Saturday, December 6, 2008

AirAsia boss aspires to 'take over' SIA

KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 5, 2008): Budget airline AirAsia boss Datuk Seri Tony Fernandez yesterday said his long-term objective is to one day “t

Najib presents Fernandez with the Brand Icon Award.

ake over” Singapore Airlines.

Speaking at the Global Brand Forum Malaysia at the Palace of the Golden Horses, the maverick entrepreneur revealed his company’s ambitions at the end of a slide presentation.

To the amazement of those present, he showed two pictures – one of aircraft livery and the other of AirAsia’s new uniform for its stewardesses – and told his audience what he he would name his new company – “Singapore AirAsia”.

Fernandez, who was later presented with the Malaysian Icon Award by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for his contribution to the country, kept the audience in stitches throughout his one-hour presentation.

“And this is the uniform the stewardesses onboard Singapore AirAsia will wear,” he said, pointing to a picture of a smiling woman wearing a combination of the famous SIA baju kebaya and striking red AirAsia skirt.

While many in the audience laughed it off, industry observers took the view that it was a signal from Fernandez, following news reports of Malaysia Airlines having talks on a possible merger or a strategic alliance to form a global airline with British Airways and Qantas.

A Malaysian newsportal said that owing to global economic pressures, the airline industry was going through a consolidation period, with talks of mergers, acquisitions and bankruptcies dominating the business pages.

Najib said he was proud of Fernandez’s achievements, not only for his company but for the country as well.

AirAsia on par with Singapore Airlines

SINGPORE, Dec 4 — AirAsia chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes was all glee on Monday when the low-cost carrier began the first of its seven daily flights from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur.

The reasons were many. At the top of the list was that his dream of total open skies between Singapore and KL had been realised. He compared the challenge of opening the route — which used to cost about S$400 (RM960) return on full-service carriers — to "Nelson Mandela fighting for freedom".

"It was ridiculous that the most expensive route in Asia was KL-Singapore," he said.

Now, the fares could be as low as S$60 return on budget carriers, which also include Tiger Airways and Jetstar Asia. There are some 14 flights daily from Singapore to KL.

The plane that Fernandes greeted on the tarmac on Monday was 85 per cent full, with many Singaporeans on board. From this group, Fernandes met a couple who flew to Kuala Lumpur on their way to Langkawi. Which thrilled him no end.

"Singaporeans certainly don't think about flying to KL to take a flight," he said. Indeed, flying to KL allows Singaporeans to tap into a web of budget connections offered by AirAsia and its long haul arm, AirAsia X. Both launched new routes last week — the former to Trichy, Tamil Nadu; the latter to London.

Does Fernandes think Singaporeans will fly to KL to switch planes?

"I think it's beginning to happen," he said. "Singaporeans are very savvy. They are very loyal to their wallets. Malaysians, too," he added with a laugh.

The company recently scrapped its fuel surcharges, which Fernandes admitted was a big risk, but according to him, sales tripled.

"Singaporeans are also adventurous. The young in Singapore want to travel. They want to see Borneo, Siem Reap ... We provide that connectivity, so I don't think it will be hard to convince them."

Route-wise, short-haul carrier AirAsia has covered all the countries within its range. It will focus on flying to more destinations in China and India. There's more potential for AirAsia X to go global.

"I'd love to see AirAsia X fly to Africa — KL to Nairobi. And, one day to the (United) States. Maybe my last route will be KL-Rio."

That's Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which is more than 24 hours by plane away from KL.

But Fernandes is accustomed to dreaming big, taking risks and opening routes to places most people don't know about. Like Tiruchirappalli, or Trichy, which he had heard about at a funeral. He decided to fly to Trichy because of the town's religious significance and the fact that a "lot of Indians from Malaysia and Singapore are from there".

