Jump to content
MalaysianWings - Malaysia's Premier Aviation Portal
flee

MAS and AirAsia Shares Swap

Recommended Posts

I believe the main issue regarding the 2-5-2 is related to the person who has to sit in the middle of the "5". Two people on each side before seeing the aisle. Not the most comfortable situation to be in.

 

Agreed, but if its 3-3-3, the there will be 2 people (either window seat) who is faced with climbing over 2 people in order to get to the aisle, as opposed to only one person who has to get past two people in a 2-5-2 configuration.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed, but if its 3-3-3, the there will be 2 people (either window seat) who is faced with climbing over 2 people in order to get to the aisle, as opposed to only one person who has to get past two people in a 2-5-2 configuration.

 

What is the likelihood of a single traveller being assigned in the middle of 2-5-2 configuration seats? Hehe... if that so, it was really unfortunate or it just so happened those are all single travellers... :p

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 2-5-2 configuration is actually better as it avoids multiple "double-excuse-me" scenarios. With 2-5-2 it only happens once (the middle person in 5), whilst on 3-3-3 it happens twice (the window persons).

 

The 2-5-2 configuration gives an illusion of the cabin being cramped as opposed to 3-3-3. But then again, I still prefer 2-5-2 as it caters to business people, couples/lovebirds and families all at once :)

 

As an afterthought - with NZ releasing its patent for the famous "Economy Skycouch" seats on its B77W - I wonder if MH can convert the 5 seats to become "Super-Skycouches"?

 

That would be so, so awesome and a huge money maker!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What is the likelihood of a single traveller being assigned in the middle of 2-5-2 configuration seats? Hehe... if that so, it was really unfortunate or it just so happened those are all single travellers... :p

There's always the potential for that, especially when the flight is full but, when it's not, you have more of a chance of having the middle seat in the 5 empty.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe the main issue regarding the 2-5-2 is related to the person who has to sit in the middle of the "5". Two people on each side before seeing the aisle. Not the most comfortable situation to be in.

And for the airline opting for 3-3-3, it is mainly to save weight. In 3-3-3, only 3 IFE boxes are needed per row but in 2-5-2, 4 IFE boxes are needed. If i'm not mistaken, CX was the first 777 operator to convert from 2-5-2 to 3-3-3 in Y. With UA converting from 2-5-2 to 3-3-3 too, MH and AA eventually will become the two sole airlines with 2-5-2 arrangement in Y :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And for the airline opting for 3-3-3, it is mainly to save weight. In 3-3-3, only 3 IFE boxes are needed per row but in 2-5-2, 4 IFE boxes are needed. If i'm not mistaken, CX was the first 777 operator to convert from 2-5-2 to 3-3-3 in Y. With UA converting from 2-5-2 to 3-3-3 too, MH and AA eventually will become the two sole airlines with 2-5-2 arrangement in Y :(

 

Wireless IFE will solve the problem..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was seated in the middle of a 3-3-3 configuration before and personally, only windows seat for me please. But I do remember how comfy it was on board the MH T7 with its' 2-5-2 configuration.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whatever configuration it is, whatever seat pitch/width, a big big factor that determines how comfortable is your flight is the person(s) seated next to you :D

And on this point, we mortal pax have very little say as to result of the roll of the dice :D

Edited by BC Tam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whatever configuration it is, whatever seat pitch/width, a big big factor that determines how comfortable is your flight is the person(s) seated next to you :D

And on this point, we mortal pax have very little say as to result of the roll of the dice :D

 

I'm positive there are people who spot the most good looking male/female passenger in the waiting lounge and hoped that the said passenger is miraculously seated next to them, but the complete opposite happens when they settled in their seats :pardon:

 

Happens to me all the time :p

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MAS Must Boost Revenue, Cut Cost While Being Premier Airline, Says Fernandes

 

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 (Bernama) -- Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will do well by focusing on increasing revenue, reducing costs and rebuilding itself as a premier airline, says AirAsia chief Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.

 

"There has been relatively poor returns from the many businesses it ventured into previously. It tried to do too many things, (have) low cost as well as first, business and economy classes. (It is also into) maintenance, repair and overhaul and catering, which are separate businesses," he said in a interview with Bernama today.

 

Referring to the share-swap proposal between MAS and AirAsia announced some weeks back, Fernandes killed off speculation that it would lead to an eventual merger between the two carriers.

 

"I don't believe in a merger. It will be like what we did with AirAsia and AirAsia X, we separated them (and allowed them to focus on their businesses).

 

"The key is to remain focused on the respective strengths and the similar formula should apply to MAS," he said.

 

Many quarters had also voiced their concerns on the benefits of such an agreement when Khazanah Nasional Bhd, the major shareholder of MAS, announced that it would take up 10 per cent stake in AirAsia while Tune Air Sdn Bhd, the investment vehicle of Fernandes and Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, would own a 20.5 per cent stake in MAS under the share-swap deal.

 

There were also some who suggested that the arrangement would benefit AirAsia more than MAS.

 

"(Why) has there to be a winner or loser, why can't there be two winners?" Fernandes asked, adding that Malaysians generally tended to be positive about things but in this case, some commentators were making statements to suit their advantage.

