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Old December 30th, 2008, 03:06 PM   #261
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Proposed LCCT in Labu to boost Enstek value
30-12-2008: by Surin Murugiah

PETALING JAYA: The proposed private low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) to be built by Sime Darby Bhd for AirAsia Bhd in Labu will have a positive impact on TH Properties Sdn Bhd (THP) and boost its property values, said its chief executive officer Zaharuddin Saidon.

He said the proposed LCC airport in Labu would further increase accessibility and connectivity, both domestic and international, to its flagship RM9.2 billion development at Bandar Enstek in Nilai, which will help boost demand of its various development components.

“We therefore expect demand for our products to increase. Even now we have experienced increase in enquiries about our products and visits to Bandar Enstek since the news broke out,” he told The Edge Financial Daily via email.

Zaharuddin said the value of THP’s residential units and industrial lots in the @enstek enclave had already been steadily increasing since their initial launch in 1999.

He said the company’s single-storey bungalow in the first phase was priced at slightly over RM200,000 but had increased to RM300,000 by the time the second phase was launched in 2004.

“When we launched the third phase known as [email protected] in late 2006, the single-storey bungalow was already selling from RM500,000 onwards,” he said.

He said the company’s industrial lots in [email protected] had risen in price from RM8.50 per square foot back in 2003 to the latest price of RM14.00 per square foot.

“This value enhancement was attributed to our endless efforts to create Bandar Enstek as the first planned knowledge-based community where we have as part of our township masterplan, the [email protected] and the [email protected],” he said.

The [email protected] consists of a 28-hectare education complex by the Ministry of Education, a 120ha institution of higher learning under the Ministry of Higher Education, the 200ha Kuala Lumpur Education City or KLEC as well as the Cempaka International Ladies College.

Meanwhile, [email protected] is a 200ha integrated development that covers the whole spectrum of the healthcare industry with focus on medical tourism, which was awaiting the final approval from the federal government, said Zaharuddin.

He said the project was a tri-partite joint-venture between TH Properties, TSR Capital Berhad and the International Islamic University of Malaysia.

Zaharuddin said while THP had so far developed about 30% of the 2,046.4ha township, almost the entire development had been committed for future projects including [email protected], KLEC, techpark2, resort living, theme park and business park.

“As such, we are already running out of land to accommodate the ever increasing parties that are interested to invest in various projects within Bandar Enstek.”

“For this reason, we had prior to this initiated talks with Sime Darby Property to look into jointly developing their plantation land adjacent to Bandar Enstek such as Tanah Merah and Labu Estates,” he said.

He said the idea was to let Bandar Enstek naturally expand into the surrounding areas, the developments of which could be planned to complement the key components of Bandar Enstek.

He said as Sime Darby had a larger landbank than THP, Bandar Enstek could blend into the former’s overall planning for a mega corridor that transcended both Selangor and Negri Sembilan with KLIA and the proposed KLIA East as the major catalysts.

He said Bandar Enstek had a head-start in terms of implemented development, and could serve as a ready hub to spur the growth of the corridor consisting of a series of state-of-the-art townships that were being planned by Sime Darby.

“In no time, the entire area will become a new hot spot in Malaysian real estate on par with Klang Valley and Iskandar Malaysia. It will take longer time if the corridor is to be developed from the existing ‘greenfield’ sites,”

“Therefore, we do not see this proposal as a threat at all but to be mutually beneficial to us and the various parties if we can strike a strategic collaboration that capitalises on each others’ strengths and qualities,” said Zaharuddin.

He said the take-up rate for THP’s previous launches had been 100% and its planned projects were on track.

“With the proposed KLIA [email protected], the existing ERL line will be extended from KLIA passing through Bandar Enstek and KLEC. The ease of commuting from KL Sentral to Bandar Enstek will open up endless possibilities and opportunities.”

“Even faced with a global economic recession that is expected to affect our own economy by 2009, we are still positive that we can continue to sell our residential products,” he said.

