Wednesday, June 16, 2010

AirAsia offers a million free tickets

18 May 2010

PETALING JAYA: Low-cost carrier AirAsia is giving travellers a reason to cheer – the airline is giving away a million free seats starting today.

The booking period for the “Free Seats” promotion begins today until Sunday, for travel between Jan 3 and May 8 next year.

Customers can choose from 130 destinations to 20 countries including India, Thailand, Indonesia, Laos, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam and China.

The promotion offers various “all-in fares” which are applicable for one-way travel inclusive of airport tax, with certain terms and conditions.

AirAsia’s regional commercial head Kathleen Tan said many enquiries had been made on the airline’s social platform about the promotion.

“This is the best chance for our guests to plan and book their flights for their travel plans next year and take advantage of Kuala Lumpur’s status as a gateway to Asia, Australia and Europe to connect globally,” she said in a statement yesterday.

To complement the free flights, Tan added that AirAsia’s one-stop travel portal was also offering online hotel deals from 70,000 hotels worldwide, tour packages and free tours and transfers to selected destinations via AirAsiaGo at

For more information on free seats and other promotions, visit or

The Star

AirAsia launches multi-currency online pricing

17 May 2010

No need to resort to the calculator anymore, nor be subjected to the daily fluctuations of various currencies when purchasing your flights on AirAsia.

"You can now choose the currency you prefer for your low, low fares with this new option," said AirAsia.

Asia's largest low-cost carrier has launched a new and improved multi-currency online sales platform that enables the budget carrier's guests to get instant pricing in the currency of their choice when they make an online purchase.

AirAsia is the first Asian low cost carrier to launch the multi-currency pricing using RBS FXmicropay solution. AirAsia operates more than 600 flights daily to 65 destinations.

More than 80 percent of its sales are conducted online. AirAsia Group CEO Dato' Sri Dr. Tony Fernandes said: "The enhanced online sales platform will take away the uncertainty of exchange rates fluctuation for our guests, making the purchase of flights more convenient, straightforward and transparent."

"We want our guests to have no surprises when they receive their credit card statements at the end of the month.”

To begin with, AirAsia will launch the new service by offering sales for the following currencies: USD, SGD, HKD, GBP and AUD.

Guests with credit cards issued for the aforementioned currencies may purchase flights on AirAsia from anywhere in the world via the airline’s website,

The next step is to roll out the service to accommodate other currencies. The multi-currency pricing e-platform is created using RBS’s leading e-commerce solution “FXmicropay “and sophisticated cash management and merchant acquiring service offered by RBS.

RBS FXmicropay is an automated advanced pricing tool that supports over 60 currencies and has the ability to handle up to 3,000 transactions per second.

AirAsia Chairman, Dato Abdul Aziz Abu Bakar represented the airline at the deal signing ceremony along with Andrew Sill, Country Executive Malaysia of The Royal Bank of Scotland at the EuroFinance event recently at the Pan Pacific Hotel, Singapore.

Dato Abdul Aziz said: "We expect our low flexible fares and world-class service quality to continue to attract both leisure and business travellers and this enhanced sales platform will be an attractive feature for our passengers."


Airline in $99 fares war to Bali

17 May 2010

The AirAsia group is due to launch a new airfare war to Asia tomorrow with one-way fares expected to be just $99 or less to Bali and Kuala Lumpur.

It is understood there will be several million seats available Asia-wide for travel later this year and in 2011 to all the group's 65 destinations.

Previous sales by AirAsia have sold out in hours and the airline expects the seats to be snapped up.

After AirAsia started offering flights from Perth to Kuala Lumpur in late 2008 air travel to Kuala Lumpur leapt by 38 per cent in 2009, and is up another 34 per cent this year.

The airline started Bali services from Perth in 2009 and air travel to Bali has skyrocketed - climbing 46 per cent last year, while early figures point to another 50 per cent increase this year.

AirAsia will increase its Bali services to three times daily from June 1 and Kuala Lumpur to twice a day from August 1.

Last month, AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes promised West Australians "more flights and more bargains".

"Unlike other airlines we don't put fares up when our planes are full, we add more flights," Mr Fernandes said.

