Saturday, December 12, 2009

Media's Brand of the Year Goes to AirAsia

11 December 2009
AirAsia Regional Head of Commercial Kathleen Tan (right) accepting the Brand of the Year award presented by Mr. Louis Boswell of AETN All Asia Networks at Media's Agency of the Year (AOY) Awards, held at the St. Regis in Singapore
AirAsia Regional Head of Commercial Kathleen Tan (right) accepting the Brand of the Year award presented by Mr. Louis Boswell of AETN All Asia Networks at Media's Agency of the Year (AOY) Awards, held at the St. Regis in Singapore

Awarded for constant innovations and bold ideas in branding campaigns

AirAsia, the world's best low-cost carrier, continues its award winning streak when the airline was bestowed the prestigious Brand of the Year award at Media's Agency of the Year (AOY) Awards, held at the St. Regis in Singapore.

In its 16th year, the Agency of the Year Awards recognizes inspired brand leadership, management excellence, outstanding business performance and overall achievements in the Asia-Pacific advertising and communications industry.

For the Brand of the Year category, AirAsia was awarded the accolade for its constant innovations and bold ideas in branding campaigns and advertisements to achieve marketing success. Despite the global economic downturn, AirAsia continued to embark on numerous branding campaigns which in turn became not only the industry's benchmark, but lead the way to demonstrate aggressive branding efforts which are essential to keep the brand relevant, alive and fresh especially during challenging times.

The airline’s perseverance is often praised by aviation and economic experts, and its success formula is regularly emulated by others.

AirAsia Regional Head of Commercial, Kathleen Tan said, “As a young airline, we are very elated with this win, as it is a very important recognition to our tireless efforts in bringing the AirAsia brand to the forefront. To all our 7,500 staff who are also our brand ambassadors, this win is a testament of each individual’s hard work and dedication in making AirAsia a reputable brand. Indeed, we strive very hard to make the airline a household name where low-fares are concerned, and we are happy that all of our endeavours bear fruit.

“It has been a challenging year on the economic front, but our diligent efforts have proved otherwise as we continue to garner sales through our low fares campaigns on our number one website and hot package deals via our GoHoliday travel portal. This is purely because the public are aware that we are a reputable and trustworthy brand, where they could derive great value and excellent services.”

The airline is totally committed in building its brand and bringing it to greater heights. Utmost commitment is essential to instill confidence and create emotional attachments of the masses with the brand. For instance, the airline’s alliance with popular sports teams such as Williams F1 and Oakland Raiders ignites further interest to the brand and generates a sense of belonging among its fans and sports enthusiasts. Especially in new markets, association with a local household brand will definitely raise the brand’s profile and instill confidence in the market especially among the youth to grow with us; enhancing our guests flying experience further .

Kathleen added, “In order stay ahead of the competition, we need to keep our brand exciting, bright and most importantly credible. We want our guests to feel good about the AirAsia experience and this will definitely keep them coming back for more.”

AirAsia is also a passionate user of technology in its branding and marketing efforts.

Social media is one of AirAsia’s important branding campaign mechanisms, which allows the airline to address the conventional limitations of direct push marketing. With its own Facebook page, it is akin to a forum that invites participation from the public, creating an extension for them to be passionate and connected to the AirAsia brand. The AirAsia Facebook page is currently the number ONE ranking Facebook corporate account in the transportation field, quickly closing in on a six figure fan base.

Twitter is another interesting tool that is utilized for transmission of short marketing blurbs, updating guests with new developments and promotions. Keeping guests in the loop through Twitter’s short messaging is absolutely alluring – due to its current chic status – and free to the masses.

Media's Editor in Chief and AOY jury chair, Atifa Hargrave-Silk said, “AirAsia is to be given the award for its achievement in building its brand and expanding its international profile in a year when the economic downturn crippled demand for air travel.

“AirAsia's first ever brand campaign launched in Asia in October, shifting consumers’ mindset of low-cost carriers by showcasing the airline's innovation, high quality service and unique experience. The airline this year also proved it had a solid grasp of the online space, in particular its ‘one million free seats’ campaign, which set a new international sales record, with almost 900,000 seats being booked 48 hours after the launch.”

In deciding the ultimate recipient of the award, Media Magazine considers the advertiser's vision – direction and focus on goals, boldness – innovative solutions that provides a return on marketing investment, brand custodian, understanding of competitive or industry challenges and a plan to overcome them and of course achievements and successes that the client has faced and overcome to achieve proven business and marketing results.