His dream is for the seven-year-old AirAsia to take on Singapore Airlines — though not all of it. "SQ is the best airline in the world without a doubt," he said. "My aim now is to tell people that we are as good as they are ... in the back end. I think we can be as good in the economy section. That's my goal before I leave my job as CEO."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

AirAsia launches Kuala Lumpur connection to India

The first route launched by AirAsia to India arrived from Tiruchirappalli on Monday, celebrating both the inaugural flight and the overwhelming 100 percent load for the first two weeks of flights.

The route was opened for sale only a month ago, and already a 100 percent load from 1st to 18th December 2008 has been recorded, as well as an average of over 80 percent load factor both ways.

The daily service is being operated on the new Airbus A320, offering 180 seats each way.

“The continuous strength of this network will allow AirAsia to rapidly drive growth, perhaps even ramping-up more frequencies in the future so that our guests can continue to enjoy our revolutionary low fares,” he continued.

The Indian population of Malaysia is expected to benefit from these services, as Fernando commented, “Our extremely affordable fares will enable them to trace back their family roots, renew family ties, and perform pilgrimage or travel for holiday purposes.”

The new service from Kuala Lumpur to Tiruchi departs daily at 7:40, on AK231, returning at 9:25 from Tiruchi on AK 232.

Attending the inaugural flight celebration, the High Commissioner for India in Malaysia, HE Ashok K Kantha recognized “AirAsia has revolutionized air travel with its low fares and made flying affordable for everyone.”

He added, “We are confident that AirAsia will not only assist us in boosting bilateral agreement, the local tourism industry and economy but also opening up our market.”

AirAsia to resume flights to Bangkok Friday


Budget carrier AirAsia will resume its commercial flights to and from Bangkok via the Suvarnabhumi International Airport on Friday.

All its 108 flights scheduled for Friday will take off and land at the US$3.5 billion airport which was reopened for limited flights Wednesday after thousands of anti-government protesters left the building this morning following an eight-day siege.

The airport was closed at 9pm on Nov 24, paralysing Bangkok’s air travel and stranding over 300,000 foreigners.

AirAsia and its Thai subsidiary had to cancel an average of 100 flights daily, but mounted several rescue flights to and from the Utapao Airport located at a naval base near Pattaya.

“We would like to caution guests (passengers) that as the AirAsia call centre has been overwhelmed with calls, guests may face difficulties getting assistance. However, guests may obtain latest updates on AirAsia flights on,” it said in a statement.
The airline said that beginning Tuesday, more rescue flights were mounted to ferry stranded passengers to Chiang Mai, Phuket, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Macau, Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

AirAsia also advised its passengers affected by the cancellations that they would automatically receive a credit shell that could be used to book new AirAsia flights.

The credit shell is to be redeemed within three months for their future travel to any AirAsia (except AirAsia X) destination. Passengers with membership login account numbers are able to utilise credit shell for Internet bookings.

Passengers who have purchased the AirAsia GoInsure Travel Protection are advised to call the 24-hour AIG Travel Assist at +603-27725622 if they need help in obtaining accommodation or other forms of travel assistance, or want to file a claim.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

AirAsia sends emergency jets to Bangkok

MALAYSIAN BUDGET carrier AirAsia Berhad is sending emergency jets to Bangkok until Dec. 4 to pick up passengers stranded by the closure of two airports seized by Thai protesters, the airline said in a statement yesterday.

AirAsia was scheduled to operate two return flights each from Bangkok to Hongkong and Singapore today. The aircrafts will land at the Thai naval base U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield.

The low-cost airline is also operating one return flight each from Bangkok to Macau, Shenzhen, and Chiang Mai, and Phuket in Thailand. From the last two sites, AirAsia is operating return flights to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

Passengers leaving Bangkok will be shuttled for free from the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Center in Bangna to U-Tapao. Passengers arriving in Bangkok via U-Tapao, meanwhile, will be transported to the Suan Lum Night Bazaar in the city center.

Tomorrow, AirAsia will fly the same routes, but will double its return flights from Bangkok to Macau and will not send rescue flights to Shenzhen anymore.

Stranded AirAsia ticket holders were advised to visit the company Web site for departure times. Other guests who wish to board the rescue flights must transact with the airline’s sales counters.