Zaharuddin said THP had already initiated measures to reduce construction cost without compromising on the quality including via alternative construction methods and cheaper building materials.
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Old January 10th, 2009, 05:04 AM   #262
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Sime's role in Labu LCCT on MSWG's radar
By Adeline Paul RajPublished: 2009/01/10 BusinessTimes

The Minority Shareholder Watchdog Group would like to see the cost benefits and whether it is good for Sime Darby to venture into an unrelated business, says its new CEO

THE Minority Shareholder Watchdog Group (MSWG) will soon make known its stand on several controversial issues, including Sime Darby Bhd's involvement in a new airport in Labu, Negri Sembilan.

"I'm looking at this (Sime Darby issue). I'd like to see the cost benefits and whether it is good for a company like Sime Darby to go venture into an unrelated business. We'll study the matter and then make a statement," its new chief executive officer, Rita Benoy Bushon, said at her first meeting with the press yesterday.

Sime Darby owns the land in Labu on which AirAsia Bhd plans to develop a RM1.6 billion low-cost carrier terminal.

According to AirAsia, Sime Darby has yet to say whether it would be an equity holder, developer or just land-seller in project.

Another issue on MSWG's radar is DRB-HICOM Bhd's purchase of land in Johor for some RM722 million. The group plans to partially pay for this by selling some plantation land, which is an income-generating asset.

Bushon said the body had written to DRB-HICOM, questioning the move and whether it may be prudent to ask for shareholders' consent since the deal is sizeable.

On her plans for MSWG, Bushon said she would strive to continue to take shareholder activism and the protection of minority interests to greater heights.

She also plans to make the body's presence felt globally, by engaging in talks, forums and roundtable discussions organised by international institutions such as the International Institute for Corporate Governance.

She said MSWG, which holds minimal shares in almost 250 companies, will initially be looking to cover 160 companies across all sectors.

Bushon is not new to the MSWG, having helped establish the institution when she was part of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), which was a founding member. She was a director in the body from 2001 to 2007.

She had served the EPF for 23 years in various senior executive positions before leaving to join Land & General Bhd as its executive director right up till August last year.

Bushon no longer holds any directorships.
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Old January 14th, 2009, 01:38 PM   #263
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Labuan Airport (Federal Territory)
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Old January 14th, 2009, 01:40 PM   #264
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Kuching International Airport (Sarawak)
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Old January 14th, 2009, 03:41 PM   #265
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Firefly Airlines continue growth


In a recent announcement, Firefly Airlines expects to enter a code share agreement with Malaysia Airline by the end of January 2009. The code share is expected to bring more people to Samui using Malaysia Airlines and their Kuala Lumpur gateway.

Samui-based Amsian Travel director, Santi Wongsawat, said “Once the technical side is done, travel agents will be able to see our flights in the GDS system. We can then market the link in Australia, because Australian travellers will save time and expense if they fly to Samui via KL rather than Bangkok.”

“We are also considering the Middle East market, which is one of the strong inbound markets for Malaysia. We believe that it will open more business for Samui, especially during the time that the island needs to find alternate markets to counter recession,” added Wongsawat.

The short-haul weekend market for Firefly Airlines, a subsidiary of Malaysia Airline System Berhad, is expected to grow further as a result.

“We operate every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday on all [our] three routes, so holiday makers can fly to Samui or Phuket on Friday and return on Sunday or Monday,” commented Wongsawat.

In related news, Firefly has also recently added to its domestic route network launching a new twice-daily flight to Kerteh in Terengganu, Malaysia. This is the second route to Terengganu offered by Firefly, after Kuala Terengganu.

"This route is Firefly´s commitment in providing alternative, affordable travel for all Malaysians. The main objective is to provide alternative transportation into and out of Kerteh that is economical, both in terms of time and money. In addition, to this Kerteh route will also add convenience to leisure travellers, as well-known tourism spots such as Kijal and Cherating is just a few minutes drive from the Kerteh airport,” Firefly managing director, Eddy Leong.

http://www.property-report.com/em_to...91&date=120109
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Old January 14th, 2009, 03:45 PM   #266
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Crabby Malaysians and AirAsia – The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13 – Tall poppy syndrome. Crab mentality. Schadenfreude.

Go read it up in the Wikipedia. All relate to AirAsia’s phenomenal success and their current ambitions to build their own airport in Labu.

In any other country, some of us might cheer them. Their motto “Now Everyone can fly” proved to be true enough for the current low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) at the KL International Airport to burst at the seams notwithstanding the terminal expansion ready in March.