AirAsia launched a regional campaign in October, to position the world’s best low-cost airline as a high quality, sleek and cool brand.

Aptly themed ‘Have You Flown AirAsia?’, the campaign aimed to shift consumers’ mindset of low-cost carriers by showcasing the airline’s innovation, high quality service and unique experience.

The campaign was spearheaded be the television commercial directed by the late Yasmin Ahmad which rolled out across Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand on 14th October 2009. It was supported by online, outdoor, print and social media presence. A refreshing microsite has also been created to keep the brand relevant and dynamic. Exciting contests and promotions were held, treating winners to premium events and concerts.

The integrated format of this campaign is a great example of how television, print and social media can work together to engage today’s well-travelled consumers.

Travel Blackboard

Lat on board AirAsia’s A320

10 December 2009
Lat tells his story as Fernandes looks on

for the second time pays tribute to Malaysia’s greatest cartoonist Datuk Mohd Nor Khalid, better known as Lat, by featuring his masterpiece on its brand new A320 aircraft.

"We are proud to be associated with someone as talented and well-loved across the Asean region," said AirAsia group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes.

"With the aircraft flying all over Asean, we believe his creativity will inspire other young artists to greater heights," he said.

"Lat’s colourful characters and universal stories have always captured the very ideals that make up Malaysia’s unique multi-racial society, celebrating not only its differences but also its similarities.

"These are also the very ideals that have helped AirAsia grow into the Truly Asean airline we’re proud to call ourselves today," Fernandes said.

The airline first featured Lat’s illustrations on one of its Boeing 737 aircraft in 2004.

"I have wanted the characters and storyboard to reflect the culture and way of life of the people of Asean as AirAsia has grown to become," Lat said in describing his work then. "My vision was for the people of Asean to identify with the characters on the plane."

Fernandes said it was only fitting to invite Lat back to illustrate his timeless art as the airline has an Asean crew and an "unparalleled route network that brings the rest of the world closer to the region".

"Now that we’re an Asean airline, our dream has been realised and Lat helped us realise that dream."

To celebrate its collaboration with Lat, AirAsia will produce a limited edition line of Lat merchandise, including a replica of the aircraft bearing his illustrations.


Knives are out for Lotus Boss

10 December 2009

THE head of the new Lotus team has quickly discovered what it is like to be in the snake-pit of Formula One politics.

Tony Fernandes, the Air Asia tycoon who was once a record company executive, said: "I thought I'd seen it all in the airline and music business but it's another level here.

"Everyone shakes your hand and smiles - and a knife goes in your back as you walk out."

But the Malaysian pioneer remains undaunted and believes Lotus will be a key part of a "more exciting" Formula One in 2010.

The team hope to announce their drivers in the next week, with ex-Toyota ace Jarno Trulli high on their shopping list, as predicted by SunSport.

Fernandes admitted the veteran Italian was among four contenders who also include Malaysia's top driver Fairuz Fauzy.

But former world champion Jacques Villeneuve, who has been talking about a possible comeback, is not in the frame.

Lotus, who insist they are essentially a Malaysian outfit even though they have taken the name of the legendary F1 team from Norfolk, are aiming to be the best of the four new teams who will join the grid next season.

And Fernandes is particularly desperate to beat the Virgin squad backed by his former boss Sir Richard Branson, now also a rival in the airline business.

Fernandes said: "I said that No1, we have to be ahead of Branson. Otherwise I will retire and kill myself."

Italy's Jarno Trulli heads Lotus F1 shortlist

09 December 2009

Lotus Formula 1 team principal Tony Fernandes plans to name his drivers for the 2010 season next week with Jarno Trulli top of his four-man shortlist.

Trulli's only F1 victory came at the 2004 Monaco Grand Prix

Fernandes confirmed that Italian Trulli and Malaysia's Fairuz Fauzy were on the list but that Canada's former world champion Jacques Villeneuve was not.

Fernandes said Lotus were prepared to pay for the best available talent.

"I hope within the next week or so we will announce the line-up," said the Malaysian aviation entrepreneur.

Lotus will have a budget of £55m for the 2010 season and Fernandes is not expecting instant success.

"We know we aren't going to be competing (at the front) in year one, but it takes time and we'll have a good basis for moving forward," he said.

Trulli, 35, is currently without a team after Toyota announced they were pulling out of the sport in November.

But the Italian has worked with Lotus's technical director Mike Gascoyne before, most recently when they were both at Toyota.