AirAsia has been operating these flights daily since Nov. 28, initially flying only between Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.

Local carriers Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific have also sent emergency jets to Thailand early this week. Flights of both airlines to Bangkok have been canceled since Nov. 26, when anti-government protesters took over Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand’s main gateway, and later, the secondary gateway of Don Mueang International Airport, in an attempt to oust the prime minister.

AirAsia to continue aggressive marketing

LOW-COST carrier AirAsia Bhd (5099) will continue to increase capacity and market its routes aggressively to ensure its revenue remains robust, said its top official.

Group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said with its additional flights to Singapore now, he was certain that Kuala Lumpur (KL) can grow to be the largest hub in Southeast Asia.

"Just today we had two passengers from Singapore who stopped over here before flying off to Langkawi. So the fear that Singapore will be attracting more passengers is baseless," he said.

AirAsia now has seven daily flights between KL and Singapore.
While Fernandes did not discount that its fourth quarter will be impacted by the current turmoil in Thailand, he said AirAsia's load factor was better due to its recent no-fuel surcharge initiative.

"In a time like this, we have to constantly find ways to stimulate the market instead of not doing anything," he said.

Fernandes said AirAsia had not seen a dip in forward bookings for flights to Bangkok.

"It is still quite strong. You have to remember that Thailand has gone through many difficulties and overcame it all," he added.

AirAsia has not flown in or out of Bangkok in the past six days after Thai authorities closed Suvarnabhumi International Airport after anti-government protesters storm the terminal.

It has sent two rescue flights today for passengers still caught there.

Fernandes said all 15 AirAsia planes located at the Suvarnabhumi airport are now residing in three other Thai airports.

AirAsia will add more flights surrounding the Bangkok hub (such as Phuket to KL) starting tomorrow.

Fernandes was speaking to reporters in conjunction with its first flight to India yesterday at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal, KL.

AirAsia has recorded 100 per cent load from December 1-18 for its flights from KL to Trichy while achieving 80 per cent load factor this month.

Fernandes said that AirAsia may consider increasing flights to Trichy.

"Definitely there is a demand for a second flight and we are looking at it. It's a matter of whether we put another flight to Trichy or look at another Indian destination," said Fernandes.

He said it was still viable for AirAsia and AirAsia X to fly to 10 Indian destinations, such as Bombay, New Delhi, Madras, and Tiruvananthapuram, within the next 18 months.

"There is strong demand because people arriving in KL can get (on connecting flights) to Bali, Phuket or Langkawi," he said, adding that its maiden flight to Trichy was already profitable.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

AirAsia launches Flights between Tiruchirappalli and Kuala Lumpur

On Monday, AirAsia launched flights between Tiruchirappalli (Trichy), India, and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. The low-cost airline will serve the route with direct daily flights to Trichy departing from LCC Terminal, Kuala Lumpur on AirAsia’s new 180-seater Airbus A320.

The airline claims to have already recorded a 100% percent load on flights between 1 and 18 December 2008 from Kuala Lumpur to Trichy with an average 80% load factor both ways.

Dato’ Sri Tony Fernandes, Group CEO of AirAsia Berhad said, “We truly hope that with this new service, the people from Trichy and its neighboring regions will have access to more low-cost alternatives to international routes and additional destinations from Kuala Lumpur where AirAsia champion. Furthermore, there is a huge population of Indians in Malaysia who descended from South India and with our extremely affordable fares will enable them to trace back their family roots, renew family ties, and perform pilgrimage or travel for holiday purposes”

Tiruchirapalli, situated on the banks of the river Cauvery is the fourth largest city in Tamil Nadu. The most famous land mark of this bustling town is the Rockfort Temple, a spectacular monument perched on a massive rocky out crop which rises abruptly from the plain to tower over the old city. The city is a thriving commercial centre in Tamil Nadu and is famous for artificial diamonds, cigars, handloom cloth, glass bangles and wooden and clay toys.

Sime, AirAsia Shares Drag KLCI Down

SHARES of Sime Darby Bhd and AirAsia Bhd took a beating and dragged down the overall market yesterday, as concerns over their outlook weighed on market sentiment.

