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