished by Feb 1, 2010.

The entire exercise, to be done in stages, would be completed by June and provide a more valueble experience for our customers, he said.

Besides the economy seats being refurbished to a more comfortable level, business class travellers will also enjoy a pleasurable journey.

" AirAsia X will have lie flat beds for business class passengers, first of its kind for long-haul aircraft to replace XL seats. There will be 12 lie flat beds in A330 and 18 lie flat beds in A340.

"After taking into consideration complaints (on leg room), we believe the new seats will be more comfortable and relaxing to our customers," he added.

Azran told this to reporters after launching ExxonMobil's "Discover Travel @ Asia" promotion in conjuction with Esso and Mobil's latest Smiles Driver Rewards promotion here Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Esso Malaysia's Retail and Business Director Faridah Ali said the latest Smiles promotion with AirAsia, which began in December, was a way of rewarding and thanking some 1.5 million Smiles members for their loyalty.

The first batch of eight winners awarded today will fly to Abu Dhabi with RM10,000 cash. The three-month promotion ends in February.

"For the final two months, there are 16 grand prizes up for grabs which includes trips to Ho Chi Minh and Hangzhou with RM10,000 cash," she said.

Smiles members who own an AirAsia co-branded credit card will automatically be entitled to five entries when they charge their fuel purchases to the card.

Esso Malaysia Bhd, ExxonMobil Malaysia Sdn Bhd and ExxonMobil Borneo Sdn Bhd operate 560 service stations throughout Malaysia.

-- BERNAMA
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Old January 19th, 2010, 11:14 AM   #1894
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MAS unit wins Indian carrier jobs
Tuesday January 19, 2010



MAS general manager, Engineering/maintenance, Tan Wee Liam exchanging
documents with SpiceJet vice-president, engineering/maintenance, Robert
Bryant. With them are (from left) Mohd Roslan Ismail, SpiceJet CEO Sanjay
Aggarwal and chief administrative officer G.P. Gupta.


It will involve servicing the Indian carrier’s aircraft

SUBANG: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) unit MAS Aerospace Engineering (MAE) has won a new client in India’s low-cost carrier, SpiceJet, to service the latter’s airline fleet out of Subang initially and later in Hyderabad for a three-year period beginning this year.

SpiceJet controls 13% of the vast Indian air travel market and the first of its 19 B737 next-generation series aircraft is already in Subang. The rest will follow suit and even the 12 aircraft SpiceJet will take delivery over the next two years will be serviced by MAE.

A total 41 job orders are under this contract and it involves “C” and “D” checks. Aircraft “C” checks means the entire aircraft goes for a series of checks, inspection and overhaul works that take six days.

The “D” checks involve heavy checks of modifications and overhaul and the aircraft is normally at the hangar for a month.

Both parties signed the agreement yesterday but declined to reveal the contract value. It is learnt that every check can cost US$100,000 to US$300,000 depending on the job scope, so the total contract value could range from US$4mil to US$12mil.

MAE managing director Mohd Roslan Ismail said MAE had serviced about 100 clients’ aircraft over the years and this was its first win this year.

“It is also the first for our joint venture in Hyderabad. The MAS/GMR facilities will be operational by the first quarter of next year,’’ he said after the agreement signing.

MAS had last year agreed with India’s GMR Group to form a 50:50 joint venture, MAS-GMR Aerospace Engineering Co Ltd, to offer air-frame maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services in India.

Estimated to cost US$60mil, the facilities on a 250-acre site in Hyderabad will have four hangars that can service 60 to 80 aircraft annually. The JV will cater for both narrow and wide-bodied aircraft checks. SpiceJet’s aircraft will be serviced from that facility.

SpiceJet chief executive officer Sanjay Aggarwal said this was the first time the airline had sought a structured long-term maintenance support, as previously its aircraft maintenance was done “as when we could get a slot”.

The carrier undertook a rigorous process to identify the operator that could not just give it value for money, but quality and favourable turnaround time.

“We identified 13 MRO operators, shortlisted them to five, then three and to one. We found that MAE provided all the three – quality, turnaround time and competitive cost. Even though it is a three-year relationship, we hope it will last (for a long time),’’ Aggarwal said.

Given the “limited capabilities available’’ for MRO services in India, MAE-GMR is already positioning itself to offer MRO services to the many airlines in India.

Roslan said: “We are in advanced talks with some Indian carriers, including Jet Airways, and hope to get more customers from India and other countries.’’

