Friday, June 12, 2009

Southwest, AirTran and WestJet down, easyJet also lower, while AirAsia and Ryanair remain steady

Selected LCCs daily share price movements (% change): 10-Jun-09

Low cost carrier investors have reacted to spiraling fuel prices, which reached a new high for 2009 yesterday. All North American LCC shares were down yesterday, exceeding the general reduction in the main US indexes. The worse affected LCC was AirTran Airways, down 8.3%, with Southwest Airlines' stock falling 2.4%.

Elsewhere, easyJet's shares fell 0.7%, with Ryanair remaining stable and Air Berlin shares increasing 1.1%. Air Berlin, on 09-Jun-09, resolved to issue 4.5 million new ordinary shares to existing shareholders, including ESAS Holding, Board of Directors Chairman, Johannes Zurnieden, and a wholly-owned company of CEO, Joachim Hunold.

NB: All these carriers all feature prominently in The Centre’s forthcoming LCC Outlook 2009 report.

Among the Asia Pacific/Middle East LCCs, AirArabia shares were up, by 1.9%, while Virgin Blue shares remained steady, after falling 4.6% on Tuesday.

Our aircraft are safe, assure MAS and AirAsia

11 June 2009

PETALING JAYA, MALAYSIA - Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and AirAsia have assured passengers that all their aircraft are safe as they are well-maintained.

The airlines were responding to the move by Air France to replace the airspeed sensors or pitot tubes on its Airbus A330 planes after one crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on June 1, killing all 228 passengers.

It was speculated that the sensors may have frozen during a storm at high altitude and recorded inaccurate airspeed data.

MAS engineering and maintenance senior general manager Mohd Roslan Ismail said the pitot probes in all its A330-200 planes had been replaced with the latest model as recommended by Airbus since September last year.

'We have upgraded the Thales -AA to the Thales -BA pitot probe as recommended by Airbus,' he said in a statement yesterday.

AirAsia chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said its A330 planes met all the requirements of the various air safety authorities.

'The A330 is a very mature aircraft with hundreds flying daily throughout the world, providing a safe and efficient service,' he said.

AirAsia offshoot seeks expansion to Sydney

11 June 2009

AIRASIAX, the Kuala Lumpur-based low-cost carrier that recently offered return flights to London for as little as $700, wants to expand its footprint in Australia and is looking at Sydney as its next target.

The long-haul carrier flies to Australia, China and London and is an offshoot of Southeast Asia's biggest short-haul operator, AirAsia.

Fares from Australia's east coast to Kuala Lumpur start at $199 one-way. Sydney would be the carrier's fourth destination in Australia after Perth, the Gold Coast and Melbourne.

Its expansion plans come as low-cost carriers have steadily been increasing their share of the international market in and out of Australia while flagship carrier Qantas's slice of the action in March slipped to 23.1 per cent, down from 28.2 per cent in 2006. The latest government statistics show low-cost carriers in March accounted for 16 per cent of the overseas market, up from 11.1 per cent a year ago.

AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes said the airline was talking with both Sydney and Newcastle airports about servicing Sydney.

"In Australia we want to do daily to the Gold Coast, daily into Sydney and we still haven't done Darwin and Adelaide," Mr Fernandes said, adding that the airline would use a smaller A320 to service Darwin and offer flights for less than $100 one-way.

Mr Fernandes said AirAsiaX was getting a lot of through traffic to London on its services, especially from Melbourne and Perth.

He said the service was also attracting Australians returning from Europe and young travellers, most of whom were taking a break in Asia.

"If you look at the Australians coming in, 80 per cent appear to be using our network to go elsewhere," Mr Fernandes said. "So the symbiosis of AirAsia and AirAsiaX is working well."

Despite the economic downturn, Mr Fernandes said airlines were profitable in their most recent quarter and the second quarter also looked good.

He said both were benefiting from the crisis. As well as investment in expanding the AirAsia network, corporate business had shot up by about 500 per cent, although this was off a small base.

"I took my son to rugby practice the other day and there were four guys who came up to me and said they were all in the oil business," he said.

"They said we're using AirAsia all the time now and even using AirAsiaX down to Perth."

AirAsia To Launch Colombo-KL Route

10 June 2009

KUALA LUMPUR -- Low cost carrier, AirAsia will be launching its new route between Kuala Lumpur and Colombo, Sri Lanka this August.

The maiden flight will be on August 15, following which there will be daily direct flights between the two capital cities, it said in a statement here Wednesday.