For too long, we have complained about Malaysia Airlines shoddy service that they even dropped their MAS moniker which we cynically christened as “Mana Ada Sistem”. Now, Malaysia Airlines is using their airline code MH to mean Malaysian Hospitality, together with mealboxes that say a lot about our hospitality.

In any other country, the fact that other private companies want to run airports or terminals say a thing or two about the current operator. We too have long carped about monopolies and the need for competition. AirAsia succeeded with Tony Fernandes and team, competing with Malaysia Airlines although those who begot it couldn’t make it a success.

Yes, they had help from the government. They had fees cut, they had privileges but it all came back to us. No-fares. One ringgit fares. With all our taxes and charges listed out. Imagine, all these years to Singapore and back on shuttle flights for RM600 and all you get is a measly orange juice.

Now, even Malaysia Airlines has dusted off its 1990s proposals and finally seen the light to use turbo-prop aircraft out of Subang to cater to the leisure and business crowd who don’t mind going slower than jet-speed but will want full-service quality. That is competition for AirAsia.

But some of us in this great nation want AirAsia and Tony Fernandes to fail. He is the tall poppy that must be cut to size. He is the crab that must not be allowed to get out of the basket. He must endure misery for us to be happy.

Comeuppance? Perhaps, but we in Malaysia will be all the poorer when Airasia crashes and burns.

Then, everyone can cry.

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/i...ns-and-airasia
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Old January 15th, 2009, 10:12 AM   #267
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MSWG questions viability of 2 LCCTs
Published: 2009/01/15

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KLIA East : Artist impression
KUALA LUMPUR: Minority Shareholder Watchdog Group (MSWG) has questioned if there was room for the development of two low-cost carrier terminals (LLCTs).

MSWG chief executive officer Rita Benoy Bushon said while there may be persuasive arguments for Sime Darby Bhd and AirAsia Bhd to build a new LCCT in Labu, an orderly development and construction of airports and aviation infrastructure must be given the utmost consideration.

She said this was to ensure the optimisation of resources in line with the country’s National Airport Masterplan. “Further to this, MSWG’s view is that it is good to have competition but whether there is room for two LCCTs to be developed is debatable,” she said in a statement yesterday.

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) had earlier identified a location for a permanent LCCT at KLIA.

Bushon said an imported question that needed to be addressed pertaining to the proposed development of the LCCT in Labu was the cost benefit of the project in financial and non-financial terms.

“The funding arrangements and ownership of the proposed LCCT are also important for shareholders to assess the impact on the companies’ gearing and cash flow, etc.

“The proposed new LCCT, in our view, is expected to negatively impact upon MAHB as it will cannibalise existing capacity of KLIA given the fact that AirAsia commands 16% and 49% of international passenger movement and domestic passenger movement respectively to the traffic flow of KLIA,” she said.

Bushon said Sime Darby, AirAsia and MAHB respectively would need to provide more information and answers to address shareholders’ concern. “In this way, their responses would make investors and stakeholders better informed on the new proposed LCCT.”

Meanwhile, ECMLibra Investment Research yesterday reiterated its buy on AirAsia, with a discounted cash flow- derived target price of RM1.90.

The research house said the construction of the purpose-built new LCCT at Labu made sense as the carrier’s need for a terminal with a higher capacity was imperative for its future growth.

“The existing LCCT with a capacity of 10 million per annum is already operating at full capacity within two years of its completion. Upon completion of its ongoing expansion in 2009, another five million capacity will be added.

“However, within a year, the expanded LCCT is anticipated to be filled to the brim again. More seriously, there will be a massive capacity shortfall of 10 million by 2013,” ECMLibra Research said.

It added that with better infrastructure and access, the LCCT at Labu would be on solid footing to be a leading regional LCCT hub once the long-haul operations of AirAsia X gained momentum.

ECMLibra Research said brighter days were ahead for AirAsia despite demand concerns. It said jet fuel costs had declined from a high of US$181 (RM651.60) per barrel in July 2008 to US$63 per barrel currently.

It said given AirAsia’s low-cost structure, the carrier would still be able to defend its turf in the event of a price war, and AirAsia may be able to benefit from down-trading by air travellers who are expected to become more cost-conscious going forward.