Canada's Villeneuve, 38, who won the F1 world championship in 1997, has been talking about a comeback and spoke to Lotus but will not return to action with the team.

Fernandes also announced on Wednesday that he had reversed the decision he made in September to stand down as team principal once the season had started.

"There was a reason for doing it at that time, because I think AirAsia shareholders were kind of spooked," the AirAsia boss said.

"Now they are beginning to see that this is no different from any other business that I own.

"I will stay on as team principal. Good leadership is to know when to go, I don't see myself doing this forever but this is not the right time to go.

"I am the glue that puts it all together and drives it forwards."

Fernandes went on to state that his target for next season was to beat fellow F1 newcomer Virgin Racing, which is backed by British aviation tycoon Richard Branson.

"I said that number one we have to be ahead of Branson, otherwise I will retire and kill myself," he added.

BBC Sports

AirAsia Most Popular Airline Online

09 December 2009

Success in innovation, promo fares mark 8th anniversary bash

AirAsia is now the most popular airline in the world on giant social networking site Facebook, surpassing all other airlines – even all other transport companies – in terms of fan numbers.

The achievement caps AirAsia’s 8th year anniversary celebration today and highlights the airline’s innovative spirit that has led to its successful foray in new media and social networking. AirAsia’s achievement on Facebook at comes only nine months after the airline launched its account. AirAsia leads over all other airlines with a fan base of approximately 100,000.

Meanwhile, the airline’s website attracts 20 million unique visitors per month, is ranked as the world’s second most popular blog site by an airline, and AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes’s blog is the most popular in Malaysia by a corporate leader. The airline’s blog site, launched in September 2008, registers an average of 55,000 unique visitors per month. Tony’s blog was launched a month afterwards.

The airline’s high rankings reflect its massive appeal across the globe. Facebook is the world’s leading social networking site, and it ranks second only to Google in website popularity across all categories.

AirAsia has attracted large followings on its other new media and social networking sites that include, which showcases AirAsia videos;, which has 15,500 followers and provides updates on news as it happens; and, which posts AirAsia photos. Tony’s own has approximately 6,500 followers. YouTube, Twitter and Flickr are the world’s 4th, 14th and 32nd most popular websites, respectively, according to independent internet site ranking provider

AirAsia’s spirit of innovation has been a large component in its success and greatly differentiates it from other companies. It has put in place a strong Innovation, Commercial and Technology team to spearhead its initiatives in new media and keep up with technological trends. This focus on innovation has earlier seen AirAsia become the first airline in the world to allow mobile booking via SMS and to succeed, through its affiliate AirAsia X, in running low-cost long-haul flights.

Tony said, “AirAsia’s culture of innovation called on us to explore and fully utilize new media and social networking as communication and marketing tools. By adopting these, we ride on technology to very quickly and conveniently give tens of thousands of people constant up-to-the-minute updates about AirAsia. In turn, these people – social networkers – help us tremendously by spreading word about our services and providing feedback for our improvement. We’ve been directly interacting with people from all around the world, including those from places we don’t fly to yet, such as the United States.”

In a pleasant surprise for the airline, followers from the U.S. came up as the fifth biggest fan group on The biggest fan group is from Malaysia, followed by Indonesia, Thailand and Australia.

AirAsia’s new media and social networking ventures – launched to support the airline’s branding, marketing and communications strategies – have been warmly received by the public. AirAsia’s online projects, such as the So You Wanna be a Pilot campaign, generate mass appeal. The campaign, recognized by major media around the globe for its innovation, ran from March to mid-April this year and called for those interested in becoming pilot trainees to post their applications by blogging on AirAsia’s blog site. Three applicants who posted blogs were chosen as pilot trainees.

“New media and social networking have become integral parts of AirAsia’s growth. They help in our initiatives to socialize with key stakeholders and correspond with them in real time. These are definitely areas we’ll be getting much more aggressive in. We’re aware of the huge influence social networking wields on today’s consumers, whose use of the internet for information gathering, transactions and interactions is expanding,” said Tony.

To celebrate its achievements and 8th year anniversary, AirAsia is offering promotional all-in fares that start from RM 8 for domestic flights and from RM 25 for international flights. Guests must book seats online from 8 to 13 December 2009 and fly between 5 July and 30 October 2010 to enjoy the promotion. The special fares are for flights to destinations including Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta, Bali, Phuket, Taipei, Hanoi, Trichy, Abu Dhabi, Macau, Hong Kong and so many more. Guests may also book tour packages and hotel bookings on, AirAsia’s one-stop travel portal for over 180 Asia Pacific hotels.

