Thursday, October 23, 2008

AirAsia X gears up for long-haul expansion

Fast-expanding AirAsia X plans to launch services to India, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan in 2009 as well as more services to Australia and China.

The Malaysian long-haul low-cost carrier, which serves Hangzhou in China and the Gold Coast in Australia, will take its second AirBus A330 at the end of October. This will be the first of 25 it has on order from the manufacturer. Chief executive Azran Osman-Rani says it is looking to launch new services next year when it takes three more A330s.

The airline is launching services to Melbourne and Perth in Australia and next year will add London to its network using a leased A340-300, and Azran says the is in the market to lease a second A340-300.

Asia's top 10 budget airlines

The aviation sector is going through a very turbulent phase in India and abroad.

In India, domestic air traffic has plunged to a five-year low, as traffic crashed by 19 per cent in September 2008.

As airlines face mounting pressures of a recession, fall in traffic and huge operational costs, how are low cost airlines faring?

So here's a look at the best budget airlines in Asia. Smart Travel Asia, an online travel magazine, rates these airlines on the basis of cheap tickets, reliable schedules, decent service and route network and access. While Air Asia tops the list, Air Deccan and Spicejet also make it to the top 10 list.

1. AirAsia Berhad

Topping the list of low cost carriers is AirAsia. Asia's largest low budget airline is based in Kaula Lumpur and flies domestic & international flights. AirAsia was the first to introduce low cost travelling in Asia. The airline started operations on 18 November 1996.

It was founded by the government owned DRB-Hicom. However, the airline ran into rough weather and incurred huge losses. Former Time Warner executive Tony Fernandes took over the company and revived it. "Before a business can grow, it needs to have its costs under control. It must be cost-efficient and profitable, and it must create value," Fernandes believes.

The company under his leadership scaled new heights. AirAsia introduced its low fare, no frills concept in December 2001. AirAsia is also now a public listed company on the Malaysia Stock Exchange. The airline now flies to over 60 destinations. It has a fleet of 69 aircraft.

The AirAsia group, has carried over 35 million passengers. AirAsia also plans to start low-cost flights to India soon. According to Fernandes, the revenue for the quarter ended June 2008 increased by 41 per cent to RM608 million as the airline carried 20 per cent more passengers to 2.8 million with 16 per cent higher fares. 'Now everyone can fly' says AirAsia Berhad's tagline.

AirAsia Confident Of Robust Growth Despite Global Crisis

Despite the challenging global financial crisis, low-cost carrier AirAsia is confident of continuing to experience robust growth, bolstered by a sustainable business model, its chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said.

"We think that we are in a strong position. We will continue to invest in our brand and increase demand through quality products while expanding routes," he told reporters after a media briefing on AirAsia's latest 5-Star Enhancement here Thursday.

He however said nothing was guaranteed as it was not known what was around the corner.

According to Tony, AirAsia was ready to face this challenging period as he had earlier predicted the eventuality.

"All I can say is that we will maintain a consistent strategy and change our products. We are a low-cost carrier and will not pretend to be something else.

"But, we are a high-quality low-cost carrier," he said.

Tony said the way out of recession for AirAsia was growth.

He said some airlines would deal with the recession by contracting. "But I am not going to waste five years of hardwork by throwing away the routes and brand development.

"It is going to be a long recession. I have been predicting this for two years and we are ready for it.

"Although it is not going to be easy, we have to maintain demand by having the lowest fares and good products," he stated.

Being the largest low cost carrier in Asia, AirAsia is able to compete with other full service airlines by maintaining its low fares and adding yet another sparkle to its already 5-star service, by enhancing its On-Time Guarantee.

The On-Time performance of flights refers to the departure of flights within 15 minutes of their scheduled departure times.

AirAsia is the only airline in the world that provides its customers with an innovative protection like the On-Time Guarantee. It is an innovative protection provided by the airline for customers against flight delays.

Beginning Nov 1, 2008, the AirAsia On-Time Guarantee cut waiting time from three to two hours.Customers affected by flight delays of more than two hours are eligible to receive an e-gift voucher.

Each e-gift voucher is worth RM200 and may be used to buy a seat on another AirAsia flight or redeemed for any AirAsia product or service.

The enhanced On-Time Guarantee is a benefit passed on to AirAsia customers as a result of the airline's improved performance for flight departures across its entire network.

In just a matter of three months since the AirAsia On-Time Guarantee was launched in June this year, the number of AirAsia flights delayed by an hour or more dropped from three percent in July and four in August to just two percent in September.

As a result, AirAsia has seen its On-Time performance for flight departures improving from 89 percent in July and 85 percent in August to 90 percent in September. Touching on the delivery of the new airbus aircraft, Tony said it would be used for flights to India, China, Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries as AirAsia had a problem at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal(LCCT)in Sepang.

"The problem is, I have got no place to park the plane. Every morning when I come in and ask my engineers what all the planes were doing in the hangar, their reply was that there was no other place to park them.

"So, we now have 33 bays and 36 aircraft. Until we get more bays, it is a real problem for us," he said.

Tony said that AirAsia would allow Malaysia Airports Bhd to finish its development first before bringing the airbus to Malaysia.

On whether AirAsia would reduce the fuel surcharge following the decline in global oil prices, he said the company would review the situation but only make a decision when there is some price stability.

"Let's see some consistency in pricing and the volatility out of the market.

Then, we will make a decision," he said.

On Malaysia Airlines, he said: "Our battle with the airline is over. All I wanted was to be treated fairly and to get our routes. We have got that.

