Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Baby born on plane named after AirAsia

28 October 2009

SEPANG: The baby boy, who created national headlines when he was born on an AirAsia plane, has been named Asia Liew Ya Hang.

His mother Liew Siaw Hsia said the Chinese name ‘Ya Hang’ means ‘AirAsia’ in Mandarin.

“It’s the best name I can give my son who was the first baby born on the airline’s plane,” she said in a statement yesterday.

The mother and baby are currently at the Putrajaya Hospital.

Asia Liew Ya Hang was safely delivered on board Flight AK 6506 on Oct 21 when the aircraft was about 800m in the air.

The flight from Penang to Kuching was diverted to the low-cost carrier terminal here when Liew went into premature labour.

The airline has presented Liew and the baby free flight tickets for life to celebrate the birth.

THAI launches direct Phuket - Hong Kong flights

27 October 2009

The launch ceremony at Phuket International Airport on Sunday.
The launch ceremony at Phuket International Airport on Sunday.

PHUKET CITY: With the high season for tourism almost here, Thai Airways International (THAI) has begun direct flights between Phuket and Hong Kong three times weekly.

An Airbus 330-300 leaves Phuket at 1:15pm on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Return flights leave Hong Kong at 8am on the same days.

Forty-two seats are reserved for passengers in business class, with the remainder in economy.

The service began on Sunday.

THAI sales office general manager for Phuket Chantath Srininthra said the response has been positive, with seats already booked well into the new year.

“We hope this service will meet customer needs and generate income for the company,” he said.

Phuket Vice Governor Worapoj Ratthasima was at Phuket International Airport for the inaugural flight.

Thai AirAsia is also preparing to launch direct flights between the same cities ‘soon’ as part of its plan to establish Phuket as a second regional air hub for Thailand, Phuket Tourist Association Vice President Panu Maswongsa told the Gazette.

Thai AirAsia also plans to open direct flight service between Phuket and Chiang Mai starting in December.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thai AirAsia seeks regional expansion

27 October 2009

With the domestic market becoming saturated, the budget carrier Thai AirAsia needs to spread its wings regionally to support its aggressive growth plan.

The split in business between regional and domestic flights, now roughly 50:50, would be 70:30 within five five years, said chief executive Tassapon Bijleveld.

Any cities within a four-hour flying range from Thailand are on the airline's radar screen for possible regular flights by Thai AirAsia, he said.

High on its immediate agenda is the inauguration of services to India, probably starting in December with a Mumbai-Bangkok service.

Thai AirAsia is preparing to start daily services on the Phuket-Hong Kong and Phuket-Jakarta routes on Nov 15, followed by flights from Phuket to Chiang Mai, Medan in Indonesia and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam in December.

But the airline has no plans for Siem Reap in Cambodia and Luang Prabang in Laos, two tourist destinations it has been keen to serve due to high traffic potential, especially among backpacker tourists, its main clientele. "They are not our priorities," Mr Tassapon said.

He noted that Thai AirAsia would rather not enter Siem Reap, the site of the Angkor temples and a route pioneered by Bangkok Airways "out of our respect" to the the privately owned Thai regional airline.

While other airlines have made cutbacks in the wake of the global economic downturn and other negative factors including Thai political turmoil, Thai AirAsia has been steadfast in bucking the trend.

Its aggressive regional expansion is intended to keep pace with its growth in capacity resulting from fleet expansion which includes the addition of higher-capacity jetliners including the Airbus A320.

The airline's current fleet comprises 10 Airbus A320s and six Boeing 737s. Toward the end of this year, the airline will take delivery of two new A320s. Next year, it will receive eight more new A320s and phase out six B737s.

Thai AirAsia's A320 can carry 180 passengers in one class, with 20% more seats than the ageing B737.

By 2011, there will be 25 aircraft in Thai Asia's all-A320 fleet and the number will grow to 30 in 2012 before reaching 40 subsequently.

AirAsia says Q3 passenger traffic up 19 pct on-yr

26 October 2009

KUALA LUMPUR- Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia (AIRA.KL: Quote, Profile, Research) carried 19 percent more passengers in the third quarter from a year earlier, the company said on Monday.

Southeast Asia's largest low-cost airline by fleet size said it carried a total of 3.6 million passengers during the quarter.

The airline's passenger carrying capacity, measured in available seat kilometres, expanded by 13 percent after it took delivery of new aircraft.

Third-quarter seat load factor, or the percentage of total seats fill, was unchanged at 75 percent from a year ago, it said.

