Saturday, October 29, 2011

TAA gears up for daily service to India

13 October 2010

Thai AirAsia (TAA) will break new ground in air travel between Thailand and India with the debut of low-cost service in December.

After nearly two years of planning and navigating India's complex approval process, the no-frills airline will launch its long-awaited flights from Bangkok to Kolkata and New Delhi on Dec 1.

Thai AirAsia, the local affiliate of Malaysia-based AirAsia, Asia's largest budget carrier, was granted its desired daily frequency for the Kolkata-bound route but must wait another 60 days to operate a similar seven flights a week between Bangkok and New Delhi.

Indian aviation authorities said Thai AirAsia could operate four flights a week on the Bangkok-New Delhi sector now, but the airline prefers to wait until it can offer daily flights.

The airline has been eager to capitalise on fast-growing demand for air service between the two countries and enlarge its traffic base by focusing more on the "very budget conscious" segment.

Last year, arrivals from India increased by 14.45% to 614,566, ranking fifth in Thailand's foreign visitor tally and bringing in more than 16 billion baht in foreign exchange.

For the first eight months of this year, Indian arrivals jumped 20% year-on-year, underlying the significant growth for this sector of the market, chief executive Tassapon Bijleveld said yesterday, citing official figures.

He said the airline was upbeat about the market response to its first two Indian routes, expecting to see an initial cabin factor of 85-90%.

Thai AirAsia has said it also hopes to launch a third route, Bangkok-Mumbai, also with a daily frequency, sometime in the second half of 2011.

Mr Tassapon said the airline was also studying the potential of adding Chennai and Bangalore to its Indian network but declined to give a timeframe for when any changes may occur.

He said while AirAsia and the long-distance AirAsia X have been flying to India from their Malaysian hub, Indians still need time fully to embrace the low-cost carrier model, which is still unfamiliar to most Indians.

Thai Airways International and four legacy Indian carriers currently operate between Thailand and India.

Bangkok Post

AirAsia named best in Asia

12 October 2010

PETALING JAYA: AirAsia was named the Best Asian low-cost carrier by TTG, Asia Pacific’s leading travel news publisher.

About 48,000 votes were cast in a poll which was held from June to August.

“This award reflects AirAsia’s commitment to excellence and to growing travel and tourism in the region. We have flown 100 million guests in only eight years of operations as a low-cost airline that has made it truly possible for everyone to fly,” said AirAsia chairman Datuk Aziz Bakar.

He received the award at the 21st annual TTG Travel Awards 2010 ceremony in Bangkok.

In a statement yesterday, Aziz said AirAsia would keep serving the region with low fares, an extensive network of destinations, great flight frequencies and friendly service.

The Star

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Liberate Sydney!

08 October 2010

AIRASIA X has stepped up its fight for a Sydney – Kuala Lumpur route by emblazoning its newest plane with the message: Liberate Sydney. End the monopoly.

The low-cost carrier’s new Airbus A330 will take its message – which also features a silhouette of the Sydney Opera House - to the skies on the Melbourne and Gold Coast route.

The Malaysian-based carrier flies out of Melbourne, Perth and the Gold Coast to Kuala Lumpur but has been denied permission to fly from Sydney by the Malaysian Government, despite receiving the green light from local authorities.

“There is an immense demand for capacity on that route but the only thing holding us back from launching direct services is government approval from Malaysia,” AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman-Rani said.

“We hope this paint job comes through loud and clear because we will keep fighting the good fight until we get the go-ahead to fly to Sydney.”

Named the ‘Southern
Xross’, AirAsia X Head of Commercial Darren Wright said the aircraft was "dedicated to the Aussie spirit".

"And that means we won’t give up. Sydneysiders deserve greater choice and an end to the monopoly on the route by government-owned carrier Malaysia Airlines,” Mr Wright said.

Air Asia's long-haul offshoot Air Asia X launched flights to Australia in November 2007 with services to the Gold Coast. Perth and Melbourne were added a year later.

AirAsia X also flies to destinations in China, India, Taiwan, Korea, Iran and the UK.

AirAsia, the leading and largest low-cost carrier in Asia, services the most extensive network with over 132 routes covering over 70 destinations.

The airline was named the 2009 and 2010 World’s Best Low Cost Airline in the annual World Airline Survey by Skytrax and last October AirAsia and AirAsia X were awarded jointly the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) Airline of the Year Award for 2009.