The benchmark Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) fell by over two per cent, or 17.71 points, yesterday. Shares of the conglomerate and the discount carrier, among the top 10 active counters, lost more than 10 per cent yesterday.

Sime Darby, which sells palm oil, properties and cars, fell as much as 14.5 per cent or 85 sen to RM5. It closed at RM5.10 yesterday.

The conglomerate, in its first-quarter results briefing on Friday, halved its full-year earnings forecast to RM1.9 billion, from RM3.7 billion initially, due to lower palm oil prices and concerns of an economic slowdown.

This led to several analysts lowering Sime Darby's target price, while some downgraded their recommendations.

"Given the drop in palm oil prices, protracted downturn in property as well as motor distribution segments in subsequent quarters, it is unlikely that Sime's full-year net profit would now match either our and consensus forecasts," said HwangDBS Vickers in a report.

The research house forecast Sime Darby's full-year net profit to hit RM1.98 billion.

AirAsia was not spared either, after the company posted its first quarterly net loss since 2004, due mainly to some one-off provisions.

Its shares fell by 12.2 per cent, or 13.5 sen, to 97.5 sen yesterday, its steepest one-day fall since 2004.

"It's a `sell'. Even as we see AirAsia returning to profitability, we are concerned about its longer-term prospects as its associates continue to bleed and AirAsia reaches saturation point in Malaysia.

"Although there may still be a possibility of privatisation (management said they still have two weeks to sort it out), the offer price can still be revised down. As such, we feel the poor prospects outweigh the privatisation possibility," said OSK Research in a report.

Daily KL-S’pore flights soar

PETALING JAYA: From yesterday, air travellers on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route can choose 14 daily flights from low-cost carriers and more than 15 from full-service carriers.

This is a huge jump in choices from a year ago, which saw only Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines plying the route.

In February, low-cost carriers had begun launching limited flights.

But from Dec 1, all airlines in Malaysia and Singapore can launch flights between the two capital cities.

The change has come a month ahead of the liberalisation of the Asean Open Skies for capital cities.

Both AirAsia and Tiger Airways, which are flying seven and three to four flights respectively on the route, are eager to increase the frequencies.

AirAsia Bhd group chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes told StarBiz yesterday that he wanted to add an additional flight by next month when the airline took delivery of more aircraft.

“My target is to have 12 daily flights for stage one. Eventually we would like to have 24 flights daily or every half-hourly flight,’’ he said.

The response had been “fantastic’’ for the KL-Singapore route even though it was just day one of the sector’s full liberalisation, he said.

The budget airline sees its load factor averaging 75% on the route.

Tiger Airways chief executive Tony Davis told StarBiz from Singapore that the carrier had seen huge demand for its flights and would increase its frequency to five daily flights from three or four now on weekdays.

“Our loads are very good and we see strong consumer demand. We just saw our 3.30pm flight took off from Singapore to KL and there were only two empty seats out of the 180 seats in the aircraft,’’ Davis said.

National carrier MAS commercial director Datuk Abdul Rashid Khan, believes the Singapore-KL route has always been a springboard for connecting flights from KL International Airport (KLIA) to its global destinations such as outbound traffic from Singapore and likewise, for the return via KLIA.

“We will continue to leverage on (our) partnerships to remain competitive as well as profitable on this route,’’ he said in an e-mail response.

An SIA spokesman, in an e-mail reply said the opening of the sector was good for consumers and the airlines. Competition would force airlines to be more cost effective and innovative in the product and service offerings, he added.

“We offer competitive fares. The Singapore-KL route will now function like most other markets in the region. There will be price competition and fares will vary in line with demand,’’ the spokesman said.

MAS and AirAsia mount seven daily flights each on the route, SIA and SilkAir, four flights each, Tiger, three or four flights and JetStar, three.

Malaysia’s Firefly is still hoping to ply the route from Subang and is still awaiting the Government’s response, according to managing director Eddy Leong.