ECMLibra Research revised its estimates downwards for FY08 by 42.5% to take into account fuel hedging loss in 3QFY08 but also revised its estimates for FY09 and FY10 upwards by 195.6% and 117.3% respectively due to lower jet fuel assumptions of US$75 and US$80 per barrel respectively (previously US$120 and US$115 per barrel).

Sime Darby Bhd rose five sen to RM5.55 yesterday, while MAHB fell one sen to RM2.25. AirAsia rose one sen to 90 sen.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 04:15 AM   #268
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Penang budget terminal proposal gets thumbs up
By Marina EmmanuelPublished: 2009/01/16

Industrialists hail the proposal as an answer to better flight connectivity and to lure more investors to the state, while the tourism sector hopes it will boost tourist arrivals

BUDGET carrier AirAsia Bhd's (5099) proposal to build a low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) in Penang has received the thumbs up from industrialists and tourism players on the island state.

While industrialists are hailing the proposal as an answer to better flight connectivity and a magnet to lure more investors to the state, the tourism sector is hoping that the proposed LCCT will boost tourist arrivals and serve to insulate the uncertain economic outlook.

"If Penang gets an LCCT, its residents will definitely be the major beneficiaries," Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (northern region) Datuk O.K. Lee told Business Times yesterday.

"While there are currently quite a number of cheap flights to China and other locations, they all require us to use the LCCT in Kuala Lumpur to depart, resulting in higher costs.
"I hope an LCCT for Penang means that Penang residents and its visitors get to fly at low cost even to Europe, Australia and other Asian countries, directly," he added.

At a separate function, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said he welcomes AirAsia's proposal to set up the budget terminal on the island.

New Straits Times yesterday reported that AirAsia was lobbying the Penang State Government for an LCCT, within the vicinity of the existing Bayan Lepas International Airport on the island.

The proposed budget terminal is estimated to cost RM120 million, excluding the cost of land, sources had said.

Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (northern region) chairman Datuk Seri Nazir Ariff Mushir Ariff said it is crucial for Penang to get an LCCT immediately for its tourism industry to boom.

"In order for Penang to get investors and tourists in a big way, people need to be connected by direct flights," he said, adding that the cost of doing business in Penang will also become competitive in the long-run.

Malaysia Association of Hoteliers' Penang chapter chairman Marco G. Battistotti said the provision of an LCCT for Penang is a good strategy since the regional market for tourism arrivals is growing and Malaysia can tap into this.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 02:52 PM   #269
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Labuan Airport (Federal Territory)
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Old January 17th, 2009, 09:49 AM   #270
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Domestic Airport
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Old January 19th, 2009, 02:26 PM   #271
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OSK: Dire need for LCCT in Penang
Published: 2009/01/19

OSK RESEARCH Sdn Bhd said there is a dire need for a new low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) or an extension facility to the existing airport in Penang to accommodate new routes.

In a research report last Friday, OSK said a larger airport would attract more investors as Penang is a key industrial state and the focus of multinational corporations that set up manufacturing plants.

"It may help to boost economy in the other northern states, including Kedah, Perlis and Perak.

"Penang is a key tourist centre so good flight connectivity may increase tourist arrivals," it added.

Business Times reported that AirAsia Bhd was looking at Penang as a potential hub for a LCCT and has asked for rights to be the licensed operator to keep costs low.

AirAsia group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes has proposed two sites that are aligned with the Penang International Airport at Bayan Lepas.

The proposed Penang terminal will be priced at RM120 million, excluding the cost of land.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said he welcomes AirAsia's proposal to set up the budget terminal on the island.

OSK added that AirAsia was looking closely at expanding its flight network in Penang.

"As AirAsia has made aggressive aircraft purchases and expects to take delivery over the next few years, the new proposed LCCT will be timely in offering room for its fast expanding aircraft fleet," it said.

However, OSK doubts the need for the budget airline to operate the airport.

"As Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd (MAHB) currently offers lower passenger service charges and passenger service security charges for passengers departing from LCCT at KLIA and Kuching, we strongly believe MAHB may offer the same package if the LCCT was built in Penang," it said.

AirAsia also enjoys various incentives in the form of lower or free landing and parking fees for introducing new routes, so the new airport may not necessarily result in significantly lower costs if operated by the company.

