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Airlines / AirAsia / LCCs / Low Cost Carriers / Tony Fernandes / → All Tags
AirAsia must be feeling pretty good these days. The Malaysian low cost carrier frequently tops Asia tourism industry lists as the best of its kind. And it certainly lacks modesty, plastering the bragging rights across the sides of planes.
The airline has also grown to be Southeast Asia's largest LCC and plans to add nine new planes in 2009 to its existing fleet of 72. In fact, as tourism in the region picks up, the airline is getting downright cocky about its strength in the marketplace. Economic apocalypse? For AirAsia, life's a bear....
Air Asia offshoot Air Asia X is not the only airline worried about how heavy planes use more fuel--that's getting more expensive by the second. But they're certainly one of the few airlines who are even vaguely mentioning that heavier passengers might be cheating airlines out of money.
Reports are saying that Air Asia X is considering weighing passengers so they can calculate how much more weight the plane could carry, then filling it up with cargo that pays its way. Since Australians recently became the statistically fattest in the world, the airline has also suggested that charging larger passengers on Australasian routes could "help Aussies lose weight."
Maybe a deal between airlines and Weight Watchers will be the next step?
Chief of Air Asia, the enigmatic can-do man Tony Fernandes, promised us earlier in the year that we'd be able to take a budget flight all the way from Australia to London by Christmas this year. But the bad news is there's a delay on these flights starting up.
The good news is that they still will get off the ground, despite rising fuel costs. Brave Fernandes reckons that "one of the best times to expand is during a period of flux" and the only reason they're not flying the route already is a difficulty in getting hold of the right aircraft.
Air Asia is in the final stages of talks with London Stansted airport and Fernandes says the budget London-Australia route (via Malaysia) will be operating by June 2009 at the latest--and maybe as early as March. We're not sure about having to buy our own food all that way, but if the prices really go as low as $700 then we really won't care.
So this is a new take on dealing with soaring fuel prices: Thai LCC One-Two-Go will ground its entire fleet starting today, through September 15. At that point, the carrier says, it will resume service.
One-Two-Go is the country's second-largest low cost carrier, and rival carriers are more than happy to snap up displaced customers. Right now, domestic flights on AirAsia start at just $63 all-in, and Nok Air also has a bunch of good-looking "Smile Fares."
So far this year, two smaller Asian carriers have shut down, and Qantas and Thai Airways have announced capacity cuts.
Tourism Marketing / Travel Advertising / Advertising / Travel Snapshots / AirAsia / Tony Fernandes / → All Tags
We thought Orlando's inadvertently raunchy billboard was the greatest travel advertising of the year, but this ad from maverick LCC entrepreneur and washing machine salesman Tony Fernandes has just surged into the lead.
It should come as little surprise that this billboard is in Queensland, Australia, a country known for edgy advertising.
[Photo: Beth Whitman]
AirAsia has had a limited menu of hot meals available for purchase for a while now, but they're expanding the menu to include a bunch of local Asian delicacies: chicken rice, satay sticks and yellow glutinous rice are among the additions. If you prebook your meal online, it works out cheaper.
But boss Tony Fernandes makes no secret of the real reason for the menu additions. He's quoted as saying "It's purely another revenue-generating initiative." Full marks for honesty, Tony, but until we see you eating yellow glutinous rice yourself we're not sure we're ordering.
[Photo: Chandra Marsono]
It's no secret that the Virgin Group owns a piece of the Asian low cost carrier, but could Paris be involved too? Or maybe she's more interested in AirAsia's cousin, Virgin America? After all, that airline has invited her on its inaugural WiFi flight scheduled for later this year.
We're trying to sort it all out, but in the meantime, we need to get one of those hats. So hot!
As of this week, if you fly with AirAsia, they sincerely promise that your flight will be punctual: Yep, they've been brave (or crazy) enough to launch an On Time Guarantee.
In the unlikely event that your plane is delayed--and only 11 percent of flights were in May--you'll be compensated. To be precise, if your flight is delayed by more than three hours and it's not due to bad weather, airport closures, air traffic control, strikes or acts of God, AirAsia will give you a RM200 ($60) voucher to use towards your next flight.
The whole deal isn't quite as exciting as we'd hoped with all those exceptions to the rule, but it's better than nothing. Thanks for trying, Air Asia!
AirAsia CEO and Richard Branson buddy Tony Fernandes says the high fuel prices that are killing American carriers don't bother him. As a matter of fact, he thinks the SARS scare was way worse--at least for his business:
We are comfortable even with oil at US$200 (a barrel). There is a silver lining. We have taken a very different approach in that we will market ourselves out of this problem. We think that just putting your head in the sand and crying about oil and cutting routes is not the solution.
So what's the magic solution Fernandes has? Selling stuff. Expect to see more duty free shopping as well as more (and likely more expensive) food and beverage service. And it might not even stop there:
We will sell washing machines if we have to.
· Budget Airline AirAsia Can Stay Profitable at $200 a Barrel [AP, via IHT]
· AirAsia Boss Has Really Big Plans [Jaunted]
· AirAsia coverage [Jaunted]
· Low Cost Carriers coverage [Jaunted]
If you haven't really heard much about AirAsia yet, never fear: according to the CEO Datuk Tony Fernandes, the whole world will be flying AirAsia soon.
Fernandes really loves his airline and has huge plans for it. The first low cost carrier in Asia, coming out of Kuala Lumpur, AirAsia has been flying for over 10 years now and is ready to conquer the world. Fernandes dreams of making the AirAsia brand as big as Coca-Cola and the airline's reach as significant as European LCC Ryanair.Some of the latest plans for AirAsia's future include pioneering PDA check-in, adding 175 new aircraft to its fleet and having AirAsia advertising adorning football stadiums. And hopefully, remembering to give us good service at a good price.
· Sky's Not the Limit [eTravel]
· Air Asia is as Good as Formula One [ENP]
· AirAsia Coverage [Jaunted]
V Australia / Airlines / Richard Branson / Tony Fernandes / Kendra Wilkinson / Open Skies / AirAsia / Air Asia X / → All Tags
The start-up is a spin off of Virgin Blue, set to challenge Qantas on flights between Oz and the US before the end of 2008. Interestingly, Branson's visit is timed to coincide with the opening of London Heathrow's Terminal 5--the new home of Virgin rival British Airways.
We're guessing RB won't be taking Kendra Wilkinson along on his trip south, but he won't be hyping V Australia all alone. AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes will be in Melbourne too, talking up his new routes to Malaysia.
· Branson to Reveal V Australia Plans [Aviation Record]
· Open Skies Travel: Transpacific Routes Now (Sorta) Open [Jaunted]
· Jaunted Interviews: Surprise Call from Richard Branson [Jaunted]
· V Australia coverage [Jaunted]
AirAsia / Air Asia X / LCCs / Low Cost Carriers / Asia Travel / Charles Ogilvie / Tony Fernandes / → All Tags
A few days ago Jaunted heartthrob Charles Ogilvie called us up to tell us he was in Asia for a flight on AirAsia. Normally, we'd take that in stride, but Chuck was hopping the inaugural flight between Kuala Lumpur and Vientiane in the company of the airline's CEO, Tony Fernandes (pictured at center), and Association of Southeast Asian Nations Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan (left).
Charles was definitely a fan of the airline, which has a bunch of different carriers unified under one brand banner. (Reminds us of another group of airlines we follow, actually.) He had the chance to ride AirAsia, Indonesia AirAsia and Thai AirAsia--and his full review is just a click away.