Saturday, December 20, 2008

'KLIA East @ Labu’ gets government go-ahead: Airport part of 'massive city'


KUALA LUMPUR: The cabinet has given the green light for a new low-cost carrier terminal on a 2,800-hectare site in Labu, Negri Sembilan, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat said.

Ong said the new LCCT would be built under a private finance initiative by conglomerate Sime Darby Bhd and budget airline AirAsia.

The airport will anchor Sime Darby's "massive integrated city" development in Labu, which includes five townships with services in education, health, sports, high technology, recreation and entertainment.

The RM1.6 billion terminal will be funded by Sime Darby and joint-venture partners which could include AirAsia and Malaysia Airports Bhd.

Ong said the new terminal was needed as the current facility in Sepang would not be able to cope with the increased passenger volume.
Under its final expansion phase, after which there will be no more room for growth, the Sepang LCCT will have its capacity increased to 15 million passengers a year, a figure industry sources say is likely to be exceeded by 2011.

Including its Thai and Indonesian affiliates, AirAsia flew some 18 million people this year. The new terminal will be built to accommodate 25 million passengers a year, and last on present forecasts until 2030.

Ong said he could not give a timeline on when work would start on the new LCCT.

"It is up to them as to when they want to start work. For our part we will make sure there is connectivity between the Kuala Lumpur International Airport and the new LCCT.

"We want to ensure passengers will be able to move from both places speedily, smoothly and efficiently."

To be called "KLIA East@ Labu", the new terminal is slightly closer to central Kuala Lumpur than the present LCCT and will boast connectivity by both road and rail.

A 7km branch road will link it with the North-South Expressway and a 3km spur line will be built from the railway station in Labu -- a stop on the KL-Seremban KTM Komuter route.

Welcoming the project's approval, Negri Sembilan Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hassan said the KLIA would be connected to the new terminal by a 7km Express Rail Link (ERL).

Industry sources said a ground-breaking ceremony was being slated for late next month with construction planned for completion in two years.

When the new facility is commissioned, the Sepang LCCT, which has more than recovered its cost from the explosive increase in passenger numbers over the last two years, will serve other budget carriers, such as Singapore's Tiger Airways.

Mohamad said the siting of the new terminal near Kampung Gadong Jaya in Labu would boost economic growth in the state.

"The location is not far from the existing terminal. It will be an extension of the KLIA.

"When the airport is built, the state can expect economic development, such as housing estates and business centres, in the surrounding areas," he said.

Proposed LCCT to be privately funded

SEREMBAN: Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan has told critics to stop making claims that the proposed construction of a new low-cost carrier terminal near Nilai was a waste of government funds.

Mohamad said they should get their information right before making unfounded claims as the proposed project was a privately-financed initiative and the Government did not need to spend a single sen for its construction.

“Some people are saying that this is my project and I intend to give it to my cronies. This is so pathetic,” he told reporters at his office yesterday.

He said even if the state government planned to carry out a project, it would go through the normal tender process.

Mohamad was commenting on claims that the proposed construction of the project was a “brazen” waste of public funds particularly when the economic scenario in the coming months was not expected to be good.

Mohamad had last month said the new airport, to be located between Nilai and Bandar Enstek, would be built to replace the present LCCT in Sepang.

He said the proposed airport, to be build on a 2,800ha area, would be bigger than the present LCCT which could no longer accommodate the increasing passenger volume.

The proposed project would be developed by Sime Darby, which owns the land, and AirAsia.

“We need a new airport as AirAsia now has bigger wide-bodied planes. Its aircraft fleet has also expanded tremendously,” he said yesterday.

He said the proposed airport would also be equipped with aero-bridges and state-of-the-art facilities for passenger comfort.

Mohamad said although Sime Darby, AirAsia and the state government had agreed to the project, the Cabinet would have the final say on the matter.

He expressed hope that the Transport Ministry, Malaysia Airports and the Department of Civil Aviation would support the proposed project.

Two universities and several private institutions of higher learning would also be built in the vicinity of the proposed project, which is located in the state’s central corridor.

Merry AirAsia X-mas with cheap flights to Kuala Lumpur

Australia Friday, 19 December 2008

The champion of low-cost long-haul travel AirAsia X wants people to enjoy at least one good holiday in 2009 offering one-way flights to the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur from Perth from a low $199*.

Flights are also available from the Gold Coast to Kuala Lumpur from $298* one-way and Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur one-way from just $309*.

The discount Kuala Lumpur airfares are available online to December 19 or until seats sell out for the travel period between April 1 and June 30, 2009.
Airfares include airport taxes, surcharges and fees.

With bleak economic times predicted for 2009, now is the time to make sure you don’t miss out on a well-earned break.

As part of AirAsia X’s latest Christmas deal the airline is encouraging travellers to use the shopping and sightseeing hotspot of Kuala Lumpur as a base by using connecting AirAsia flights to other Asian destinations.

*Conditions apply, subject to availability

Friday, December 19, 2008

AirAsia hopes to get visitors back to Thailand

Wed, Dec 17, 2008

BANGKOK, THAILAND: AirAsia is offering 100,000 free seats to draw tourists back to Thailand after political turbulence saw the closure of Bangkok's two airports.

The regional campaign cheekily themed "Get your Baht to Thailand" is the budget airline's effort to help the Thai tourism industry which was severely affected over the last few months.

"We are here to make sure that the world does not forget that Thailand is a wonderful place for tourists," said AirAsia group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes.

"We want to ensure that AirAsia brings people from Asean countries, India and China and the world - especially through AirAsia X - to visit Thailand."