Monday, December 1, 2008

AirAsia Aims To Secure 10 New Routes In India

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 -- Low-cost carrier, AirAsia Bhd, is confident of securing 10 new routes to India within the next eighteen months, Group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said Monday.

He said the carrier had launched its inaugural Kuala Lumpur-Tiruchirappalli flight in south India recently.

"AirAsia received overwhelming response for the route. Barely a month after operating the route, we recorded 100 per cent load factor from Dec 1 to 18," he told reporters.

AirAsia currently serves the route using the 180-seater Airbus 320.

AirAsia Falls After Quarterly Loss, Analyst Downgrade

Dec. 1 -- AirAsia Bhd. fell the most in almost five weeks in Kuala Lumpur trading after Southeast Asia’s biggest discount carrier reported a loss.

The carrier slid as much as 11 sen, or 9.9 percent, to 1.00 ringgit, the worst performer on the benchmark Composite Index. The loss was the first since the company went public in 2004.

AirAsia lost money on trades held by the bankrupt Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and wrongway bets on oil prices. Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes also faces slowing travel demand at the airline’s Thailand hub, which has been paralyzed by a week-long anti-government protest.

“It’s a sell,” Christopher Eng, an analyst at OSK Research Sdn., said in a report today. “We are concerned about its longer-term prospects as its associates continue to bleed and AirAsia reaches saturation point.” He downgraded the stock to “sell” from “neutral” and lowered his price target to 67 sen from 1.10 ringgit.

Even after stripping out the one-time charges, AirAsia still recorded operating losses “significantly below” OSK’s estimates and consensus expectation, Eng said.

AirAsia posted a loss of 465.5 million ringgit ($129 million) in the third quarter as it had a charge of 215 million ringgit to cover costs from unwinding hedging contracts and the likely non-recovery of collateral for trades held by Lehman.

Thai Losses

Thai AirAsia Co., the airline’s Thai unit, had a loss of 250 million baht ($7 million) as travelers shunned the country. AirAsia last week canceled all flights to the Thai capital after anti-government protesters stormed the main terminal of the city’s airport, closing it down.

Thai Airways International Pcl and Thai AirAsia were the biggest operators at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi last year, accounting for 28 percent and 12 percent of commercial aircraft movements respectively, Airports of Thailand said on its Web site.

Global air travel declined for a second consecutive month in October, with the International Air Transport Association predicting worse to come because of recessions in many parts of the world. The trade group represents more than 200 airlines.

BRIEF-HSBC cuts Air Asia target price to RM 0.60

Nov 30 (Reuters) - Air Asia :

* HSBC (nyse: HBC - news - people ) cuts air Asia target price to rm 0.60 from rm 0.90

* Management said at the briefing it will recover the cost of unwinding its fuel derivatives in 2-3 months via a simple derivative structure pending on oil prices falling further. Management would not provide more details on this plan nor elaborate on its previous announcement regarding potential privatisation at MYR1.30-1.35 per share.
* We maintain our long-held view that Air Asia create rather than eliminate risk via its derivatives positions, especially where they are off balance sheet and poorly disclosed.

* Cutting earnings forecast: Stripping out forex and derivative losses, 3Q08 recurring pretax losses of MYR77m exceeded our forecasts by MYR67m mainly due to higher operating costs. We increase our FY08-10 operating costs assumptions and adjust FY08 earnings for 3Q08 forex and derivative losses and lower tax credit.

* Maintain UW with lower TP: We continue to value the company using asset replacement value, add non-aircraft assets less liabilities and obtain a revised target price of MYR0.60 based on our revised earnings. Risks include Air Asia providing limited disclosure about its derivative positions, making it difficult to assess its gains or losses.

Air Asia Fees To Air Asia- X Rises

AIRASIA Reported Nov 1, 2008 that its Services Agreement to AIRASIA-X had been extended for a further period of 12 months effective Nov 1, 2008 with new inclusions for a sum of RM43m inclusive of a 10% mark-up.