And unlike other airlines that were haemorrhaging red ink last year as passengers stayed away, AirAsia recorded a $183 million net profit with a 24 per cent growth in passengers to 22.7 million, making it the fastest-growing and most successful airline in the Asia-Pacific region.

The airline has 82 aircraft making 627 flights a day on 136 routes to 18 countries throughout Asia, Australia and India.

Those numbers are more extraordinary given that seven years ago the airline had just two aircraft and six routes and founder Mr Fernandes rarely, if ever, received an audience with regulators or politicians, let alone a cup of coffee from a banker.

Now the red carpet is there wherever he goes as airports build new terminals to accommodate his airline's expansion and politicians scramble to be seen at the airline's ever increasing occasions of ordering more aircraft or making new route announcements.

The West

'We've succeeded by enabling people to fly home for weekends'

13 May 2010

AirAsia Group CEO Anthony Francis Fernandes, also known as Tony Fernandes, has been honoured with Dato’ Sri, the highest state title conferred by the ruler of Malaysia for contribution to the state. With a tagline of “Now everyone can fly” for his airline, he has enabled people from Trichy to Mumbai to fly overseas, promising to further lower fares. From humble beginnings to a millionaire, Tony Fernandes shared his journey experience with Sneha Kupekar. Edited excerpts:

What is your definition of a Low Cost Carrier (LCC)?
A true LCC is one which can give fares at Re 1, albeit as a special offer. Even our average fares are lower by almost 50 per cent as compared to other Full-Service Carriers (FSCs). If you think FSCs provide free meals, that’s not true; all these costs are built into your ticket price. AirAsia has not only done away with fuel surcharges, but also provide customers the option to make a choice: whether they want a meal, extra leg room or not.

So, have you succeeded in enabling everyone to fly?
When I flew on our first Mumbai- Kuala Lumpur flight, I met a couple coming to Mumbai for the 50th wedding anniversary of their parents. I think this is where we have succeeded, by enabling people to fly home for a weekend. I would like to enable people further by enabling them to fly home for dinner. I think what matters is the paradigm shift in the way people now perceive air travel.

Where did Indian LCCs fail?
The difference in our approach has been developing a portfolio first. We were the first airline to fly to Trichy and then after going to newer and uncharted markets, we managed to develop a portfolio that enables us to be sure of a foothold in the metros now. I think all Indian airlines are polarised towards the metros predominantly, so they have a marginal market to compete in. There are so many unutilised airports and under-served routes here. A good example is the Hyderabad airport, there’s so much more that it can be used for, but no, everyone wants to set up base in Mumbai and Delhi.

You have always been a team member, more than the Group CEO. Why do you prefer that approach?
Airlines is a business that requires sustained focus and attention. I can’t sit in my office and make my company work. I meet all my team members and try to meet maximum number of passengers. Most of the people who started airlines were billionaires, but I was a pauper. I have learnt the business the hard way, and let me tell you, it is a hard business to be in. There’s also a lot of politics involved, with all the national carriers getting preferences.

How do you manage to keep your costs so low?
One of the first things I did was to set up our own training academy, where we churn out pilots who believe in our culture and reflect our values. Most of the Indian operators have had to look for pilots from outside and pay a premium for them. Our fleet utilisation is also high at 13 hours. This is one of the reasons for the low costs. The other reason is we haven’t spread ourselves too thin by being a part of too many different ventures. AirAsia is my business, I am clear on that. Also, this is a volume driven business and we need to keep our volumes up. Otherwise if a plane takes off empty, we have lost that revenue forever. We can never make it up. Focused management and low fuel costs per seat have also enabled us to keep it low.

Business Standard

AirAsia defends planes dropping too low over Gold Coast

12 May 2010

AIRASIA X has defended the conduct of its pilots amid a probe into why two passenger flights dropped below safe altitudes over the Gold Coast.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) says the incidents are "serious" and subject to a full investigation.

Registration records show one of the planes was an AirAsia X plane, enroute from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

The 330-seat Airbus dropped "below the radar lowest safe altitude" over the Gold Coast at 7.30am (AEST) on May 4, the ATSB said.

At the the time, the plane was flying on instruments due to poor visibility.

The ATSB said it was also investigating a similar incident involving the same aircraft type on May 3.

