Saturday, February 28, 2009

AirAsia Plans KL-Kathmandu Route By July

16 Feb 2009

NEW DELHI, -- Kathmandu-based Incentive group of companies is close to finalising talks with AirAsia to begin direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to the Himalayan capital.

Incentive group chairman Hariman Lama said regardless of the ongoing global economic slowdown, both parties were sorting out final details to operate the first chartered flight between the two destinations by this July.

"Final discussions are underway, we need to finalise some fee issues, like the ground-handling charges and the airport tax. We are discussing with the Nepalese government and Nepal Tourism Ministry," Lama told Bernama.

"By July we will have our first charter flight and later operate full commercial flight," he said from Kathmandu.

Lama said initially there would be two flights per week, largely targeting the tourist segment and the increasing Nepalese students heading to Australia via Malaysia for high education.

"We will be targeting Korean and Japanese tourists visiting Kota Kinabalu, and AirAsia has flights to Sabah. So we can use Kuala Lumpur as a gateway. Recently Kuala Lumpur has become a major destination for Nepalese and they will add to our traffic volume," he said.

About 400,000 Nepalese are currently working in Malaysia.

At present, only Nepal Airlines operates direct flights to Malaysia from Kathmandu.

Last month, AirAsiaX, a subsidiary of AirAsia, started its inaugural flight to India by connecting to Tiruchi, the fourth largest city in south India.

AirAsia to operate more flights to India

15 Feb 2009

KUALA LUMPUR: Buoyed by its successful foray into the Indian market with a direct service between Tiruchi and Kuala Lumpur, the low-cost carrier AirAsia is planning to operate service to more destinations in the country.

The airline’s service on Tiruchi-Kuala Lumpur sector has proved to be a commercial hit with the flights averaging more than 80 per cent load factor on both ways, right from the launch on December 1.

AirAsia serves the route with a 180-seater Airbus A-320 departing from the low cost carrier terminal in Kuala Lumpur.

“We are overwhelmed by the response to the service. We are considering a second frequency on the route,” Kathleen Tan, Head, Commercial, AirAsia, told visiting journalists from India and other countries recently.

Potential destinations

New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad are some of the potential destinations that the airline is looking at to introduce services, apart from a few tier-II cities. AirAsia X, a subsidiary of the AirAsia, would operate on some of these long haul sectors with flight duration of more than four hours.

The no-frills airline’s low prices have indeed become a major attraction for families to think of foreign travel. “Our success has been in making air travel affordable. Families who have never flown before are now our customers,” observed Ms.Tan.

While other low-cost airlines have struggled and held back in the wake of the global meltdown, the AirAsia has remained aggressive.

The airline operates on 110 routes already and is adding more destinations even while rapidly expanding its fleet strength.

It has developed a successful and profit-making business model through a combination of strategies to keep operational costs minimal.

Flights are served by an in-flight cabin crew of just four. They perform multi-task. They even clean up the on-flight litter to enable a quick turn around time – 25 minutes, considered one of the quickest in the industry.

Fuel efficiency is another strategic focus area. “We have taken care to see even the seat covers are light weight so as to achieve maximum fuel efficiency,” said Ms.Tan.

The airline has also invested heavily on safety and set up a training academy with an investment of $ 20 million. The AirAsia Academy, set up in association with CAE Inc. of Canada, boasts six flight simulators which replicate the normal and abnormal situations that a pilot may encounter during an actual flight.

Located adjacent to the Malaysian Airports Sepang Holding‘s engineering complex, the academy is complete with training rooms and other infrastructure to train engineers, pilots and cabin crew.

AirAsia free seats drive draws RM40mil sales

14 Feb 2009

AIRASIA Bhd’s latest free seats promotional compaign has surpassed RM40mil worth of sales so far.

Group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said despite the current global economic crisis there was still strong pent-up demand for budget travel going by its latest campaign.