Travel Blackboard

AirAsia to Link Phuket Daily Direct to Isarn's Heart

08 December 2009

AIRASIA is to create a breakthrough daily service between Phuket and Udonthani, in Isarn, from December 21.

The ''now everyone can fly'' budget line is the first to offer a direct flight to the heart of the provinces that are home to many hospitality workers on Phuket.

It was a no-brainer, really. AirAsia's research confirmed that the route is likely to be in demand and become a quick money-spinner.

Most of the bar girls who work in Patong are reputed to be from Isarn, so the new service is bound to attract a ready-and-waiting list of passengers wishing to visit families.

And at the low cost of 1498 baht one-way, (that's today's dynamic price online) the buses are going to have serious competition.

Many expats who have settled with Thai wives live in Isarn, and so there should be a ready market for people keen to holiday by the beach but reluctant to take the bus on the long journet via Bangkok.

From December 21, Flight FD3984 will leave Phuket at 3.15pm every day and arrive in Udon at 4.55pm. Return Flight FD3985 leave at 5.25pm and arrive on Phuket at 7.05pm.

AirAsia is keeping good its promise to make Phuket a regional hub, constantly opening up new routes that will please everyone except the higher-priced rival airlines.

By Chutima Sidasathian
Phuket Wan

Air Asia Eyes The US Market

08 December 2009

NEW YORK- Malaysia and Asia's best-known low-cost carrier, Air Asia, has set its sights on the United States market.

Aviation experts here say that Air Asia could easily fill the vacuum left by the national carrier, Malaysia Airlines (MAS), which recently discontinued flights to the east coast and closed its office in the Big Apple.

MAS however, still maintains its operations on the west coast, with flights to Los Angeles.

Datuk Tony Fernandes, Air Asia's chief executive, told Bernama in an interview in New York recently - he was a member of the entourage accompanying the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to the city - that he was "working" towards establishing a regular service to the east coast.

"We are very keen to enter the US market which has good business potential," he disclosed.

He hoped to start flights to an east coast airport, either New York or New Jersey, in 2010.

Ever since MAS stopped its service to the east coast, Malaysia lost an important connectivity with that part of the world.

"There are many foreign national carriers, which despite losses, maintain operations to this part of the world which is an important international service point.

"It is that proverbial pennywise-pound-foolish decision, that is likely to haunt MAS, because by withdrawing it will find it extremely difficult to come back and re-establish its position," said a New York based aviation expert who wished to remain anonymous.

Although Air Asia is a low-cost, "no frills" carrier, its arrival here would provide relief to travellers particularly Malaysians, who endure a great deal of inconvenience flying to back home via a third country.

Tony also discussed plans for the acquisition of new aircraft.

"Over the next 24 months, we will be having 32 aircraft of the A-320 type, most of which is to be used for India and China.We have 120 routes which will be increased.

"Air Asia Express will have six aircraft of the A-330 type, mainly for Sydney, Jeddah, Seoul and cities in India," he explained.

According to Tony, the airline also plans to start services to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Hawaii.

However, things need to be sorted out first, at the government-to-government level.

The New York service will be an extension of Air Asia's service from London's Stansead airport.

Tony described the US market as "very good". "There are many students here.

"I am confident, many Americans will also use Air Asia to visit Asia and Europe. They can also get connectivity to Australia," he said.

Asked whether the smaller seat configuration on Air Asia's aircraft, which is fine for passengers on shorter routes, would be suitable for long-haul flights, he said: "The airline plans to change and improve the seating configuration for the long-haul sectors."

On Air Asia's cargo business, though negligible and not fully tapped yet - it accounts for less than one percent of the airline's business - he said that it would further grow in future.

"We are also preparing for that," he said.

Air Asia's total fleet of aircraft, including Thai AirAsia, AirAsia X and Indonesia AirAsia, comprises 85 aircraft, the majority of which are of the A320-200 type.

The fleet also includes some B737-300, A330-300, A340-300 and A350-900 aircraft.

By Manik Mehta


Friday, December 11, 2009

RM8 flights as AirAsia celebrates eighth anniversary

08 December 2009

SEPANG: AirAsia is offering all-in fares starting from as low as RM8 for domestic flights and from RM25 for international flights in conjunction with its eighth year anniversary celebrations and achievements.

The special fares are for flights to destinations including Kuala Lum­pur, Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta, Bali, Phuket, Taipei, Hanoi, Trichy, Abu Dhabi, Macau, Hong Kong and others.