Quote:
Originally Posted by nazrey View Post


ROBERT Bryan (tiga dari kanan) bertukar dokumen dengan Tan Wee Liam sambil diperhatikan oleh Mohd. Roslan Ismail dan Sanjay Aggarwal pada majlis menandatangani memorandum persefahaman di antara Syarikat Penerbangan Malaysia MAS dan SpiceJet di Kelana Jaya, 18 Januari. - Utusan/NOORADZRENE MOHD. NOOR
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Old January 20th, 2010, 06:03 PM   #1895
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AirAsia introduces self-check in
Published: 2010/01/20

Low cost carrier, AirAsia, is now offering a convenient self check-in service at several airports in Malaysia and regional countries.

The service is available at the Low Cost carrier Terminal (LCCT)-Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Jakarta, Bali, Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Hat Yai.

For added comfort and convenience, customers can also utilise its web-based check-in service, the carrier said in a statement today.

AirAsia said the initiative was part of its on-going mission of using the information, communication and technology (ICT) forefront to exploit technology and practice cost efficiency.

By adopting a cost effective service and liberating the traveling experience for customers, the innovative service will also avoid airport congestion, long queues and reduce waiting time at no extra cost, it said.

According to AirAsia, customers can still opt to check-in the conventional way, at its airport counters.

"We have invested quite a significant amount to develop our ICT facilities in order to keep-up with global standards.

"Now, we have equipped ourselves to fully exploit the benefits of it and achieve a competitive excellence in the market," AirAsia Bhd's group chief executive officer, Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said. -- BERNAMA
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Old January 21st, 2010, 11:34 AM   #1896
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AirAsia eyes 40pc rise in cargo revenue
Published: 2010/01/21

Low-cost carrier AirAsia has target to increase cargo revenue by more than 40 per cent over last year's performance.

In a statement today, AirAsia said its cargo segment would be a major area of growth for 2010, with South Asia being of particular interest to the airline.

As demand for cargo picks up, AirAsia said it was aggressively growing its markets and utilising Special Prorate Agreements (SPA) with various airlines to achieve the 2010 target.

It is also reaching out to markets beyond current routes to more cities in South Asia, East Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe, through other airlines via the SPA agreements.

AirAsia is also tying up with more cargo agents and large import-export firms in the markets it flies to.

"We've been signing up more key players in the cargo industry.
Our competitive prices allow us to also increase business with individual senders," AirAsias regional head of cargo, Sathis Manoharen said.

In line with the growth, he said domestic cargo operations are also expected to receive a boost, especially from the seafood industry

This industry is among AirAsia's significant cargo revenue sources. -- Bernama
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Old January 22nd, 2010, 07:54 PM   #1897
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MAS-GMR Aerospace Set To Expand In India's MRO Market
January 22, 2010 21:27 PM From Shanti Ayadurai

CHENNAI, Jan 22 (Bernama) -- MAS-GMR Aerospace Engineering Company Ltd (MAG) which inked an exclusive 10-year MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) deal with Jet Airways Friday, is set for further expansion in the growing Indian MRO market.

The deal between MAG, a 50-50 joint venture between Malaysia Airlines' wholly owned subsidiary, MAS Aerospace Engineering (MAE), and GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL), follows another deal signed earlier this week by MAG with SpiceJet for the maintenance of the latter's fleet of Boeing 737 New Generation series aircraft.

"Our aim is to position MAG as a leading MRO player.

"With a limited supply of airframe MRO in India coupled with India's growing aircraft market, a facility operated by one of Asia Pacific's leading MROs would complement India's aviation sector," said MAE Managing Director Mohd Raslan Ismail.

The Indian MRO market has been projected to grow to US$1.2 billion in worth by 2017 from US440 million in 2007.

"The current India-wide fleet is estimated at 410 aircraft and this number is expected to grow double digit in the next few years. This will make India a market with huge MRO opportunities," he told Malaysian journalists during a briefing here.

Asked on the revenue expected from Jet Airways, Raslan said it would depend on the aircraft sent in for MRO. Jet Airways currently operates a fleet 89 aircraft while its subsidiary JetLite, a no-frills airline, operates 23 aircraft.

MAG is also already speaking to several other airlines for MRO deals, said GMR's Aviation & Aerospace Business Chief Executive Officer D. Ravindran.

While MAG's current MRO facility is in Subang, Malaysia, the new MAG facility to be built in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh is expected to take off operations in 2011.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the facility which will involve an initial investment of about US$65 million is expected to be held sometime next month, Ravindran said.

