Saturday, November 14, 2009

Malacca airport to offer incentives to carriers

12 November 2009

MALACCA: The Transport Ministry has agreed to provide the Malacca International Airport several incentives to help spur its usage by air carriers.

This includes considering granting AirAsia rights to six destinations in Indonesia.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the state hoped to see several low-cost carriers establish operations at the airport which would be officially opened by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Jan 15 next year.

Mohd Ali said he received a letter from Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat on Thursday.

“He (Ong) said the airport will enjoy benefits under the Government’s incentives schemes to promote tourism in Malaysia,” he told reporters during a break at the State Legislative Assembly here Thursday.

This include a RM25 incentive for each incoming passenger for the first 12 months for new airlines flying to new routes or increasing flight frequency.

Another benefit is the RM10 to RM15 incentive for each incoming passenger after the period, depending on the performances of the air carriers.

Also included is a deferment of landing charges for three years and six-month rent-free office space for those setting up operations at the airport.

He also said the ministry would also consider AirAsia’s request to fly to six destinations in Indonesia once the governments of both countries concluded their air rights agreement.

Among the destinations AirAsia is looking at are Jakarta, Padang, Palembang, Pekan Baru, Medan and Denpasar.

Mohd Ali said Malaysia Airlines, its subsidiary Firefly and low-cost carriers from Indonesia and the Philippines had indicated interest in using the airport here.

Airasia X Begins Daily Direct Flight To Cochin Thursday

12 November 2009

KUALA LUMPUR-- AirAsia X on Thursday began daily direct flights to Cochin, the commercial capital of Kerala, following successful expansion to the South Indian city of Trichy last year, said Chief Executive Officer Azran Osman-Rani.

He said the low cost long-haul airline affiliate of AirAsia will also start flying to Trivandrum and Kolkata next week.

"We expect strong demand from customers, especially business travellers," he told reporters on the sidelines of the Third Kuala Lumpur International Trade Forum here Thursday, an event concurrently held with Intrade Malaysia.

He also confirmed AirAsia X's inaugural flight to Abu Dhabi was on Nov 23.

Azran said AirAsia X's business operations were on track despite the current global economic downturn which has affected many airlines' profit margin.

"We hope to register good financial performance this year and continue our route expansion programme," he added.

The AirAsia Group achieved RM288 million operating profit in the first half of this year, accounting for five times higher than the same period last year.

It also recorded 24 per cent passenger growth year-on-year.

AirAsia’s sale proves to be a hit

12 November 2009

PETALING JAYA: AirAsia’s website registered 300 million hits in the first 11 hours of its Free Seats campaign, its regional commercial head Kathleen Tan said.

She also noted that at least 300,000 seats were sold in less than 24 hours.

In a statement yesterday, she said AirAsia’s server capacity had been doubled to cope with the congestion on

“The rush for the free seats is a real testament that today’s consumers are online savvy and embracing the low-cost revolution happening in Asia.”

To those who had not succeeded in making their bookings, she urged them to keep trying for the remaining 700,000 free seats.

The campaign ends on Nov 15.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Airasia Doubles Server Capacity For 1 Million Free Seats Offer

11 November 2009

KUALA LUMPUR-- In anticipation of strong demand to its "1 Million Free Seats" offer, AirAsia has doubled its server capacity to cope with the huge increase in demand.

Demand has vastly exceeded its expectations partly driven by its entry into new markets such as Australia, United Kingdom, India, China and the Middle East, resulting in congestion on

"For those who have not been able to make a booking, we urge them to be patient and keep trying as there are still 700,000 free seats available up to Nov 15," said regional head of Commercial, Kathleen Tan, in a statement here.

Tan noted that the offer has broken two new world records whereby the website registered a phenomenal 300,000,000 hits in the first 11 hours of the campaign, and sold over 300,000 seats in less than 24 hours.

The booking period is only for five days beginning Wednesday while the travelling period is between May 1 and Oct 30, 2010.

Poor excuse for AirAsia convenience fee

11 November 2009

I refer to the letter AirAsia's convenience fee for value-added services.

To AirAsia's credit, they have put up a notice (albeit a small one ) on their front page explaining the reason behind the Convenience Fee. It can be seen here.

But the reason is still unconvincing. AirAsia claims that the fee was introduced 'to ensure that our guests are provided a comfortable and safe booking environment. AirAsia has invested substantially to expand, implement and maintain our online payment systems and especially, to upgrade, enhance and improve the security features for online credit, debit and charge cards payments. The Convenience Fee is to subsidise the costs of the payment systems.

I say poppycock. Let me ask my fellow readers to consider this a minute - isn't the online purchasing system one of the fundamental pillars that keeps AirAsia in business?

Without it, AirAsia's business model would crumble as they would need to engage travel agents etc. and that would make them indistinguishable from any full-service airline.

If this system is so fundamental to AirAsia's business, it is their imperative to make the system as secure and as convenient as possible for users whether we subsidise it or not.

If not, customers would just not use it and move on to another low-cost airlines that provide this convenience without the fee.

And therein lies the true reason for AirAsia's convenience fee.