Travel BlackBoard

AirAsia X Says GDS Sales Not Paying Off

05 October 2010

AirAsia X’s initial sales from global distribution systems are not yet paying off, with GDS bookings accounting for 3% to 4% of its sales and failing to generate a “material difference” in yield compared to online purchases, says CEO Azran Osman-Rani.

The latter point is critical because low-cost carriers will pay for the GDS distribution model only if the yields are sufficient to offset the cost of using the channel. However, Azran told The DAILY on the sidelines of the World Low-Cost Airlines Conference in London that he is willing to give the experiment another year or so to see if the GDSs produce better results. AirAsia X only recently separated from AirAsia and now has its own commercial team, meaning it can work closely with travel agents and GDSs on how best to market its product instead of paying AirAsia a fee for its GDS connection. “If something good comes out of it, great; I’m not dogmatic about it,” Azran says. “But I think as is, something is not right. Something needs to change. I don’t know what it is.”

What he does not want to give agents is what some of them continue to clamor for—GDS access to AirAsia X’s promotional Internet prices, which he says shows they are focused on selling solely based on price. That’s a marketing challenge because the airline attracts business travelers who are more price-sensitive than customers for other airlines, and right now even customers at million-dollar businesses are telling their secretaries to book online instead if the online price is cheaper than what the agent can offer, Azran says.

Azran reports better results with AirAsia X’s lie-flat seats. The airline has 12 such seats on every aircraft and is filling them at about the same rate as economy class, with about a 75% load factor, he says.

Customers who pay for the seats also get flexibility on ticket changes and food, pillows, blankets and priority baggage included in the fare. The seats are selling particularly well on the airline’s U.K., Australia and Taipei routes, Azran says, but less well on new routes in China and India, where passengers are less familiar with the differentiation in low-fare products. That is demonstrated by the selling patterns in those locations, he says. When load factors in economy seats reach about 80% on a given flight, the fare difference between them and lie-flat seats shrinks to about $20, which should convince travelers to upgrade to lie-flat seats. But customers there are still buying economy.

By Andrew Compart


Orly airport to launch budget flights to Asia

04 October 2010

Long-haul budget airline AirAsia X has reached a deal with French airport coordination to start operating flights from the Paris Orly airport, French media reports say.

French newspaper La Tribune reports that the budget airline is expected to start flights from Paris to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia next year. AirAsia X however denies a final agreement has been reached and says talks are still ongoing.

Orly airport director Franck Goldnadel admits he contacted AirAsia X to offer landing slots at Orly. “As an average-sized airport, Orly suits budget airlines because time spent on runways is kept to a minimum,” he said.

Approval for the carrier to land in Paris was announced by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak during a visit to Paris last year after a meeting with French President Nicholas Sarkozy.

It will be the Southeast Asia's biggest budget carrier second route in Europe after it began a London service in March last year.

An affiliate of regional low-cost carrier AirAsia and Virgin Group, AirAsia X was launched in January 2007. AirAsia and AirAsia X have common shareholders, including AirAsia founder and CEO Tony Fernandes.

The airline currently has eight aircraft and will have 11 by December. It has also placed an order for 17 Airbus A330s and 10 A340s.

by RFI

AirAsia Bhd expected 100 million passangers this week

04 October 2010

AirAsia Bhd. (AirAsia) is expected to-100 million passengers this week, after operating for more than eight years. Now low-cost airlines that actively monitors the reservations system to look for passengers to-100 million and the lucky passenger will receive a surprise gift.

Regional Head of Commercial Kathleen Tan said, the increase in the number of aircraft and the addition of new routes, it is expected to attract passengers to-200 million in a shorter period than that achieved for the passengers to-100 million.

''May be within the next three to five years its compared to other airlines that have been operating, the performance is good and it was done in a short time," she said.

Kathleen Tan said, besides offering competitive fares, destinations and services are offered either as a factor contributing passengers using the airline's services.

Even now, she said, AirAsia in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand and AirAsia X has made Kuala Lumpur as the gateway, before they fly to other destinations.

She said, AirAsia also has changed the shopping habits and style, adventure and community in this country to travel more frequently than they started traveling in a younger age.

As such, she expects more than six percent of the people of this country have been flying on AirAsia currently carry 15 million passengers a year.