The low cost carrier said promotional all-in fares are being offered from as low as LKR4,090 (RM99) one-way and exclusively available online via AirAsia's website at

Booking for promotional seats ends June 14, 2009 for travel between Aug 15, 2009 and April 30, 2010.

AirAsia Celebrates 1st ‘ASEAN’ Graduation

10 June 2009

Group photo:
Part of AirAsia’s 1st batch of ASEAN flight attendants

From L to R :
AirAsia trainee graduates :Ms. Charlene Eing Suet Mei (Best Student Batch 85 ), Mr Johnson Ariyanakul ( Best Overall Trainee ) and Ms. Krittaya Leangtrakul ( Best Groomed Female )

Group photo:

AirAsia trainee graduates celebrating their first step towards an illustrious career

AirAsia, the world’s best low cost airline held its first ever Asean Crew Complement Graduation ceremony at AirAsia Academy’s multi-purpose hall here today, which saw 68 trainees proudly graduating as the first group of ‘Asean’ flight attendants.

AirAsia Group CEO Dato’ Sri Tony Fernandes made a surprise congratulatory speech through a video recorded earlier from his hospital bed, where he has been resting since Monday night. He is discharged today.

Addressing the graduates, he said: “Remember this day as it is a special day for you. Be the best, live your dreams. You’re in a wonderful company that allows you to live your dreams. Like I always say, dare to dream, believe the unbelievable and never take no for an answer.

“To all parents and friends, it is a proud day for all of you. It is not easy to be a flight attendant, ramp agent or guest services person. It takes lots of hard work and dedication, to earn and keep up the reputation of working for the world’s best low-cost airline. Be the best, smile and enjoy yourselves at AirAsia. Congratulations and good luck,” he said.

This graduation ceremony marked a historical moment for the airline, where for the first time it presented the first batch of an all-Asean flight attendant graduates. This has been a long awaited dream for AirAsia, in line with its effort be recognized as an Asean airline.

Of the 68 graduating flight attendants, 27 were Malaysians, 22 Thais, 14 Myanmarese, 3 Indonesians and 2 Singaporeans.

Meanwhile, Dato’ Kamarudin Meranun, Deputy Group CEO said, “While other airlines are cutting capacity and retrenching staff, AirAsia continues to grow and keeps on hiring. It is indeed our dream to have an all-Asean crew flying on one same flight. As an Asean airline, an all-Asean crew is very important as it reflects our passion in projecting the beautiful image of Asean to the world.

“It will also provide a good opportunity for the flight attendants to know more about other cultures, which in turn make them more hospitable to our guests and be sensitive to the needs of different people with different cultural backgrounds. We believe that each and every one of our guests is unique, hence such quality in our FAs will ensure the delivery of superior services and greatest flying experience,” he concludes.

AirAsia Academy instills the best discipline and passion into its trainees. Even during initial selection process, AirAsia recruiters look for individuals who have a lot of passion in the job and of course those who are proud to be associated with the world’s best low cost airline.

The ceremony also celebrated the graduation of 29 Guest Services trainees (from Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand) and 22 Ramp Agent trainees (Malaysia).

Emphasis on human capital is central to AirAsia’s philosophy, and has been its winning formula. AirAsia was recently named the world’s best low cost airline through a poll of 16 million air passengers by Skytrax. AirAsia also received the A320 Family Operational Excellence Award from Airbus in recognition of its service record with the single aisle aircraft type.

The AirAsia Academy, located barely 2 kilometres from the Low Cost Carrier Terminal where AirAsia headquarters is located, was set up in 2005 with the objective of meeting the human capital requirements of the rapidly growing airline. AirAsia has grown its aircraft fleet from just 2 in 2001 to 76 today, while its staff strength grew from 200 to over 6,000 presently. Apart from Kuala Lumpur as its main hub, AirAsia’s other major hubs are Bangkok and Jakarta.

AirAsia Academy provides initial and recurrent training courses for pilots, flight attendants, guest services agents, ramp agents and engineering, as well as an induction programme for all new AirAsia employees.

The Academy is equipped with 6 flight simulators comprising 4 Airbus A320s, 1 Airbus A330 and 1 Boeing 737 which are run and maintained by CAE, a leading provider of integrated training solutions and advanced simulation and control technologies to the aviation industry.

The Academy is staffed by instructors who are experts in their respective fields to provide required training that meets international and the respective countries’ civil aviation standards.

AirAsia Academy is touted to have the most advanced aviation training facilities in Asia.