AirAsia said these figures are preliminary and have not been reviewed by its auditors.

Indian aviation industry to report losses of USD1.5 billion in 2009: IATA

26 October 2009

IATA Director General and CEO, Giovanni Bisignani, stated the Indian aviation industry is forecast to report losses of USD1.5 billion in 2009 (or 42% of total losses in the Asia Pacific region), adding that “logically most of these losses will come from Air India”.

Separately, Boeing India President, Dinesh A Keskar, stated he expects growth will return to the Indian aviation industry over the next six months, adding, “this possibility of growth will be lead by three key drivers, which are, correction in the situation of aircraft overcapacity, reduction in fuel prices and upturn in the economy. Further the up coming tourism season will also help the industry”. The manufacturer is scheduled to deliver 90 aircraft to Indian carriers over the next four years.

India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation reports the number of aircraft acquired by India’s aviation industry fell 20% year-on-year to 132 aircraft for the nine months to Sep-2009. During the period, 45 aircraft were de-registered by the regulator, as airlines returned aircraft to lessors.

JAL’s share turbulence continues; downgraded by Citigroup

Japan Airlines’ shares slipped 6.6% on Friday, after Citigroup halved the carrier’s price to JPY80 and rated the stock "sell/high risk."

Citigroup added, "it is not certain whether JAL will go through a private reorganisation or file for bankruptcy, but even if it stays clear of bankruptcy, we think value for existing shareholders will be substantially reduced on dilution accompanying a big capital increase”.

70% of ANA and JAL domestic services operating at a loss

ANA’s shares were also weaker on Friday, slipping 1.6%. Local Japanese media reported that JAL and ANA are reportedly operating more than 70% of domestic routes at a loss, with average load factors under 60% between Apr-2009 and Aug-2009.

Asia Pacific selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 23-Oct-09

Team backer dangles Aprilia bike for Malaysian finisher

25 October 2009

ELLY Idzlianizar Ilias and Muhd Zulfahmi Khairuddin exceeded expectations by improving their fastest lap times in the qualifying session for the 125cc class in the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit yesterday.

And a huge reward awaits them if they can go on and finish the race today.

The team’s main backer, AirAsia chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes, has promised them a brand new Aprilia bike each if they achieve the feat.

Learning curve: Elly Idzlianizar Ilias in action during yesterday’s 125cc qualifying session. — S.S.KANESAN / The Star

The 25-year-old Elly managed to shave off a second from the morning free practice time of 2:18.795 to 2:17.952.

That saw him earning 25th spot on the grid of 33 riders.

Elly said that yesterday’s ride was all about giving their best and gaining experience along the way.

“The objective was to clock 2:18 today but I managed 2:17. I am very happy with the result but the time can be improved on and I plan to do it in the final race,” said Elly, who is the lead rider in the AirAsia Team Malaysia.

“I am prepared for it because I’ve learned a lot from practising with the best 125cc riders for the past two days. All that’s needed now is to fine fine-tune the strategies.”

Elly expects the race today to be an intense affair.

“The riders will go all out, especially in the final five laps. I have worked hard for this moment and I don’t intend to let down fellow Malaysians who have given us endless support and encouragement,” said Elly.

Zulfahmi, riding a Yamaha TZ125 bike, also made progress yesterday – taking three seconds off his time from Friday’s practice of 2:22.194 to 2:19.655 in lap 14.

The 18-year-old, who will start in 30th spot on the grid, was thrilled with the result.

Ongetta I.S.P.A. team manager Fiorenzo Caponera and Dunlop International Motorsport manager Jeremy Ferguson, who have been working hand-in-hand with the Malaysian team, were also proud with Elly and Fahmi’s performances, commending the duo’s ability to prepare themselves for the race within five months “when it takes other 125cc riders years to do so”.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

AirAsia unleash low Aussie fares to KL and Bali

23 October 2009

AirAsia is offering direct one-way flights from Melbourne and Perth to Kuala Lumpur, and from Perth to Bali from just $119 as part of its first 2010 sale promotion.

There are also a range of low fares to Asian destinations from Malaysia, the carrier offering one-way flights to Taipei from $71, Tianjin from $53, Penang from $7, Columbo (Sri Lanka from $35, Hanoi from $35 and Chiang Mai from $28.

Promotional fares are on sale from now until 25 October 2009 for travel from 11 January 2010 - 30 April 2010.