 

He said the whole aim of the collaboration was to make the two Malaysian airlines stronger because of the enormous competition in the market, increase shareholders value and ensure that their employees' welfare were well taken care of through improved earnings.

 

"Some airlines have benefited from two of us fighting," he said, without naming them.

 

Sounding upbeat and optimistic about the collaboration, he said, both MAS and AirAasia could enhance their efficiency through cost savings.

 

"We have our staff at the same place. Do we need two separate offices or check-in staff?" he asked.

 

Fernandes said MAS should focus on its core strength, having won the Best Cabin Crew Award continuously for many years.

 

"That is the kind of service that money can't buy," he stressed.

 

MAS, he said, should offer the right products that would appeal to the market, in this case, premium service, while those who preferred low-cost travel could opt for AirAsia.

 

Going forward, Fernandes said he would leave it to MAS to undertake the changes and was also positive about what the new chief executive officer at MAS, Ahmad Jauhari Yusof, could do.

 

"He is a fantastic guy. Humble, smart and gets his hands dirty and he is able to make a difference. The team (at MAS) is strong. Let's wait and see," he said.

 

Fernandes said the collaboration between MAS and AirAsia was also about making Kuala Lumpur an aviation hub in South East Asia and bringing back some of the traffic from Singapore.

 

"I want people to look at the bigger picture and give us support to fight global competitors," he said.

 

"You got to be in "La La Land" if you think there is going to be less competition (from now on). For AirAsia, there is Lion Air, Cebu Pacific and Tiger Airways. There is so much of competition we got to be ready for globalisation and the open sky policies."

 

Fernandes said one should allow the collaboration between MAS and AirAsia some time to work before positive results would show in the next two quarters from the improved business focus.

 

He emphasised that AirAsia's solid financial record was a result of being focused on what it did best in the business.

 

Referring to the jersey advertisements by MAS and AirAsia with English Premier League club, Queens Park Rangers Football Club (QPR), he said, it was about building brands.

 

"If you look at many of newspapers in Britain yesterday, pictures of (QPR captain) Joey Barton and MAS were all over the place," said a beaming Fernandes in reply to a question whether it was worth for MAS to spend so much money on advertising.

 

"If you keep cutting (costs), then there won't be anything left. If you think that RM5 million to RM6 million is heavy, that is equivalent to about 20-25 advertisements (placements) in some of the newspapers here. MAS needs to build its brand and the issue here is not cost but revenue."

 

Saying that AirAsia owed its success to branding, Fernandes, who owns a 66 per cent stake in QPR along with two other Malaysians, said they wanted to give more value to companies that were sponsoring the club.

 

He said because of their involvement in the club, a lot of QPR fans in Britain were also enquiring about visiting Malaysia.

 

"I think (Tourism Minister) Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen will be very happy when she hears that," he said.

 

"We sponsored Formula 1, Manchester United, so on and so forth. You don't grow from 200,000 passengers to 33 million without that (kind of branding). The key to AirAsia's success is putting money into branding.

 

"Take Emirates Airline, for instance. They are every where in terms of sponsorship, and so is Red Bull," he added.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fernandes rules out MAS-AirAsia merger

KUALA LUMPUR: The continous growth as the premier airline and low-cost carrier, respectively, will be the key outcome of the collaboration between Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and AirAsia, said Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.

 

“There has been relatively poor returns from the many businesses it ventured into previously.

 

“Airlines try to do too many things, (have) low cost as well as first, business and economy classes. (They are also into) maintenance, repair and overhaul and catering, which are separate businesses,” said the AirAsia chief in an interview with Bernama yesterday.

 

Referring to the share-swap proposal between MAS and AirAsia announced some weeks back, Fernandes killed off speculation that it would lead to an eventual merger between the two carriers.

 

“I don't believe in a merger. It will be like what we did with AirAsia and AirAsia X, we separated them (and allowed them to focus on their businesses).

 

“The key is to remain focused on the respective strengths and the similar formula should apply to MAS,” he said.

 

Many quarters had also voiced their concerns on the benefits of such an agreement when Khazanah Nasional Bhd, the major shareholder of MAS, announced that it would take up a 10% stake in AirAsia while Tune Air Sdn Bhd, the investment vehicle of Fernandes and Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, would own a 20.5% stake in MAS under the share-swap deal.

 

There were also some who suggested that the arrangement would benefit AirAsia more than MAS.

 

“(Why) has there to be a winner or loser, why can't there be two winners?” Fernandes said. - Bernama

 

http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/9/20/business/9532894&sec=business

Edited by alberttky

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PETALING JAYA: There seems to be very little known about Malaysia Airlines' plan for existing budget carrier Firefly Sdn Bhd and its new proposed airline Sapphire.

 

A spokesman for the national carrier told StarBiz that following the initial announcement on Aug 9, it was too premature to provide further information and that more information would be available once details of the plan have been finalised.