"In the early days of AirAsia, estimated that only six percent of the population has been using air services. The latest, China is a new popular destination among the Malays. In the past the Malays do not go to China because the thought had difficulty getting hard to find halal food and the mosque, but now everything has changed that presumption. This is because China has the largest Muslim nation in the world, "she said

By Toreksulong

AirAsia X: Listing will raise funds to buy more planes

29 Sep 2010

KUALA LUMPUR: Long-haul budget carrier AirAsia X Sdn Bhd sees its impending listing as a good avenue to raise capital, says chief executive officer Azran Osman-Rani.

“We see the listing as a good way of raising capital to buy more planes to serve these (underserved) routes,” Azran said during the two-hour CEO roundtable conference yesterday.

He explained that there were limited direct flights from Malaysia to major cities and the larger fleet size would enable it to serve those underserved routes.

Azran Osman-Rani says AirAsia X’s listing is something it really wants to pursue. – Bernama

On top of expanding its fleet size and routes, Azran said the listing exercise would also provide AirAsia X with a good platform to expand its relationship with shareholders.

“It (the listing) is something we really want to pursue. There’s tremendous upside growth in the long-haul market and Malaysia is so deprived of direct flights to some major cities,” he said.

In June, AirAsia X announced its plan for an initial public offering (IPO) in the second half of 2011, subject to market conditions. While it is still uncertain, the IPO was likely to value AirAsia X at between US$500mil and US$600mil.

AirAsia X posted a revenue of RM720mil for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2009 (FY09) and RM231mil for FY08. Net profit for FY09 was RM87mil and the airline is targeting a net profit margin of 7% this year.

Earlier, at the interactive CEO roundtable, Dubai International Financial Centre Authority chairman David Eldon said some of the banks were repositioning themselves since the financial crisis while some regulators might raise the bar higher than the Basel 3 framework.

He said bankers were much respected in the community prior to the financial crisis and were gaining less respect these days as they contributed to the whole financial mess.

Eldon, an ex-banker, joked that these days he would tell people he was a plumber if asked.

Kanoo Group Deputy Chairman Mishal Kanoo at the CEO Rountable forum on the "Dawn of The New Decade: Alternative Investments in Asia" here today. Also present were AirAsia X Chief Executive Officer Azran Osman Rani (left) and Wipro Technologies Asia Pacific and China Chief Sales and Operations Officer, Rajat Mathur (right). - Bernama

While Azran said he did not know much about repositioning, he said AirAsia had reinvented the way people travelled, thanks to “annoying people” like himself.

He said previously travellers had decided where they would like to go but the landscape changed with AirAsia.

Azran cited an example on how travellers might be thinking of going one place but might not get the tickets or dates and ended up going to another place or picking different dates.

Despite its achievement as a young carrier, he said it was not enough and was always on the treadmill of change.

Azran said attracting talent was not just a role of the Government but also corporates and all other sectors.

The Star

Friday, July 22, 2011

AirAsia introducing in-flight calls and data access

25 Sep 2010

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia Bhd is adding in-flight calls and data access to its range of services with an initial investment of US$1.8mil to equip the systems in six aircraft this year.

AirAsia non-executive chairman Datuk Abdul Aziz Abu Bakar said the airline had equipped four of its 96 fleet of A320 with GSM onboard system and was looking to install it on two other aircraft before the year-end.

We are at a trial stage now and we plan to expand the service to more aircraft, going forward, he said after the launch of the Maxis' in-flight roaming service yesterday.

Abdul Aziz said the service was expected to boost the carrier's ancillary income, which contributed about 15% of its total sales now.

AirAsia X chief executive officer Azran Osman-Rani said in a statement that the airline was looking at introducing the service for its long-haul flights.

The in-flight roaming service is with partnership with Maxis Bhd and in-flight connectivity provider, OnAir.

It will enable Maxis customers flying with AirAsia from Kuala Lumpur Low-Cost Carrier Terminal to stay connected while en route to their overseas destinations.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported AirAsia Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes as saying in Singapore that the company planned to hold an initial share sale for its Thai affiliate by the middle of next year.

The Star

Airasia X looks to add two more Japan cities

23 Sep 2010

News photo
High aspirations: Azran Osman-Rani, chief executive officer of AirAsia X, is interviewed in Tokyo on Tuesday. KYODO PHOTO

The chief executive officer of AirAsia X, long-haul low-cost carrier based in a Malaysia, said he hopes to add two Japanese airports to its international service by 2012 after starting flights to Tokyo's Haneda airport in December.