"The focus now is on our branding and we want to get better. The competition is now within us and with no one else," he added.

AirAsia - Top 5 airline brand in Asia-Pacific

AirAsia has emerged Top 5 among airlines in the Asia-Pacific region in a recent survey conducted by leading market insight company TNS. The ‘Top 10 Asia-Pacific Airlines’ category forms part of the Asia Pacific Top 1,000 Brands 2008 survey which was produced in cooperation with the Hong Kong-based Media magazine.

A total of 3,600 people were surveyed across 10 countries, covering 12 major product and service categories.

At a time when many airlines are cutting back on routes, AirAsia is expanding its market share and introducing more aircraft. The airline has recently updated its entire Malaysian fleet with the more modern and fuel efficient Airbus A320, making it the the youngest, all brand new fleet in Asia.

AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer, Dato’ Sri Tony Fernandes said: “To be the only low-cost carrier featured in the ‘Top 10 Asia-Pacific Airlines’ category is a great achievement for AirAsia and recognises our pioneering efforts to revolutionalise air travel across Asia. AirAsia’s low-cost model, with its ultra low fares and modern fleet of comfortable and spacious aircraft, is an attractive customer proposition which is strong enough to compete with premium airlines such as Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific.”

Dato’ Sri Tony said, “Besides our brand new fleet and superior leather seats, AirAsia’s great cabin crew and ground staff, vast array of food selections, largest number of destinations, highest flight frequencies, unmatched On Time Guarantee plus the 5-Star smile allow us to challenge the very best of premium airlines.”

Dato’ Sri Tony added: “Over the last seven years AirAsia has quickly become a household name, and with flights operating from every ASEAN country, we are making air travel an affordable reality for everyone across Asia.”

Commenting on the study, Guy Hearn, Director, Client Services and Insight, TNS Hong Kong & Singapore says: “These rankings are a key indicator of the success with which these brands continue to lead in understanding, engaging and meeting the needs of Asian consumers.”

Meanwhile, in its report announcing the Top 1000 Brands 2008 listing, Media magazine said: “Low cost carriers such as AirAsia have sought to make air travel available to a massive new audience with low prices.”

Air Asia X to get new Airbus

Air Asia X is the long haul arm of the very successful budget airline Air Asia! At the end of October the handing over ceremony is due take place in Toulouse, France-the HQ of Airbus Industrie. The delivery of the A330 marks the first aircraft to be handed over from 25 aircraft Air Asia has on order with the Airbus company.

The A330 will feature on route of between 4 and 8 hours and has leather seats with the option of " XL"seating (at extra cost) offering extra luxury and comfort, set meals, comfort kits and an all-new in flight entertainment system.

Being a very fuel efficient aircraft the A330 is expected to reduce Air Asia’s fuel outlay by as much as 30% and, hopefully, allow Air Asia to stay at the forefront of the increasingly competitive South East Asian low cost air travel market.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Favourite AirAsia Picture

This is my favourite Airasia plane picture. I like this general type design of outlook of Airasia plane instead of other fancy design. Any one can share with us if you have any other special or favourite picture regarding Airasia.

Thai AirAsia offering New Inflight Services

Thai AirAsia, an associate of the AirAsia Group, is now offering passengers new in-flight services such as in-flight magazine called Travel 3 Sixty and a vast new selection of hot meal available onboard.

Travel 3 Sixty, a glossy 104–page monthly, English travel and lifestyle magazine, covers an array of interesting topics in the world of travel, entertainment as well as lifestyle and fashion. Travel 3 Sixty is also a platform to showcase AirAsia extensive routes, services, fare promotions, Go Holiday and many others. Apart from travel destinations, the in-flight magazine also provides pertinent travel information about Asia, latest gadgets, concerts, gigs, music, automobiles, fashion and interviews with personalities from around the world.

Commenting on the launch of the new in-flight magazine Tassapon Bijleveld, Chief Executive Officer of Thai AirAsia, said, “Our in-flight magazine reflects our understanding of our guests’ interests and contributes towards an interesting and engaging in-flight experience. It also represents an important extension of AirAsia’s diverse portfolio of products. We recognize that many businesses have a need to reach deep into narrow segments, and we are excited to develop products such as this and others to meet those needs. As the airline with the largest network in the Southeast Asia region and with over 100 point-to-point routes, we are confident that the magazine will be a welcome read by our savvy frequent travelers in Thailand.”

Besides the introduction of new in-flight services, available on Thai AirAsia’s flights, are new exclusive AirAsia merchandises for the whole family ranging from apparels, toys, travel accessories, collectable items, duty free items and more.

AirAsia also recently launched an On time Guarantee. Passengers are assured of on time flights with e-vouchers worth THB1,800 given if flights are delayed due to normal circumstances. Effective 1st November 2008, the delay period will be reduced from 3 hours to 2 hours.

AirAsia among top 5 most recognised in Asia Pacific

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia Bhd has emerged as one of the top five most recognised and admired airlines in the Asia-Pacific region in a recent survey conducted by market insight company TNS. It was the only low-cost carrier to be listed among the “Top 10 Asia-Pacific Airlines”, beating other full-serviced carriers such as Qantas and Malaysia Airlines.
“To be the only low-cost carrier featured in the Top 10 Asia-Pacific Airlines category is a great achievement for AirAsia,” AirAsia group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said in a statement.
He added that AirAsia’s low-cost model enabled the airline to compete with premium airlines such as Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific.
Fernandes said AirAsia was expanding its market share and bought more aircraft when other airlines were cutting back on routes.