To enjoy the promotions, customers must book seats online from Dec 8 to Dec 18 and fly between July 5 and Oct 30 next year.

Guests may also book tour packages and make hotel bookings on

Happy Birthday: Fernandes cutting a cake with AirAsia chairman Datuk Aziz Bakar and deputy group CEO Datuk Kamarudin Meranun at the company’s anniversary celebration at the LCCT concourse, Sepang, Monday. Celebrating with them is Datuk Nicol David (left) .

Airline CEO Datuk Tony Fernandes also announced that AirAsia would be introducing Sydney and Seoul as its new routes in mid-2010 through the AirAsia X package, followed by 12 new routes in India.

On another matter, Fernandes said the airline’s website had attracted 20 million unique visitors per month with its blogsite, ranking it as the world’s second most popular blog site by an airline.

“Tapping into the new media and social networking sites has given an advantage to AirAsia to keep its customers informed of the latest promotions and other updates.”

Announcing the recent success at its eighth year anniversary celebration here yesterday, he said: “AirAsia has attracted a large following using the Internet including those from places we don’t fly to yet, like the United States.”

The airline information dissemination system included updates in Twitter, Flickr and Facebook.

AirAsia’s facebook at has a fan base of some 100,000 since it was launched nine months ago.

The Star

AirAsia Plans To Fly To Seoul And Sydney By Middle Of Next Year

07 December 2009

SEPANG-- AirAsia is in the midst of securing rights to land in Seoul and Sidney by the middle of next year.

The budget airline is also spreading its wings in India to 12 new routes in 2010, said its group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes.

He said AirAsia received tremendous response from the South Korean's Government, and it is in the process of obtaining approval for flight to Seoul.

"South Korea is the new country and they are very excited about it. As for India, it has been a very successful destination so far and we are looking into 12 new routes including Hyderabad, Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai," he told reporters after celebrating AirAsia's eighth anniversary here Monday.

Todate, the budget airline flies to four destinations in India, Trichy, Trivandrum, Kolkata and Kochin, while its current destinations in Australia are Gold Coast, Perth and Melbourne.

Tony said Thailand and Indonesia will also be two strong countries for AirAsia next year.

Commenting on the airline's outlook next year, he said AirAsia was confident it will be an "amazing year".

"For the past three quarters, we have recorded profit amid the sluggish economic environment, and the fourth quarter looks very strong," he said.


Flight night in Dewan over AirAsia

06 December 2009

Debate goes on and on about budget carrier and airport tax arrears

MALAYSIAN MPs have a love-hate relationship with AirAsia. Those who love the low-budget carrier are full of praise but those who are against it go all out to criticise the carrier, from its business model to airport tax arrears.

This mixed feelings towards AirAsia kept the debate in the House going till late at night last Tuesday.

So intense was the debate that Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia was forced to intervene, telling Wangsa Maju’s PKR MP Wee Choo Keong to go easy on the low-budget carrier.

“Yang Berhormat, please don’t go after AirAsia to the extent that it will have to close shop. It will be a problem for me as I always fly with AirAsia,” he said half in jest.

This remark took place when Wee was going after Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri while the latter was replying on a series of issues related to AirAsia raised during the debate on his ministry, ranging from advance purchase of air tickets to the airport tax that the budget carrier still owed to Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd (MAHB).

Abdul Rahim earlier had told Wee during question time that AirAsia had paid MAHB RM111.6mil in airport tax after an incentive of RM25mil was given.

Wee raised the same issue during the debate on the Transport Ministry at the committee stage of the Budget.

“Why must AirAsia be given the incentive as the airport tax is actually paid by passengers? What is the rationale when a person can be dragged to court for owing the Government RM3,000 or even face bankruptcy, but AirAsia gets to enjoy an incentive to settle arrears since 2002?

“Is there any interest charged for the amount owed since 2002? Why is there no penalty?” he asked.

Fong Kui Lun (DAP-Bukit Bintang) joined the fray by questioning the convenience fee charged by AirAsia on those who buy tickets using credit cards while Ismail Mohamed Said (BN-Kuala Kurau) asked the Transport Ministry about floating price for AirAsia tickets.

Salahuddin Ayub (PAS-Kubang Kerian) and N. Gobalakrishnan (PKR-Padang Serai), however, did not share the sentiments of Wee, Fong and Ismail.

Both had only nice things to say about AirAsia.

“We should not regard AirAsia as an enemy. It should be seen as a competitor company.