TYPE: Short Analysis / Reviews
01 December 2008

AIRASIA's FUEL SPECULATION BINGE ENDS WITH 3QFY08 LOSS OF RM465M By J Vong AIRASIA's investor relations department has been less loud with its releases in the past 2 quarters typifying almost third-rate-run listed companies in respect of informing their investors promptly and clearly.

This was, of course, not lost on the small investor who had been piqued for the last 3 quarters following some research house's alert that AIRASIA had taken bold forward selling positions in oil options at USD92.50 per barrel. Oil prices, of course, obligingly rose to USD147 per barrel to upset AIRASIA's 'hedging' plans.

When AIRASIA realised that it may have gotten in at the wrong end of oil price movements, the Company announced that the oil options 'selling' was for 'hedging' purposes and that losses could be minimised through a reversal of positions.

The Airline claims of its fuel hedging (which is for consumption) and losing money in a price uptrend is definitely unusual. That points to speculation rather than hedging.

TONY FERNANDEZ, the CEO, must come on record of having the distinction of trying to redefine the meaning of 'hedging'. Hedging as we were taught in university meant the buying or selling forward of positions where there was certainty of consumption or output.

AIRASIA is well known for its forward sales of airline seats for cash. So 'hedging' would have meant the forward buying of it required oil positions which any small investor would have thought to be 'smart' and 'safe'. Obviously, AIRASIA 'sold' forward oil positions and turned itself into an commodities speculator instead of being just an airline operator.

So 3QE Sep 2008 Loss of RM465m must be something of a record of sorts (wiping off the entire YTD earnings plus more) for which the CEO must bear full responsibility.

For 3QE Sep 2008, AIRASIA recorded sharply higher Revenues of RM658m against RM461m in 3QFY07. Gross Profit from Operations was RM103m or 15.6% on Revenue against RM166m or 36% in 3QFY07.

Profit from Operations dropped to RM91m or 13.8% from RM145m or 31% in 3QFY07. 3Q-FY08 reflected the huge impact of rising oil prices on AIRASIA's operations. But despite that, the Airline turned in an Operating Profit due in no small part to its extremely strong Revenue growth of 42.7% over 3QFY07.

For the 9ME Sep 2008, the Cumulative Loss was RM294.8m or 12.4 sen per share wiping off 2008 cumulative earnings plus more. 9M-FY08 Revenue rose to RM1.80 bil. compared with 9M-FY07 Revenue of RM1.30 bil - a sharp 38.4% growth. Revenue growth was due largely to the new aircraft deliveries and an expanded route network.

Actual interest charges for its secured Borrowings of RM6.35 bil. for 3QE Sep 2008 recorded a Net Interest Expense of RM80m after taking into account Interest Income. The effective interest rate on borrowings amounted to 5.2%. This reflected that AIRASIA was still profitable operationally despite the turbulent period of oil price surge.

3QFY08 speculative losses were, however, very large. AIRASIA recorded a Loss of " .... RM215m ... for the .... unwinding of our fuel derivative contracts and also the likely non-recovery of margin held by LEHMAN BROTHERS COMMODITY SERVICES inc ...(which filed for bankruptcy on Sep 15, 2008) ....". The Company also said that fuel prices are now trading at levels last seen in 2005.
AIRASIA in its 3QFY08 report now says that the Group as at Sep 30, 2008 had partial cover over 35% of its fuel consumption for Yeas 2008 and 2009. The statement which was released on Nov 28, 2008 also said that ".... the Group had subsequently liquidated its positions to take opportunity of the lower spot prices....". There goes another ambiguity in its disclosure.

However, AIRASIA cautions that with the current weakening of the Ringgit against the USD it will have a negative financial impact.

3QFY08 Forex Translation Losses were RM212m. The Company said that the Loss could potentially turn into " .... a gain of RM365.6m ..." based on the USD Exchange rate which can only " .... be reflected in the financial statements upon realization over the duration of these contracts ....".

