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Airasia Forced Out Of Sibu-KK Route: CEO

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Kuching - AirAsia will terminate its direct flight from Sibu to Kota Kinabalu because it has been forced to do so, its chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said yesterday.

 

In fact, he did not deny that his airline will cease operating the route this year, when The Borneo Post contacted him yesterday.

 

When asked why, he replied: "Because MAS (Malaysia Airlines) protested. Only MASwings can do it."

 

The Borneo Post's sister newspaper See Hua Daily News Sabah reported yesterday that AirAsia was stopping the Sibu-KK direct flight operations because it had received a directive from the government last week.

 

The report quoted a spokesperson from AirAsia's head office in Kuala Lumpur as saying that the said route was listed as a rural route and only one airline can provide the services.

 

The spokesperson said under such circumstances, the airline had no alternative but to follow the directive and stop flying the route from Oct 25.

 

"However, AirAsia is working hard to retain the route. As for those clients who have made their bookings to fly from Oct 25, we will be refunding the money accordingly," the spokesperson said.

 

AirAsia flies from Sibu to Kota Kinabalu daily, using the Airbus A380 which has a capacity of 180 passengers.

 

According to a source here, since AirAsia started operating the Sibu-KK route in April this year, the demand had been very good with good passenger load for each flight.

 

AirAsia media relations executive Nazatul Mokhtar told The Borneo Post yesterday that the airline would be issuing a press statement soon to explain what was happening.

 

Meanwhile, people in Sibu and Kota Kinabalu were taken aback by AirAsia's decision to cancel the Sibu-Kota Kinabalu sector.

 

They demanded to know the real issues behind the decision as they could see no reason for the cancellation since the daily flight between the two destinations was almost always full.

 

Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Robert Lau when contacted by telephone yesterday said he had not gone into details of the cancellation.

 

"I'll have to find out first before I can comment," he said from Kuala Lumpur.

 

Prominent local travel agent Robert Tan agreed that there could be certain "unknown reasons" that prompted the airline to make the rather abrupt decision.

 

But as it now stands, AirAsia has been stopped from flying to Seoul and Sydney purportedly for failing to pay landing fees to Malaysia Airports Berhad (MAB).

 

If that is the reason that AirAsia is stopped from flying the Sibu-KK sector, all right-minded people will surely like to know why the airline is allowed to fly to other destinations in the country.

 

There are more questions than answers to the cancellation, and most people think there must be other issues that caused it.

 

Tan, who is the managing director of Equatorial Tours and Travel Sdn Bhd, said if AirAsia was indeed running into heavy arrears of landing fees, then the airline should be assisted like by giving it a grace period to pay up, or the convenience of payment by instalments.

 

He said such arrangements were nothing unusual as banks everywhere were giving private companies this sort of financial convenience.

 

He also urged the state government to come to the airline's rescue, saying the cancellation of the Sibu-Kota Kinabalu sector was unfair particularly to Sibu, especially at this time when Sibu people were ‘celebrating' the ‘Visit Sibu Year'.

 

"Kota Kinabalu is the second biggest hub or transit point after Kuala Lumpur for flying from Malaysia to the outside world like Seoul, Manila, Jakarta, HongKong and Macau," he noted, adding Kota Kinabalu was also the most important and cheapest stopover.

 

Tan felt that the decision to give up the Sibu-Kota Kinabalu route had come abruptly.

 

"I would say AirAsia should give the people a six-month notice," he added.

 

To the travel agents, the cancellation of the Sibu-Kota Kinabalu sector is a piece of good news.

 

Explained Tan: "It is on-line booking for AirAsia flights. We get nothing. But passengers of MASwings come to us for the tickets. To us, ticketing agents, it's like seeing light at the end of the tunnel now."

 

He said regular Sibu-Kota Kinabalu passengers could find solace in MASwings which flies four daily flights between Sibu and Kota Kinabalu.

 

A bit costlier, but the capacity was there - two Fokker flights and two AT7 flights, he said.

 

MASwings fare for the Sibu-Kota Kinabalu flight can go as low as RM247 and as high as RM285.

 

However, Tan said the fare might be lower if the tickets were booked earlier.

 

AirAsia station manager Jackson Lau said the lowest AirAsia ticket could fetch was about RM100 and the highest, RM170.

 

Asked about the refund to customers who have bought the tickets for flying after Oct 25, Lau said it would take about two to three weeks to get the refund done.

 

He said the passenger loads for the Sibu-Kota Kinabalu sector had been good, and it was up to the management to decide whether or not - and when - to resume the cancelled sector.

 

A random survey of passengers' views showed that the cancellation of the Sibu-Kota Kinabalu sector was generally felt as unfair to the people here.

 

Yap Hoi Liong, for one, said the government should immediately react to it to ensure Sibu folk could still fly between Sibu and Sabah at affordable fares.

 

He noted that the flights had always been full which showed that the demand was there. Yap, a special assistant to Bukit Assek assemblyman Wong Ho Leng, urged the government to put the interest of the people foremost when looking at the issue.