OSK said the airline should focus on its core business as a low-cost carrier because the airport business may not necessarily be a lucrative business.

OSK maintains its "neutral" call on AirAsia with a 12-month target price of RM0.93.
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Old January 19th, 2009, 02:27 PM   #272
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Experts see bright prospects for low-cost carriers in 2009
Published: 2009/01/19

LOW-COST carriers will soar to higher earnings in the year ahead, as customers migrate from full-service airlines which face steep revenue declines and forced mergers, industry experts said.

The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (Capa) said that as the global downturn bites, low-cost carriers will outpace traditional airlines "in terms of traffic growth and earnings in 2009".

"Stormy conditions in 2008 have already helped the low-cost segment gain a larger slice of global aviation," the Sydney-based aviation thinktank said in an outlook report.

"Now predicted tougher economic conditions and lower fuel prices will give the sector a major advantage in 2009," it said.

Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes, chief executive of AirAsia and the pioneer of low-cost aviation in Asia, said that as the recession hits, many passengers will not cancel trips but instead hunt for the cheapest tickets.

"They will fly with a low-cost carrier instead of a legacy airline to save money," he said.

Fernandes said that the fortunes of British low-cost airline easyJet and Ryanair, Europe's biggest budget airline, will soar as the downturn depresses European economies.

"Full-service carriers will try to compete with us, but we have the upper hand," he said.

Airbus chief Thomas Enders last week warned of a "very challenging year for the aeronautics industry," saying he expected a sharp drop-off in orders for Airbus.

And aviation industry group, the International Air Transport Association (Iata), has said it expects the industry to lose US$2.5 billion (US$1 = RM3.58) this year due to the economic crisis after losses of US$5 billion last year.

But Frost and Sullivan also said that Asian budget carriers were in a good position and that most of the damage to the aviation industry would occur in the US. Asia-Pacific would see passenger traffic rise 5-7 per cent this year.

"The market will see reasonable growth in low-cost carrier passenger traffic within Asia-Pacific and even in the long-haul segment," Amartya De, an analyst at the consultancy, said in a report.

Airlines worldwide have cut back growth plans and axed loss-making routes to weather spiralling fuel prices which last year sent at least 27 carriers out of business.

Capa said that as they have done in previous downturns, low-cost carriers had a relatively good year in 2008, while "plummeting premium demand quickly put the full-service carriers under the blowtorch".

"The European region, which accounts for nearly 41 per cent of international traffic, grew by 5.2 per cent last year, thanks mainly to the performance of its fast-growing LCC segment," it said.

Falling demand for premium aviation services together with pressure on revenues will drive further merger and acquisition activities among traditional airlines in the year ahead, Capa said.

"The low-cost sector, meanwhile, will focus on organic growth via fleet and network expansion. The result: a shift in the balance of world aviation," it added

Capa said that new-generation long-haul LCCs, such as AirAsia X and Jetstar, will be emboldened by the current lower fuel prices.

"As we enter 2009, many of the world's leading LCCs are still growing their capacity at double-digit rates," it said, pointing to Ryanair, easyJet, Vueling, SkyEurope, AirAsia, Virgin Blue, Jetstar and Tiger Airways. - AFP
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Old January 19th, 2009, 02:27 PM   #273
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AirAsia to fly to Macau from Penang Mar 1
Published: 2009/01/19

AIRASIA will launch its new international route from Penang to Macau beginning March 1 this year.

There will be four direct weekly flights from Penang and three direct weekly flights from Macau, the low-cost carrier said in a statement today.

AirAsia said one-way minimum fare is RM49 and available online via its website from January 19-25 for travel between March 1 and October 24.

With this addition, AirAsia now serves four international routes namely Indonesia, Thailand, China and within Peninsular Malaysia. — Bernama
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 03:05 PM   #274
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Kuching International Airport (KIA), Sarawak

LCCT project may start this year
22 Jan, 2009
By Johnson Kadam

KUCHING: AirAsia Berhad may start building its multi-million ringgit low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) here sometime this year.

Its Manager (East Malaysia and Brunei), Shanmugamnathan Suppiah, said the proposed LCCT had been put on hold thus far due mainly to the unexpected surge in the price of gas and petroleum globally last year.