With its strategic location in central India, the facility will bring substantial savings for Indian airline companies seeking MRO services, he said.

The signing was witnessed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, currently in India on a five-day official visit.

Najib, who made history being the first Malaysian Prime Minister to officially visit this South Indian capital city of Tamil Nadu, also witnessed the signing of two other memorandum of understandings, namely between Malaysia Airports Consultancy Services and GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd, and between Asia Pacific Flight Training Sdn Bhd and MAG.

The MoU with the flight training school will see the partners setting up a flight school in Hyderabad.

-- BERNAMA
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Old January 23rd, 2010, 09:11 PM   #1898
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AirAsia, Unicef to raise RM438m for Haiti
Published: 2010/01/23

AirAsia has joined hands with the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) in the effort to raise RM438 million (US$128 million) for children and families in earthquake-hit Haiti.

Its group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said AirAsia had established a dedicated link on its website to allow guests to contribute to the fund called Haiti Earthquake Children's Appeal 2010.

"The AirAsia family wanted to help when we first heard about the tragedy in Haiti. When Unicef asked us to join them, we readily agreed. Our website receives about 20 million visitors every month and we carried an estimated of 25 million guests last year," he said in a statement today.

Guests can contribute to the fund by visiting www.airasia.com and click on the link to make donations. -- Bernama
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Old January 23rd, 2010, 10:13 PM   #1899
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MAS modernising fleet
By LEONG HUNG YEE 23 Jan 2010



MALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) is embarking on a fleet modernisation and capacity expansion plan to stay ahead of its competitors.

Towards this end, its senior general manager (network and revenue management) Dr Amin Khan says MAS will dispose of some old aircraft and replace them with modern planes.
MAS plans to keep some of its B777 planes.

“We’re spending a lot of money to modernise so we can stay competitive, and at the same time we want growth,” Amin says, adding that MAS is realigning its products with market demand.

MAS currently leases all its aircraft from Pernerbangan Malaysia Bhd (PMB) and will eventually return the aircraft to the latter when the lease expires.

As it stands now, MAS is leasing 81 aircraft. Under its fleet renewal exercise, MAS could potentially own an additional 56 aircraft by 2016 excluding options for 20 B737-800 and 10 A330-300. The aircraft deliveries are scheduled from this year up to 2016.

The rationale is quite clear. Amin points out that leases are generally more expensive than on-balance sheet financing. “We aim to own a third of our fleet to lower our costs. It’s definitely cheaper to own the aircraft than to lease it,” he adds, elaborating that the airline could enjoy cost savings in the “single digit”.

MAS chief executive officer/managing director Tengku Datuk Azmil Zahruddin had earlier said that when the airline starts taking delivery of the A330-300s in 2011, there should be an increase in revenue, besides cost savings of RM649mil from financial years 2010 to 2012. When all the A330s are delivered by 2015, MAS expects additional annual savings of RM300mil, he was reported to have said.

Dr Amin Khan says MAS is realigning its products with market demand.

The fleet modernisation will likely see enhanced product offerings by MAS, arresting previous concerns of an old operating fleet. This means passengers can look forward to better cabins and newer in-flight entertaiment.

“As we move to new aircraft with newer technology, our operating costs will be much lower as it will burn less fuel and is more environment friendly,” he says. And it will cost less to maintain as well. “Just like your brand new car, the maintenance cost will be significantly lower.”

“From the customers’ perspective, they can smell the leather, just like a brand new car. And in terms of reliability it will be better,” he says, adding that MAS can spend more hours on the new aircraft in a day to fly to new destinations or increase flight frequency.

The airline will also be able to minimise the number of fleet type in order to simplify its fleet. Amin says there are more than three engine manufacturers and the carrier is looking at one model for norrowbody, one core family for widebody and one ultra large widebody for selected markets.

Amin says the new A330 will be better than the existing A330s as they have a longer flying range.

“The B737 will be struggling beyond 3.5 hours. We can go to Hong Kong but it will be struggling beyond 3.5 hours. With the aircraft replacement, we can fly on a longer range as well as increased frequency. The new A330-300 can service Asia and Australia,” he says.

Although MAS has plans to return the aircraft to PMB when the lease expires, Amin says, MAS plans to retain some of its B777. “We’re keeping some of the B777 as we move forward. What will happen is that we aim to own a third of the aircraft. Therefore we will have high assets in our balance sheet,” he adds.