AirAsia X chief executive officer Azran Osman-Rani said passenger safety was never at risk during either incident.

"We do not believe that passenger safety was compromised at any time and landings were performed normally under guidance from air traffic controllers," he said.

"AirAsia X has been advised by the ATSB that this is a routine investigation only.

"We have supplied our flight data which they will then analyse and compare with air traffic control data to find any anomalies."

Australia investigates AirAsia X A330 low altitude approach

11 May 2010

Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is investigating two incidents last week in which an AirAsia X aircraft flew too low while approaching Gold Coast airport.

On 4 May, an AirAsia X A330-300, registration 9M-XXB, went "below the radar lowest safe altitude" while approaching the airport after a flight from Kuala Lumpur, says the ATSB, which has classified the incident as serious.

The approach was made in instrument meteorological conditions, indicating low visibility due to cloudy or bad weather conditions at that time.

The bureau says a similar incident involving the same aircraft occurred on 3 May in visual meteorological conditions, which indicates sufficient visibility.

An investigation into the incidents is ongoing, says the ATSB, adding that no injuries occurred as a result.

Malaysia-based AirAsia X says it is working with the bureau on the investigation.

"If any anomalies are found or identified, we will rectify them with immediate effect. Both flights landed safely without any passenger incidents. Safety remains and has always been a priority for AirAsia X," says a carrier spokesman.

By Ghim-Lay Yeo

AirAsia launches Pre-Booked Baggage Supersize Option Online

11 May 2010

Travellers on AirAsia can now enjoy savings of up to 50% when they take advantage of the airline’s online ‘Pre-booked Baggage Supersize’ fees.

AirAsia Head of Ancillary Income, Rafizah Amran said, “Last year, 660,000 people paid RM91 million for excess baggage. At the end of their trip, guests are often faced with problems of having baggage with excessive weight and exorbitant baggage fees, which is not a very happy ending to the journey. By utilizing our ‘Supersize’ baggage option online, guests can enjoy great savings up to 50% compared to paying excess baggage fees at the counter.”

AirAsia’s 20kg ‘Supersize’ option is offered at RM30 online. For non-‘Supersize’, a baggage of 20kg (15kg allowance + 5kg excess) will incur the cost of RM30 for the first 15kg and up to RM20 for each subsequent kg at the counter. The result, a whopping total of RM130 at the counter compared to a mere RM30 online pre-book for the same baggage weight of 20kg.

AirAsia Celebrates KL - Mumbai Launch with Promotion

07 May 2010

AirAsia X has launched 4 direct flights per week between the Low Cost Carrier Terminal in Kuala Lumpur and Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.

To celebrate the launch, AirAsia is offering promotional fares from RM 0.08 for flights between Mumbai and Kuala Lumpur. An Airbus A330 aircraft is being deployed on the new route.

Mrs. Sujata Thakur, Regional Director, India Tourism, Mumbai said, “On behalf of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India we welcome Air Asia, a low cost airline for starting operations to Mumbai. I am sure with its arrival to Mumbai we will see increased tourist inflow from Malaysia and other ASEAN Countries to Mumbai and its adjoining regions. With Air Asia’s operations from Mumbai the Indian passengers will also benefit. As it will lead to increase travel opportunities not only for Malaysia but other ASEAN Countries as well.”

Travellers flying on this new route will have the chance to experience the new ‘flatbed Premium seats’ on the brand new A330 aircraft. The flatbed seats offer 20” width, 60” pitch and stretch out to 77” in full recline position. The seats feature universal power sockets, adjustable headrests and built-in personal utilities such as tray table, drink holder, reading light and privacy screen.

Mumbai, which was previously known as Bombay is a major metropolitan city of India and the state capital of Maharashtra. The edifices and the colonial structures that adorn Mumbai speak of the grand and glorious history of the city. The Gateway of India, the Elephanta Caves, Prince of Wales Museum, Marine Drive, Haji Ali’s Tomb, Victoria Terminus, and Film City are amongst the must visit places of Mumbai.

Jointly, the AirAsia Group has a total of 148 flights weekly to the various points in India which include Tiruchirappalli, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Kochin, Trivandrum, Bangalore, Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai (to Kuala Lumpur and Penang).