"AirAsia was there during the Bali (bombing), SARS, tsunami and Aceh (when no airlines wanted to fly there) and with this promotion, we are showing our commitment to Thailand."

AirAsia's campaign, launched exclusively at, starts today at midnight and ends on Friday for travel between Jan 6 and March 31.

Low cost terminal 'crucial'

Airports of Thailand (AOT) is being urged to discount its airport fees and build a terminal for low cost carriers at Suvarnabhumi Airport in a bid to get airlines to return to the Kingdom, as well as to help restore the tourism sector.

Tassapon Bijleveld, CEO of Thai AirAsia, said the airline is planning to write to AOT early next month, calling on the agency to give a 50percent discount on airport services at a time when the country needs to reclaim airlines back to the country, following the recent closures of Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports.

Tassapon said the company was paying Bt30 millionBt40 million per month in fees to AOT."If AOT AOT will in turn gain more benefits," Tassapon said. could give more incentives to us, then we can sell lowerprice tickets and, when more tourists come to Thailand,

Tony Fernandes, group CEO of parent company AirAsia, said in Bangkok yesterday that Thailand needed to have a dedicated terminal for lowcost carriers. He said Singapore and Hong Kong had already built their own.

"If Thailand wants to stay competitive, it should have a lowcost terminal," he said.

According to Tassapon, Thai AirAsia estimates it will carry 4.1 million passengers this year, down from the targeted 4.7 million due to the eightday closure of Bangkok's commercial airports. The airport closures caused AirAsia to cancel 160 daily flights in and out of Bangkok.Meanwhile, in a bid rebuild inbound tourism, AirAsia and the Touris m Authority of Thailand yesterday announced a regional campaign called "Get Your Baht to Thailand " by offering 100,000 free AirAsia seats into and out of the Kingdom, as well as on all domestic routes.

Passengers can book the tickets from today until Friday, for travel between January 6 and March 31.

The cost of the promotion is Bt300 million, of which Bt200 million is for the fares and the rest for advertising and activities.

Thai political problems just a hiccup -AirAsia CEO

BANGKOK, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia (AIRA.KL) said on Tuesday it expected passenger growth in 2009 of 4-5 million to add to its 19.5 million travellers this year, despite a global recession and political problems in Thailand.

Chief Executive Tony Fernandes, whose company suffered a setback when anti-government protesters recently blocked flights for a week at Bangkok's main airports, said Thailand's strife was "just a hiccup" and the fight was now on to win back the confidence of tourists.

"I'm confident we are adding new routes and planes, and really, every country has their own political troubles," Fernandes said. "We're actually hoping to add another 4-5 million travellers in 2009 on top of what we have now."

The company is offering 100,000 free seats from its hubs in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand for passengers travelling to popular Thai destinations Chiang Mai, Krabi and Phuket starting from January 2009, Fernandes said.

"Thailand is one charming tourist destination," Fernandes said at a briefing in Bangkok.

He declined comment on the company's plans after its major shareholder, Tune Air, failed to proceed with a potential buyout of the airline. Tune Air holds 30.7 percent of the $573 million firm.

Despite a third-quarter loss at Southeast Asia's largest low-cost airline, passengers continued to favour budget carriers, Fernandes said.

The airline, which operates 378 flights a week, posted a loss of 465.5 million ringgit ($131 million) after it took a one-off charge for contracts tied to fuel hedging and trades held by the bankrupt Lehman Brothers.

It was its first net loss since it went public in 2004.


Thai AirAsia Co, the airline's Thai unit, suffered losses of 350 million baht ($10 million) when travellers shunned the country after anti-government protesters halted flights to and from Bangkok's main airports for more than a week.

Thai AirAsia would miss its passenger target of 4.6 million this year and now expected 4.1 million, but the number would climb to 5.2 million in 2009 due to new aircraft and routes opening, Thai unit chief Tassapon Bijleveld said.

"What happened was a nightmare," said Tassapon, adding its load factor had dropped to somewhere above 80 percent from 92-93 percent in 2007.

"But like we people say, it's 'mai pen rai'. It's no problem. We can start over," he said.

Among new international destinations the group expected to fly to in 2009 were Bali, India and Guangzhou, he said.

AirAsia wins ICT Award

15 December 2008

AirAsia’s extensive use of modern information and communications technology (ICT) to support its operations across all ten ASEAN countries and China has earned the airline recognition from The Association of Computer and Multimedia Industry, Malaysia (PIKOM), one of the country’s largest and foremost ICT industry associations.

The association conferred on AirAsia the PIKOM ICT Organization Excellence Award. AirAsia Group CEO Dato’ Sri Tony Fernandes received the award from Datuk Dr. Maximus Johnity Ongkili, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, during the association’s recent annual leadership awards ceremony in Kuala Lumpur.

Tony said, “Our investment in technology to grow the business across all fronts is bearing fruit. ICT has enabled us to offer cutting edge products and to continue to offer quality service to our constantly expanding passenger base. AirAsia’s use of ICT is second to none in the airline industry. All areas of our business are supported by ICT, which allows us to be fast and efficient in servicing our guests, who use our technological tools to, among others, check flight schedules, book seats, pre-order meals and buy holiday packages. ICT has been instrumental in the success of AirAsia”

Over 80% of AirAsia’s flight bookings are done via the internet.

PIKOM’s annual awards recognize outstanding ICT industry leaders and users. PIKOM counts among its members over 1,000 companies engaged in the whole range of ICT products and services. PIKOM’s member companies account for 80% of Malaysia’s ICT trade.