Fares are exclusively available online at and at Terms and conditions apply.

From 1 December 2009, AirAsia will increase flights from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur to 11 per week.

Baby boy delivered on board Asia Flight

22 October 2009

KUALA LUMPUR-- A premature baby boy was delivered on board an AirAsia flight last night, 30 minutes after the aircraft left Bayan Lepas Airport in Penang.

The flight AK5606 was on its way to Kuching but had to reroute to the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) in Sepang when a pregnant passenger told crew members she was in labour pains.

Liew Siaw Hsia, 31, gave birth through the normal delivery to a premature but healthy boy, who became the first born in an AirAsia aircraft.

Edd Razhe, the personal assistant to the AirAsia chairman, said when the pilot was informed of the emergency, he contacted the control tower requesting a reroute to LCCT.

"The ambulance was already at the airport to take the woman and her baby to Putrajaya Hospital," he said when contacted here, today.

Edd said a doctor only known as Ronald helped deliver the baby.

He added although it was an emergency, situation in the aircraft was normal and under control.

AirAsia Berhad chief operating officer Datuk Tony Fernandes, who is in Bangkok, Thailand, would be back in Kuala Lumpur to celebrate the arrival of the first born at Putrajaya Hospital.

AirAsia will provide a lifetime of free flights to both Liew and her son to all destinations.

AirAsia welcomes 2010 with a Big Regional Sale!

21 October 2009

Skytrax World's Best Low Cost airline, AirAsia welcomes 2010 with a BIG Regional Sale! The leading airline makes flying more affordable by offering airfares from as low as *RM19 for its domestic and international routes (excluding Thailand domestic routes and London). The sale will run from 19 - 25 October 2009 for the travel period from 11 January 2010 - 30 April 2010. The incredible low fares offered by AirAsia are available to all of its Asia destinations including the Middle East departing from its hub from Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Bangkok, Bandung, Jakarta, Surabaya and Bali including Penang and Johor.

Kathleen Tan, Regional Head of Commercial commented "Cost has become an important key factor in our purchases especially now when the global economy is down. AirAsia observes the importance of its low fares to ensure flying becomes affordable for everyone. With over 130 routes to choose from, we believe we cater to leisure and business travellers, giving them more choices and flexibility with our unbeatable low fares and extensive flight frequencies.? The 2010 SALE is packed with great bargains with promo fares ranging from only *RM19 to *RM199 and above to all domestic and international destinations that AirAsia flies to. With our first Sale promotion in 2010, there has never been a better time to usher in the New Year. Guests can now start planning their next holiday with our unbeatable low fares for travel within January to April 2010,"
"AirAsia will continue to launch our promo campaigns when travel demand is evident. Our 48 hr Sales campaign and Low Fare Madness campaign which we recently launched received tremendous response. Furthermore, with our travel online portal Go Holiday, guests may now book fantastic tour packages and ground transfers in addition to their hotel lodgings and flights across AirAsia's vast route network. ?It also pays to register to be AirAsia's Red Alert member as members will be notified one day earlier via email before the promotion is made known to the public the following day. Guests may register via Hence we strongly recommend them to book early to avoid any disappointments as our seats are usually snapped up quickly. " she added.

To make the deal sweeter, Go Holiday, AirAsia's own online travel portal is also offering attractive holiday packages in conjunction with the 2010 Sale Campaign. Guests can book their packages via, from as low as RM112 per person for domestic packages (with flight, 3 days 2 nights hotel stay inclusive of breakfast) and from as low as RM199 per person for international packages (with flight, 3 days 2 nights hotel stay). Exciting holiday packages on offer under the heritage sights include destinations to Seam Reap, Hanoi, Guilin, Yogyakarta, and Hangzhou. Those opting for a domestic vacation may book holiday packages to Langkawi, Penang, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and Johor Bahru. For our shopaholic enthusiast, guests may opt for a shopping spree holiday package deals in Bandung, Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taipei and those who are all for city sights, Dhaka, Tianjin, Perth, Melbourne and Abu Dhabi package deals are on offer. And for the Sun-Sand-Sea lovers, dream no more as holiday packages to Bali, Phuket, Krabi and Colombo are also available. Check out our online travel portal as there are more exciting holiday packages to many exciting destinations available.

Promotional seats are limited and available on first-come, first-served basis and made exclusively available online via and

Stay tuned! Follow AirAsia on Twitter, Facebook, and AirAsia's Blog where we will provide real time updates on our latest promotion.