AIRASIA said that the Group " .... had hedged 75% of its dollar liabilities pertaining to its aircraft, engine and simulator loans into Ringgit by using long dated foreign exchange ....". The Group had also entered into " .... interest rate swaps (some of which are capped) to hedge against fluctuations in the US-LIBOR on its existing and future aircraft financing for deliveries between 2005 and 2009. The effect of this transaction enables the Group to pay fixed interest rate of 3.25% on Ringgit and between 4.55% and 5.2% on USD over a period of 12 to 14 years ....".

AIRASIA said that as at Sep 30, 2008, the Company had contractual Capex commitments for RM16.81 bil. and Authorised but uncontract Capex of RM7.29 bil. giving the Group a total of RM24.1 bil. in Capex spending.

AIRASIA's associates THAI AIRASIA and INDONESIA AIRASIA continue to be loss-making. FRS 128 defines interest (equity) in an associate as " ... the carrying amount of the investment ... under the equity method together with any long-term interests that, in substance, form part of the investor's net investment in the associate ...".

On the above basis, the unrecognised share of Operating Loss as at Sep 30, 2008 amounted to RM75.8m in THAI AIRASIA and RM89.5m in INDONESIA AIRASIA. The associates continue to be loss-making.

AIRASIA enjoys tax deferment for reason of its capex spending. There have been detractors from the way the Company treats its deferred tax. As at Sep 30, 2008, Deferred Tax recorded RM146.2m.

Cash Balance as at end Sep 2008 was RM774m compared with RM547m as at end Sep 2007.

AIRASIA reported that for 3QE Sep 30, 2008, the Airline experienced 'seat load factor' of 75% compared with 76% for the immediate preceding quarter. The was explained as being in line with seasonal fluctuations.

Passenger volume grew 24% in 3QFY08 to 3.01m passengers compared with 3QFY07. In 2QFY08, the Airline carried 2.82m passengers. Average fare was higher by 12% at RM195 compared with RM174 in 3QFY07. The higher average fare was due to ancillary income and from the increase in fees. The lower overall load factor to 75% was due to significant seat capacity addition during the period and the full impact of the Moslem fasting month.

For 3QFY08, Revenue per Available Seat Kilometre (ASK) was 13.63 sen. Cost per ASK was 13.54 sen and Non-Fuel Cost per ASK was 4.43 sen. The average number of operating aircraft during 3QFY08 was 38.19 compared with 36.6 in 2QFY08.

THAI AIRASIA operations continue to be challenging due to the political street demonstrations. THAI AIRASIA achieved a load factor of 79% and a on-time performance of 93%. THAI AIRASIA now operates 7 new Airbus 320 aircraft.

INDONESIA AIRASIA achieved load factor of 78% down from 2007 load factor of 79%. The Indonesian outfit which operates Boeing 737s has received its first Airbus 320 on Sep 19, 2008.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

AirAsia To Mount Second 'Rescue Flight' Saturday

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 -- AirAsia will mount another "rescue flight" from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok (U-Tapao) via Singapore Saturday.

In a statement here Friday, it said the flight will depart KL International Airport's LCC Terminal at 4.25pm and arrive at Singapore's Changi International Airport at 5.20pm.

It will leave Singapore at 5.50pm and arrive at U-Tapao Airbase in Bangkok at 6.50pm.

AirAsia said the flight departing Bangkok for Kuala Lumpur at 7.20pm would give priority to AirAsia passengers who have been stranded in Bangkok for the past few days. It will arrive at Kuala Lumpur at 10.05pm.

AirAsia said it would notify the affected passengers by phone and those who wish to board the flight urgently should contact the company's 24-hour emergency hotline at +6625159999 in Bangkok or +603-86604554 in Malaysia.

It said AirAsia passengers landing at U-Tapao Airbase will be transported by bus to central Bangkok free of charge.

Those flying back to Kuala Lumpur will be provided complimentary bus pick-up to U-Tapao. The pick-up time is 2pm from Novotel Bangna Bangkok, 333 Srinakarin Road, Bangkok.

AirAsia mounted its first rescue flight to Bangkok today carrying 20 passengers and would return to Kuala Lumpur with 63 passengers.