“We can learn from its achievement. It started from zero and look at where it is now.

“We should not link flying AirAsia with being less patriotic. Does flying AirAsia means one is not patriotic but flying MAS is? That is not the mentality of the 21st century... the Government is still subsidising MAS for its domestic flights.

“How long will this go on?” asked Salahuddin.

Gobalakrishnan hailed AirAsia for making it possible for people to travel cheaply.

“AirAsia has shown the way. Perhaps the ministry should consider giving two to three more licences to other new budget airlines,” he said.

The issue of independent power producers (IPP) saw Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Peter Chin getting into a war of words with Machang MP Saifuddin Nasution Ismail of PKR.

“The way Machang puts it, it seems that the Government is stupid and merely make payments to the IPPs for nothing,” said Chin.

He also dismissed the MP’s claim that IPPs were getting excessive profits from their deals with the Government.

Saifuddin, however, claimed that it was so and cited an agreement between one IPP and the power authority in United Kingdom in which the company was only making a reasonable profit compared to the one signed with the Government.

“Apart from actual electricity consumption and capacity charge, there is payment for standby charge and the subsidy on gas which are not included in the agreement signed in UK. The agreements signed here are lopsided,” he told Chin.

“Prove your allegations. We can also discuss outside the House,” Chin replied.

The exchange of words between Chin and Saifuddin was so fiery that the Speaker had to stop Datuk Dr Marcus Mojigoh (BN-Putatan) from interjecting.

Despite that, Dr Marcus managed to do so and asked Saifuddin who was the Finance Minister who had approved the IPP agreements back in 1993 and was now in the opposition (referring to Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim).

Dewan resumes its sitting tomorrow.

By Lee Yuk Peng

The Star

Budget airport deal shuts out Air Asia hopes

04 December 2009

But infrastructure firm WCT's shares get a boost on RM363m award

THE award of a RM363 million (S$148.5 million) contract for the first phase of a new low cost carrier terminal (LCCT) to a Malaysian infrastructure firm by airports owner Malaysia Airports Holdings (MAHB) appears to have shut out budget carrier Air Asia which had wanted to build the LCCT.

But it's boosted the fortunes of infrastructure firm WCT whose shares moved up 1.5 per cent to RM2.63 apiece.

On Wednesday, WCT told the stock exchange that it had been awarded a RM363 million earthworks and drainage job for the new RM2 billion LCCT by MAHB.

The contract is the first awarded by MAHB which has promised to deliver the LCCT - designed for 30-45 million passengers a year - by the third quarter of 2011. But its enforcement seems to have shut the door on budget carrier Air Asia which has been lobbying Prime Minister Najib Razak - most recently in New York last week - to take over the project.

The budget carrier, which will be the main user of the new terminal, feels that MAHB will not make the deadline and is likely to overshoot the RM2 billion budget, according to industry executives familiar with the matter.

According to the executives, Air Asia is also peeved that MAHB will not furnish an indemnity to the budget carrier in case of late completion.

The standoff, which has been going on for almost 10 months, illustrates the dynamic tensions between an entrepreneur-driven firm and a government-linked company that doubles as the operator and owner of almost all the nation's airports.

But the award has also boosted the fortunes of WCT which most analysts have now rated a 'buy'.

The new contract will add to WCT's growing reputation as a can-do specialist whose resume for main infrastructure works include the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, the Guthrie Corridor, a highway, and the Medini precinct in the Iskandar Region.

It is also represented overseas but, to widespread analyst approval, has no exposure to Dubai which has been roiled recently by the debt problems of Dubai World. Instead, the firm has RM914 million worth of contracts in the oil producing Gulf kingdoms of Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Bahrain which are cash-rich because of petrodollars.

According to analysts, the new award will push WCT's outstanding order book to RM3.6 billion.

According to AmResearch, the firm is trading at 13 to 15 times 2010/2011 earnings which is at a 5-27 per cent discount to its peers like IJM Corporation and Gamuda. The research house pegged WCT's fair value at RM3.74 a share.


The Business Times

AirAsia to add more flights to HK

03 December 2009

PETALING JAYA: AirAsia will increase direct flights to Hong Kong to three times daily from the current two.

The no-frills airline will be introducing all-in-one fares — from as low as RM129 — in conjunction with the increase, it said in a statement.

The third flight will commence on Jan 21 and are open for booking from today to Monday for travel period of Jan 21 to Oct 30.

The promotional seats are limited and available on a first come, first serve basis.

The seats can be booked online via

The Star