 

-- Courtesy of The Borneo Post Online

 

http://www.brudirect.com/index.php/The-Borneo-Post-Online/airasia-forced-out-of-sibu-kk-route-ceo.html

 

 

 

 

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AirAsia flies from Sibu to Kota Kinabalu daily, using the Airbus A380 which has a capacity of 180 passengers.

 

AK has got A380 which seats 180 pax.

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First and foremost it is wrong to list Sibu-KK route as rural.It is intertown such as Sibu-Kuching and Miri-KK.

 

And few mistakes were found in the newspaper excerpt. "AirAsia flies from Sibu to Kota Kinabalu daily, using the Airbus A380 which has a capacity of 180 passengers." AirAsia doesnt have A380 in their fleet and A380 does not fly 180 passengers.

 

"A bit costlier, but the capacity was there - two Fokker flights and two AT7 flights, he said."

AT7? ever heard of AT7 aircraft? Hurmm..Typical reporter just simply write.

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First and foremost it is wrong to list Sibu-KK route as rural.It is intertown such as Sibu-Kuching and Miri-KK.

 

And few mistakes were found in the newspaper excerpt. "AirAsia flies from Sibu to Kota Kinabalu daily, using the Airbus A380 which has a capacity of 180 passengers." AirAsia doesnt have A380 in their fleet and A380 does not fly 180 passengers.

 

"A bit costlier, but the capacity was there - two Fokker flights and two AT7 flights, he said."

AT7? ever heard of AT7 aircraft? Hurmm..Typical reporter just simply write.

It just shows the standard of journalism in this country. A quick call to AK and MH would confirm the facts. Otherwise Googling or visiting the respective airline websites would have checked out the aircraft facts, even if the reporter is not an aviation correspondent!

 

The BN govt. know nothing about aviation and was quick to come to the rescue of its favourite son, MH. Instead of re-classifying the route as one of strategic tourism value, they chose to strangle the competition!

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First and foremost it is wrong to list Sibu-KK route as rural.It is intertown such as Sibu-Kuching and Miri-KK.

 

And few mistakes were found in the newspaper excerpt. "AirAsia flies from Sibu to Kota Kinabalu daily, using the Airbus A380 which has a capacity of 180 passengers." AirAsia doesnt have A380 in their fleet and A380 does not fly 180 passengers.

 

"A bit costlier, but the capacity was there - two Fokker flights and two AT7 flights, he said."

AT7? ever heard of AT7 aircraft? Hurmm..Typical reporter just simply write.

AT7 is ATR 70 lo

in mas schedule all listed ATR as AT7

AK one flight can take over all capacities tat maswings offer :rofl:

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AT7 is ATR 70 lo

Never came across ATR 70 either - ATR72 or its smaller sister the ATR42 got lah :p

Kidding lah, we know what you mean :db:

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someone might confuse with Fokker/Pokker 75 , ATR 50

 

If you ask public bout Airbus..of cause they said 380..its a star!

same with Boeing/Boieng = 747 only

 

but I doubt they wont sure bout Airbus 321..they think its a fake aircraft..why not Airbus 123 :D

 

if not sure..just google it :)

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Yup,AK were forced out from SBW-BKI-SBW route;The reason given by TF that MH protested it (and only MASwings can do it).

 

AK served only one flight using A320; while MASwings operates 4 flights (2 F50 & 2 ATR 72-500).

 

I don't know how to say it,but the termination of this service by AK could be a big blow especially for Sibu students studying in UMS.

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Yes good for AirAsia , because these bunch of moron's made a big noise back then about wanting to do the Rural Air Services , anyone remember what happened to that?

 

You're right,now i remember..The RAS was in total mess,until MASwings retook the RAS back from them.

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You're right,now i remember..The RAS was in total mess,until MASwings retook the RAS back from them.

 

The FauxAir fiasco will not be forgotten easily.

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When asked why, he replied: "Because MAS (Malaysia Airlines) protested. Only MASwings can do it."

 

I rather doubt it. I think just AK can't sustain this route with A320 while MASwings with ATR72 is better equipped for the job. Just like flying out of Ipoh domestically.

 

Somehow its has become nation favourites, blame your rival first rather than admit the real thing.

Edited by Jessnor Arif
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Some work for the journalist to write about!!! Memang tin kosong!!

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I rather doubt it. I think just AK can't sustain this route with A320 while MASwings with ATR72 is better equipped for the job. Just like flying out of Ipoh domestically.

 

Somehow its has become nation favourites, blame your rival first rather than admit the real thing.

 

So in your opinion they lied About the statement which involves a goverment link company? Get real my friend, this is malaysia!The govement can close you donwn for that . yup just like that, If you lie about them.

 

Remmeber ISA detention without trial?

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One is GLC while the other one is GPLC (government-people linked company)

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I rather doubt it. I think just AK can't sustain this route with A320 while MASwings with ATR72 is better equipped for the job. Just like flying out of Ipoh domestically.

 

Somehow its has become nation favourites, blame your rival first rather than admit the real thing.

 

Or rather, If you are going down, why not take your neighbor with you. A little bit also enuff. Get some mileage from your own failure.

 

Its just that AK has been operating this sector despite objections and when they are existing, they say the reason is this and that.