"As far as other airports in Japan, we remain interested. I have always said Japan is a market where we can operate at three different airports, including Haneda," Azran Osman-Rani said in an interview Tuesday, adding he would consider airports in Osaka, Sapporo, Nagoya and Fukuoka.

"The cities other than Tokyo are not well known so we will not fly immediately, but once when the people of Malaysia know that we are flying to Japan, word gets around and that's when we can start direct flights there," the 38-year-old Osman-Rani said. "It will take maybe one or two years to build this awareness for these cities."

AirAsia X, an affiliate of AirAsia, one of the biggest low-cost carriers in Southeast Asia, announced Tuesday it will launch a direct service between Kuala Lumpur International Airport and Haneda on Dec. 9, with fares 40 to 50 percent lower than those currently offered by other airlines.

AirAsia X hopes that its attractive pricing and high-quality service will allow it to tap a pool of Asian tourists who have never visited Japan and increase demand for overseas flights among Japanese.

Moves are also increasing among regional airports in Japan to attract low-cost carriers since the number of existing flight services has stagnated.

Osman-Rani stressed that his priorities for future expansion are Fukuoka and Osaka.

"I like Nagoya, but in my mind I'm not sure because in Nagoya you are just over one hour from Tokyo. Maybe later when there is a lot of demand. Osaka and Fukuoka are the higher priorities," he said.

On Ibaraki airport, which AirAsia had once considered serving, Osman-Rani said: "An airport like Ibaraki probably needs to develop more of its short-haul network before it becomes viable for long-haul networks such as ours. The power of Haneda, by contrast, is very strong with a domestic network of dozens and dozens of flights to Sapporo, Osaka, Fukuoka and many other places."

AirAsia X hopes to see a load capacity of 75 percent in the first year of service between Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur, with an aim of boosting that to 80 percent by the end of the second year. It targets mostly young tourists, some businesspeople and retirees.

"I think Southeast Asia is very unique and the best part of Southeast Asia is you don't need to choose where to go. You can go to the beach islands for a few days and to the city for shopping, nightlife and also go to adventure destinations. Everywhere is a one-hour flight and very cheap, $10, $20," he said.

Kyodo News

AirAsia maintains no fuel surcharge policy

22 Sep 2010

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia Bhd is maintaining its no fuel surcharge policy despite reports that other airlines are increasing previously imposed charges.

In a statement, the airline said it was committed to keeping air travel affordable and had chosen to tackle fuel price hike with aggressive marketing and the strengthening of its ancillary business instead of relying on fuel surcharge to offset rising fuel cost.

AirAsia commercial head Kathleen Tan said: “AirAsia scrapped out fuel surcharge in November 2008, and we have no intention of resurrecting it."

She said that its strong seat sales and successful ancillary income were enough to offset the rise in fuel price, adding that it used innovation to drive its costs down and were looking at various other revenue streams rather than impose a fuel surcharge.

“Imposing fuel surcharge may be an easy way out, but it can also be an addiction in driving artificial revenue to a company,” Kathleen added.

Last year, ancillary income for the entire AirAsia Group (AirAsia Bhd, Thai AirAsia and Indonesia AirAsia) was approximately RM603.5mil, 14.6% of the group’s revenue. The group’s ancillary income was RM460.9mil as of the first half of this year.

The Star

AirAsia X optimistic over Tokyo route in December

22 Sep 2010

PETALING JAYA: Long-haul budget carrier AirAsia X will fly to Japan in December, with three non-stop flights a week from KL International Airport to Haneda in Tokyo.

Chief executive officer Azran Osman Rani said considering its status as the world’s largest metro­politan city, Tokyo was an important feeder market for the airline to move into the growing international network.

“The three weekly flights will strengthen our historic business and tourism links with Japan’s commercial centre,” he said.

Azran said he estimated that more than 60% of the passengers between Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo would be first-time visitors, adding that new market segments could be created from the tourism growth.

To mark its new destination, Air Asia X is offering promotional fares for a one-way ticket from Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo from as low as RM99. The tickets will be available from Sept 23 to Sept 26 for travel period Dec 9 to Jul 31, 2011.

The seats are offered on a first-come, first-served basis and tickets are only available online via and

Passengers will travel in a brand new A330 aircraft with standard business class “Premium Flat Bed” seats that feature universal power sockets, adjustable headrests and built-in personal utilities, such as tray table, drink holder, reading light and privacy screen.

AirASia X currently flies to destinations in Australia, India, Taiwan, China, Europe and Korea.

The Star