“Last Tuesday’s record sales of 279,000 seats in a single day out of 500,000 seats promoted by AirAsia is testimony that demand for air travel remains exceptionally good if we have the right business model,” he told StarBiz in a phone interview yesterday.

The impressive sales record represented 56% of the total number of seats promoted and about 40% of the record sales were derived from AirAsia’s 500,000 free-seat promotion.

“What is more amazing is that the sales were recorded when other airlines are reporting a drop in sales and falling revenues at a time of global economic uncertainty,” Fernandes said.

There were predictions that demand for air travel would be weak this year, he said, but the company remained bullish that it would continue on its growth path via innovation, technological advances and the support of a great team of people driving the company forward.

“This ticket sales achievement comes ahead of AirAsia X’s March 11 inaugural flight to London from Kuala Lumpur – creating mounting momentum and auguring well for the airline’s future passenger load,” he noted.

Fernandes said AirAsia, which currently flies 108 routes, would continue to strive to provide more convenience for its customers, possibly at a small fee without departing from its business model, which had proven to be very successful.

“Amidst all this economic doom and gloom that we hear everyday, AirAsia is proud to be able to provide free and affordable seats to air travellers. It is interesting to know that about 60% of the seats taken up so far under this promotional compaign were by foreigners as far as Congo in Africa,” he said.

Fernandes said the fact that more ticket sales came from foreigners showed how far AirAsia’s brandname had spread and was now globally recognised, along with some of the more well-known airlines in the world.

AirAsia’s free seats are still available for travel between Oct 12, 2009 and Jan 31, 2010, and bookings can be made online at

Some of the destinations offered by AirAsia under this promotion include Gold Coast, Bali, Melbourne, Shenzhen, Siem Reap, Jakarta, Hong Kong, Singapore, Langkawi, Phuket and Perth.

AirAsia To Launch Route To Northern China

13 Feb 2009

KUALA LUMPUR, -- AirAsia will launch a new route from Kuala Lumpur to Tianjin beginning April 2.

Tianjin is located in northern China and 120km from Beijing.It is connected to the Chinese capital via a 30-minute high-speed Beijing-Tianjin Intercity Rail service.

In a statement today, AirAsia said that the new service would be operated by AirAsia X, the low cost long-haul airline, affiliated to it.

"This route is part of AirAsia's strategic expansion plan in China and East Asia, in response to strong demands from Malaysia and the greater Asean population, as well as China," said AirAsia X chief executive officer, Azran Osman-Rani.

He said that apart from benefiting tourism, the new route would further enhance business and economic ties between the region and China.

AirAsia's China network currently includes Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Guilin, Haikou, Macau and Hong Kong.

Bookings for the new route open from now until Feb 22 for travel between April 2,2009 and Jan 31, 2010.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

AirAsia approached to sponsor MU jersey


Low-cost-carrier AirAsia Bhd has been approached by Manchester United (MU)to sponsor the jersey of the soccer giants.

This was revealed by AirAsia chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes in his blog on Wednesday.

"Manchester United have just approached me on whether AirAsia would be interested in becoming their shirt sponsor," said Tony in his blog.

He said having the players of the most famous soccer club in the world donning jerseys with the name and logo of a Malaysian-born global brand was something all Malaysians could be proud of.

He, however, did not state whether AirAsia would make the commitment and asked visitors to the blog to give their feedback.
As of today, 88 per cent of the visitors voiced their support.

MU had to find new sponsors for the jersey after insurance giant AIG(American International Group), who are faced with financial difficulties as a result of the world economic crisis, did not seek to renew the deal.

The four-year sponsorship contract with AIG due to expire in 2010 is reported to be worth US$100 million (RM360 million).

Earlier this year, MU was also reported to have invited India's Sahara Group to enter the sponsorship deal.

MU, who are now leading in the English Premier League, have also announced that Malaysia would be one of their destinations in the club's Asian tour this year.

Their match against a Malaysian selection is scheduled for July 26.