AirAsia has a monopoly in Malaysia in the low-cost airline sector. For people to go in, out, or around Malaysia cheaply, no one can provide a service cheaper than AirAsia's. And that is why they can force us to subsidise whatever fee they want.

In fact, they can bring on a convenience fee, then an 'inconvenience fee', and on top of that a 'just-messin'-with-you' fee and we'd all just have to accept them because there is no other choice.

For all its whining of being the underdog against the big dogs, it in fact is the most terrible of them all which doesn't even attempt to put on a facade that they care about their customers in the name of being low-cost.

by John Z

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

AirAsia launches One Million “Free” Seats Promotion

10 November 2009

AirAsia is giving away 1 million free seats, to over 70 destinations including China, India, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and many more across the airline’s extensive network of over 130 routes, stretching across 20 countries.

The free seats promotion kicks off from 11 - 15 November 2009 (booking period) for the travel period from 1 May – 30 October 2010.

AirAsia’s Regional Head of Commercial, Kathleen Tan said, “To usher 2010, this is the biggest and most exciting promotion of the year. With no fuel surcharge, and no administration fee, it’s a real deal, offering fantastic value to our guests. When the economy is tough, people seek cheaper traveling options which offer them better value for money and there is no better option than flying with AirAsia for free! This is also our gesture of saying a big thank you to our guests and the public who supported and contributed to AirAsia’s success. Without them, we would not have been conferred the recent “Airline of the Year 2009” award from the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), flying over 80 million guests to date.”

Travellers can fly from Kuala Lumpur to domestic destinations such as Penang, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching and many more from as low as RM6 (all in one way fare).

Popular international destinations such as Jakarta, Bali, Yogyakarta, Bangkok, Phuket and even Tianjin are being offered from as low as RM25(all in one way fare).

Plus, AirAsia’s long haul affiliate, AirAsia X recently launched new routes to Abu Dhabi, and Chengdu, which are also included in the promotion with fares from as low as RM 99 (all in one way fare). Kangaroo routes to Australia such as the Gold Coast, Melbourne and Perth are available from as low as RM149 (all in one way fare). The popular London route is also on offer from as low as RM499 (all in one way fare).

Promotional seats are limited and available on first-come, first-served basis. Terms and conditions apply.

Fauzy set for Lotus role

09 November 2009

Lotus chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne has confirmed World Series by Renault runner-up Fairuz Fauzy for a role next season - and expects him to graduate to a full seat.

Despite being based in Norfolk for now, Lotus has predominantly Malaysian support in the shape of the Tune Group and an acting team principal from the Far Eastern country in AirAsia founder Tony Fernandes.

Fernandes has made little secret of his desire to one day put a home-grown driver on the grand prix grid, and former GP2 Series contender Fauzy fits the bill.

However Gascoyne played down speculation that the driver is in line for a grid spot in 2010, with Toyota refugee Jarno Trulli and another experienced campaigner such as former world champion Jacques Villeneuve expected to turn out for the legendary team of yesteryear.

"Fairuz will be in the team, probably as a reserve driver or a test driver," Gascoyne - making a return to F1 following a year off after parting ways with Force India - told Malaysian newspaper The Star.

"He's got the talent, but we don't want him to 'crash and burn' in the race because of his inexperience."

Gascoyne compared the situation to that experienced by Fernando Alonso, who moved up from testing duties to win World Championships with Renault.

"Take Alonso, for example," he said. "He was signed as a test driver at Renault but didn't get a race seat until after three years, then went on to win trophies.

"That's exactly what we want with Fairuz - for him to have enough experience - because racing in Formula One is a much higher level than he's used to.

"If you ask any young driver if they're ready for F1, their answer will always be 'yes' but, at the end of the day, it's the experience that matters."

AirAsia (Malaysia) introduces its latest logojet

Copyright Photo: W.T. Liew. 9M-AFJ taxies at Kuala Lumpur base.

AirAsia ( (Malaysia) (Kuala Lumpur) has introduced this new logojet on Airbus A320-216 registered 9M-AFJ (msn 2881) featuring cartoon figures.

AirAsia opens first HCMC-Phu Ket route

07 November 2009

Low cost carrier AirAsia announced a new daily flight between Ho Chi Minh City and the Thai beach destination of Phu Ket today, the airline’s first direct flight between the two destinations.

The new route would include a “mixture of leisure seekers and business travelers,” said Thai AirAsia’s chief executive officer Tassapon Bijleveld.

Bijleveld said Vietnamese tourists were among the top international arrivals to Thai destinations, including Bangkok and Phuket. The beach enclave-turned tourist center attracted 4 million travelers last year.

The CEO said the airline’s flights from Bangkok to HCMC and Hanoi enjoyed high occupancy of 85 and 78 percent on average, respectively.

He told Thanh Nien that AirAsia – which operates mainly in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand - would open addition flights between Bangkok and HCMC in two months. Those flights would be scheduled four times a week, he said.

Last month, Indonesia AirAsia opened a route between HCMC and Jakarta while Malaysia AirAsia operates two routes from Kuala Lumpur to Hanoi and HCMC.