Edited by Tim Lee
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So in your opinion they lied About the statement which involves a goverment link company? Get real my friend, this is malaysia!The govement can close you donwn for that . yup just like that, If you lie about them.

 

Remmeber ISA detention without trial?

 

Uncle Tony didn't lie about his statement. Im sure MAS did protest. Why wouldn't they? MASwing is entitled to fly the route as part of the rural air service. They are just protecting their turf. It's the natural thing to do. Just like when AK wanted to fly KUL-SIN route earlier than the agreed time, MAS also protested (and they lost). You can't expect them to welcome AK with open arms in the spirit of hastening air liberalization. It's business and they are rival.

 

Im sure Sibu-KK is one of the few better rural routes. Rural air service as whole is rugi business. When AK realized this, they immediately dumped it back to MAS at the first opportunity. Now they want a slice of Sibu-KK, a better-off route, of course, MAS will balk even more.

 

But Uncle Tony put it in such a way as if AK were a victim using strong words like "being forced out".. He didn't say AK was not allowed to fly the route simply because it's part of the rural air service run by MASwing. Uncle Tony just presented part of the truth.. An incomplete truth is a twisted truth. Uncle Tony can be a good politician.

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That Borneo Post's report is full of errors and I am not sure what the real facts are. Lets wait and see. However, I believe that no one is completely right on this issue.

Edited by flee

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AirAsia wants to get back Sibu-KK route

By Nancy Lai

 

KOTA KINABALU: The exclusive rights of MASwings to service rural air routes in the country has been given as the reason behind the termination of AirAsia’s flights between Sibu and Kota Kinabalu.

 

AirAsia chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said MASwings had protested to the government about AirAsia servicing the route.

 

MASwings has exclusive rights to the route and the government has no choice but to instruct AirAsia to stop servicing it, he said.

 

“We (AirAsia) are appealing the decision because we think it is important for our network. Many people from Sibu want to travel to Kota Kinabalu and connect to other destinations and vice versa.

 

“So that is the reason. We would like to continue covering the route because it is good for tourism and for the economy. We were caught by surprise by the MASWing’ protest and to learn that the airline has exclusive rights to the rural air service routes.

 

Tony, when explaining about the termination of the Sibu-Kota Kinabalu flights to reporters here yesterday, said AirAsia would ask the government to open up rural routes to commercial airlines.

 

He explained that to allow a commercial airline to service rural routes would mean that the government would spend less money on subsidy to MASWings.

 

“Then everyone can save more money,” he said.

 

 

On MASwings’ protest, Tony believed that it was because the airline had been losing money servicing the route.

 

“If you are losing money on the route and AirAsia comes in, you lose more money and the government pays for it, so there is logic to it. The question is, if a commercial airline can make money on it, does the government need to subsidise the route?

 

“MASwings should be really concentrating on routes for public service that you cannot make money on,” he said.

 

Tony added that AirAsia will be refunding those who had purchased tickets for the Sibu-Kota Kinabalu sector either in cash or credit for another AirAsia flight because it was the airline’s responsibility and not the customers’ fault.

 

 

Early this week, it was reported that AirAsia would cease its KK-Sibu direct flights as it had received a directive from the government last week.

 

The report quoted a spokesperson for AirAsia’s head office in Kuala Lumpur as saying that the airline had no alternative but to follow the directive and stop flying the route from Oct 25.

 

AirAsia started its daily Sibu to Kota Kinabalu flights in April this year, and operates with its Airbus A380 which has a capacity of 180 passengers.

 

 

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the Transport Ministry is looking into AirAsia’s appeal and would come up with a solution soon.

 

A source said the ministry was also studying the initial agreement which gave AirAsia the rights to service the Sibu-Kota Kinabalu route.

 

The same source said that the government would have to look into the definition of ‘rural air routes’.

 

“Does the term ‘rural routes’ apply to Sibu-Miri, Sibu-Kuching or Sibu-KK sectors? The general perception is that routes linking smaller towns are considered ‘rural’.

 

“The government has to redefine the meaning of rural routes,” the source said.

 

http://www.theborneopost.com/?p=56109

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If Sibu-KK is deemed a rural route, Airasia should not protest and give dubious reasons like "good for the economy and good for tourism".

If the people want to travel to KK, they can use Maswings. What is the problem for them?

We must follow rules and regulations. If we start breaking them without valid reasons, there will be no end to breaking the rules and then only the well connected will benefit.

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If Sibu-KK is deemed a rural route, Airasia should not protest and give dubious reasons like "good for the economy and good for tourism".

If the people want to travel to KK, they can use Maswings. What is the problem for them?

We must follow rules and regulations. If we start breaking them without valid reasons, there will be no end to breaking the rules and then only the well connected will benefit.

The irony is that the people of Sibu and Kota Kinabalu likes the AirAsia service and their flights are packed. Rules are good for orderly conduct. However, if the rules outlive their usefulness, a review should be done. From the report, I believe that the MoT is now reviewing this situation.

 

Unfortunately the Borneo Post still does not realise the difference between an Airbus A320 and A380!

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