The national carrier will be utilising the B737-800 to strengthen its domestic and regional routes; the A330-300 will serve Australia, south China, China, north Asia and Middle East while the A380 will be used to ply high density routes such as London and Sydney.

MAS will receive three of its B737-800 this year and the next. It will also receive five A330-300 and another five A380 in 2011.

“The B747 is a big aircraft but we’re increasing it to an even bigger aircraft, A380 which will come in the second half of next year. We’ve bought six of them (A380) and our strategy is to fly direct from point to point and work with our partners for the hub and spoke,” says Amin.

Last year, the airline entered into a memorandum of understanding with Airbus for the purchase of 15 Airbus A330-300 wide-body aircraft with an option for 10 more. The 25 aircraft will cost a total of US$5bil at list prices.

By 2015, MAS fleet will grow to a total of 108 including 20 options for the B737-800 and 10 options for A330-300, representing more than 30% growth from the current 81.

The national carrier will have the youngest fleet amongst its competitors in the region five years from now.

“The average age of the aircraft will be about five years and it will improve our product offering and competitive position in the industry,” Amin says.

MAS’ fleet was about 11.6 years in FY08 and is expected to increase to 11.7 years in FY11. With the delivery of new aircraft, the average age will be lower to 5.2 years in FY15.

“We’re literally reducing our fleet age by 50%,” Amin says.
Setting new routes

MALAYSIA Airlines’ major fleet modernisation plan will enable the airline to grow its network significantly. On the back of this, the airline expects to strengthen and grow its Asean network, south and north Asia, Middle East and China.

In addition, MAS senior general manager (network and revenue management) Dr Amin Khan said the airline “will restructure flights to the US while holding on to what we have in Europe and fix it.”

Locally, the airline is looking at increasing its weekly capacity into Kota Kinabalu, Kuching and Penang. It will also improve services via east Malaysia to regional destinations.

On its Asean routes, Amin says MAS will announce new destinations probably by end of first quarter. He says it will increase frequency to Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand and the Philippines.

MAS will also announce three new destinations to Middle East and new destinations to South Asia while increasing its frequency to Southern China.

Amin says the carrier is currently exploring new destinations in Japan. “We will introduce new direct service to Brisbane and announce a new destination to New Zealand soon,” he adds.

“As for London, we’re unlikely to increase frequency to London due to the difficulty to get a slot, but we will increase capacity by using a bigger aircraft, the A380,” he says when asked on its plan in Europe.

“The way we can grow this route is to get a bigger aircraft and that’s why we’re getting the A380. The cost per seat is much cheaper as well,”.

MAS currently flies twice a day to London with about 80% load factor. With the delivery of A380 next year, it is expected to utilise four A380 for KL-London route while the remaining A380s is likely to fly KL-Sydney route.

Commenting on the configuration of its A380s, Amin says, MAS will introduce a “super-economy” class on top of its current, first, business and economy. He says the new class will have more leg room amongst others.

Amin says the A380s, which is still being configured, is expected to fly 510 passengers while its current B747 carries 359 passengers.

“In short, we will get more coverage with better operating cost advantage with the new fleet. We modernised our fleet for simple reason of growth,” he continues.
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Old January 24th, 2010, 06:02 PM   #1900
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MAS' A380s will offer premium economy
Published: 24/01/2010 -Business Traveller

Recently we reported how Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific was considering a premium economy class (see online news January 12).

Now we can reveal that Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has already decided to go down this route.

Flag-carrier MAS will begin taking delivery of the first of six A380 super jumbos starting in the second half of 2011. These aircraft will be fitted with a premium economy cabin.

The news was broken by Dr Armin Khan, MAS’ senior GM for network and revenue management, in an interview with The Star (Malaysia’s leading English language newspaper).

Says Dr Khan, “We expect our A380s will be configured for 510 passengers as against 359 for our existing B747s. MAS will be introducing a ‘super economy’ class on the top of the current first, business and economy classes. The new class will have more leg room amongst other features.”

It seems likely that MAS will emulate Australia’s Qantas and install premium economy at the rear of the A380’s upper deck.

MAS says it will utilise its A380s on the kangaroo route linking London Heathrow with Sydney via Kuala Lumpur. At present MAS flies twice daily to London and it will use the A380s to boost capacity at Heathrow instead of seeking a third daily service.

Introducing premium economy is a smart move for MAS, as kangaroo route rival SIA is located only 200 miles away across the Causeway in Singapore.

SIA does not offer a premium economy cabin (and continually tells us it has no plans to introduce one) so MAS can go after SIA’s full fare economy passengers.
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