“AirAsia had planned to construct one LCCT here and the Chief Minister had given his blessings, but when the price of petrol shot up the proposal had to be put on hold.

“However, now that the price has gone down, surely we will be able to review our previous plans and proposals. If the present price stays, I strongly believe that the project will be able to start this year,” he said.

He said this to reporters after the announcement on the reinstatement of the Kuching-Macau, Kota Kinabalu-Macau and Kota Kinabalu-Sibu (new scheduled flight) by Urban Development and Tourism Minister, Datuk Michael Manyin here yesterday.

For the time being, he added, the proposal was still under discussion at the top management level.

Shanmugamnathan pointed out that the construction of a LCCT involved going through lots of processes and red tapes.

Meanwhile, to another question, Shanmugamnathan said that AirAsia would consider reinstating the suspended Kuching-Bali flight if there was a proposal and demand for it.

“Whatever is being proposed by the public, definitely AirAsia will look into it seriously and due consideration will be given,” he said.

He explained that the Bali-Kuching flight was suspended because of unavoidable circumstances.
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 03:06 PM   #275
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Firefly confident of staying profitable
Published: 2009/01/22

COMMUNITY airline Firefly is confident of remaining profitable this year based on its 1.4 million passenger target, managing director Eddy Leong said today.

Last year, the wholly owned subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) carried about 400,000 passengers.

To further support sales and passenger load, he said, the airline will take delivery of another five new ATR 72-500 planes between April and August and fly 19 new routes this year.

Firely now operates on five ATR 72-500 planes and 17 routes — four domestic and 13 regional, he told reporters after the opening of the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport ticketing office.

He said Firefly hopes to operate the Subang-Singapore route this year, subject to approval from the Transport Ministry.

Firefly had applied for four times daily flight for the route. - Bernama
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 03:10 PM   #276
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 01:50 PM   #277
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Firefly seeks nod for Penang-Singapore flights
By Marina EmmanuelPublished: 2008/11/04

FIREFLY'S bid to make Penang its secondary hub by next year is expected to see the budget airline offering flights between Penang and Singapore.

FlyFirefly Sdn Bhd managing director Eddy Leong said the company is applying to the Transport Ministry to operate the route.

It is also seeking permission to offer direct flights from Penang to Johor Baru, which it hopes to start by the second quarter of next year.

International flights from Penang are likely to include those to Krabi and Hua Hin in Thailand, he added.

"We are also exploring other new routes within Asean by 2010, in tandem with the liberalisation of the Asean skies," he told Business Times.

Leong said the move to make Penang International Airport the secondary hub for Firefly by the middle of next year, will see three of the company's newly-purchased ATR 72-500 planes based on the island, together with its crew.

"We remain committed to our business plan, even in the face of a financial crisis, because when there is a crisis, there is always an opportunity to take a leadership role," he added.

Firefly, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines, is expected to take full delivery of all 10 new ATRs by the end of 2009.

"We are also applying to the Transport Ministry to allow us to increase our flight frequencies between Penang and Medan and most likely, between Penang and Banda Aceh as well," said Leong.

Meanwhile, new destinations which are likely to be offered by Firefly from its Subang airport base next year include flights to Alor Star, Kuantan and Kertih.

"The Subang-Singapore route is likely to start before we fly from Penang to Singapore," said Leong.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 01:52 PM   #278
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Firefly fleet change completed
Published: 2008/12/22

FIREFLY, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines (MAS), has completed its fleet change with five brand new ATR 72-500 aircraft, replacing the Fokker-50 used previously by the carrier.

Firefly managing director Eddy Leong said the new aircraft would replace three Fokker-50 turboprop aircraft leased from MAS since the launch of Firefly in April last year.

"It is indeed an emotional day for us to bid farewell to our Fokker-50s as they had served us well during the start-up stage," he told reporters at a Farewell to Firefly's Fokker-50s ceremony in Petaling Jaya yesterday.

Leong said two of the Fokker-50s had been returned to MAS and MASWings - another subsidiary of MAS - while the third one would be returned to MAS on December 31.

He said Firefly, which received its first ATR 72-500 last August, will be getting five more ATR 72-500 by August next year.

"Compared to the Fokker-50, the 72-seat ATR would give us 44 per cent additional revenue capacity while reducing operating cost by as much as 20 per cent, especially in fuel and maintenance," Leong said. - Bernama
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 01:52 PM   #279
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New take-off points
By Presenna NambiarPublished: 2009/01/23

Firefly, a community airline and subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines (MAS), is applying to fly to Singapore from six Malaysian points including Subang by April this year.

Other than Subang, which is located just outside of Kuala Lumpur, Firefly is requesting to fly to Singapore from its home base in Penang, Ipoh, Kuantan, Malacca and Terengganu.

Firefly wants to mount four flights a day between Subang and Singapore.

FlyFirefly Sdn Bhd managing director Eddy Leong told reporters in Subang yesterday that the application was for the season beginning April.

The six new routes are part of Firefly's plan to open up 19 routes this year, bringing the number of destinations it services to 36 by the end of the year.

All flights from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore are currently serviced from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang.

The highly competitive Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route is now serviced by MAS, Singapore Airlines, AirAsia, Tiger Airways and SilkAir.

Speaking to Business Times, analyst Ng Sem Guan of OSK Research Sdn Bhd said flying to Singapore is a move forward for Firefly although the airline may not be able to feel any apparent contribution, given the intense competition.

In recent years, airlines have resorted to aggressive fare cuts to attract more customers, bringing down yields for popular routes such as that between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Another airline analyst who declined to be named said giving Firefly the right to mount flights to Singapore from Subang would be unfair to low-cost carriers operating out of the KLIA.

"It would no longer be a level playing field," the analyst said.

Leong said Firefly plans to carry 1.4 million passengers this year, more than three times the number of passengers it carried in 2008. Firefly carried 400,000 passengers last year.

Firefly, which operates five turboprop aircraft now, expects to receive another five aircraft by the end of the year.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 01:53 PM   #280
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Firefly eyes Singapore route by April, additional destinations in works
23-01-2009: by Tony C H Goh



SUBANG: FlyFirely Sdn Bhd, the operator of the regional budget carrier Firefly, has upped the ante in the competitive aviation industry, targeting the lucrative Singapore market as part of its route expansion drive this year.

Its managing director Eddie Leong said the proposed takeoff points to Singapore would not be confined to Subang, but would include other secondary airports such as Penang, Ipoh, Melaka and east coast towns of Kuantan and Terengganu.

“We have submitted the application to the transport ministry to ply these routes about two weeks ago and hope to be able to fly to the republic by April this year,” Leong said after the official launch of Firefly’s ticketing office here yesterday.

However, he said the plan was subject to approval and landing rights by the relevant authorities, and it had yet to determine neither the frequency nor the Singapore airport that it would fly to.

In addition to Singapore, some of the additional routes it was eyeing include Subang-Kuantan, Subang-Alor Setar, Subang-Sumatra and Subang-Batam besides Subang-Kerteh, which took off on Jan 12.

By the end of the year, Firefly expects to fly to 36 destinations — 14 domestic and 22 regional routes. This would be an increase of 19 routes from its existing 17 destinations.

Firefly is currently operating five ATR 72-500 Turboprop airplanes, and will receive five more this year as part of the 20 ATRs ordered by its parent company, Malaysian Airline System Bhd.

The first delivery is scheduled to begin in April, and is expected to last until August. Firefly retired the last of its Fokker 50 planes on Dec 19 last year.

“By the end of 2009, we would be operating a total of 10 ATRs. The 72-seat ATR would help improve Firefly’s capacity to reach its target of carrying 1.4 million passengers this year, more than two times the number last year.

“With the additional planes, we would have capacity equivalent to four Airbus A320s and expects to achieve a threefold increase in revenue, in tandem with the increase in passenger volume,” said Leong.

He said Firefly would focus on optimising the existing infrastructure in the country, including all underutilised airports such as those in Ipoh, Kerteh, Melaka and Alor Setar.

It has an average load capacity of 60%, and Leong is optimistic the airline, launched in April 2007 to take a slice of the growing budget travellers’ market, will be profitable this year.

“The aim is to be a regional airline that provides point-to-point connectivity and brings people and communities in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and soon Singapore together,” said Leong.
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