 

When MAS and AirAsia Bhd entered into a collaboration agreement on Aug 9 after major shareholders of both airlines executed a share swap deal, it was announced that MAS would review Firefly's operations and that the national carrier's shorthaul full-service carrier business may be undertaken by itself and/or through a new MAS subsidiary known as Sapphire. MAS was also said to have the flexibility to re-designate capacity, assets and resources from Firefly to form Sapphire.

 

However, since the initial announcement, details have been scant on what will happen to Firefly's existing operations. There have been concerns that Firefly flights will be cancelled with some routes axed and air fares increased as a result of the collaboration agreement.

 

A week after the August announcement, Firefly managing director Datuk Eddy Leong is reported to have said that Firefly would be upgraded to a full-service turboprop operator while Sapphire would take over its Boeing jets.

 

Leong added that Firefly's turboprop operations would be expanded in terms of fleet size and routes, and would continue as an independent brand under MAS ownership.

 

Meanwhile, CIMB Research expects Sapphire to start operations in November and the airline will be positioned as a full-service carrier serving regional routes (Asean, South China and south/east coast of India), in the same way SilkAir is positioned within the Singapore Airlines group.

 

“We believe that Sapphire will adopt the same seat configuration as the refreshed MAS B737-800 product, which is a significant improvement from the existing aged B737-400 fleet.

 

“Aside from this, all of Firefly's leased B737-800s could be re-configured from low-cost carrier planes into full-service carrier aircraft and then transferred to Sapphire,” the research report said.

 

It added that from a tax perspective, it would seem logical to keep all operations under mainline MAS because of its tax-exempt status until 2015 as well as its huge unutilised capital allowances and tax losses carried forward. But there are other considerations such as the need to clearly separate Sapphire from MAS as Qantas Airways did with Jetstar.

 

“Sapphire is likely to sign contracts of service with pilots and crew on different terms than that of MAS. Also, Sapphire staff are not likely to be unionised. This will give Sapphire a lower unit-cost base and help it achieve greater profits. Second, we suspect that a stake in Sapphire could eventually be sold to Qantas,” CIMB Research said.

 

Despite the fact that Qantas has said that its Asia-based super premium full-service carrier will be based in either Singapore or Malaysia (with a higher leaning towards Singapore), CIMB Research believes that Qantas will want to have a presence in Kuala Lumpur and may do so through an investment in Sapphire.

 

“As such, Sapphire needs to be separated from mainline MAS to facilitate an investment by Qantas, which would not be interested to invest in other parts of MAS's business, including its domestic and international aviation businesses, even if the Malaysian Government permitted this.

 

“An investment in Sapphire would fit Qantas very well because the KL aviation market is unlikely to be able to accommodate a super-premium offering by Qantas' new airline,” it added.

 

http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/9/21/business/9528513&sec=business

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Sapphire to be launched Q1/2012. Handling domestic and regional routes, full fare. 737s currently operated (and incoming orders) by FY will be converted to Sapphire. Own by Firefly, the company may not be accepting seconded staff from MAS. MAS employee may have to resign and join Sapphire instead, hence the recent commotion."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AirAsia to tap into MAS MRO services

 

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26 — AirAsia intends to utilise Malaysia Airlines’ (MAS) maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services in a bid to make Malaysia the region’s premier aircraft servicing hub.

 

AirAsia chief executive Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said the no-frills airline, Asia’s largest budget carrier, could now tap into MAS’s formidable MRO facilities following the share swap, which saw AirAsia take a stake in the ailing state carrier.

 

“MAS has fantastic facilities which AirAsia has not used, primarily because why would we give profit to someone who’s trying to kill us?” he told reporters after speaking at the Khazanah Megatrends Forum 2011 here today.

 

“So now we can collaborate and I think again, if you put the volume of MAS and AirAsia together, it becomes a mega-MRO that, in partnership with someone else, could become a real competitor to Singapore’s MRO.”

 

Fernandes said AirAsia was also looking at other areas of co-operation with the state carrier such as in cargo, catering and flight training to help cut costs and maximise revenue for both airlines.

 

He promised more details on cost and revenue joint ventures with MAS would be announced in the near future, subject to anti-competition laws.

 

In an attempt to bolster MAS’s fortunes, state asset manager Khazanah Nasional Berhad swapped 20.5 per cent of the flag carrier’s stock for a 10 per cent stake in AirAsia on August 9.

 

The swap enabled AirAsia bosses Fernandes and his partner Datuk Seri Kamaruddin Meranun to sit on the MAS board and to ostensibly help turn it around.

 

Khazanah has denied that AirAsia was bailing out MAS.

 

Shareholders of AirAsia will get one free MAS warrant for every 10 shares in the low-cost carrier while MAS shareholders will get one free AirAsia warrant for every 30 MAS shares.

 

MAS announced in August a net loss of RM527 million for the second quarter of 2011 due to higher fuel costs despite recording a better yield and a nine per cent growth in passenger revenue from the same period last year.

 

This brings total losses in the first half of the year to RM769 million even as the airline said the profit outlook for the second half of the year appears bleak.

 

Its main regional competitor Singapore Airlines, while was also hit by higher fuel costs, fared better with a S$44.7 million (RM108 million) net profit for the same period.

 

Source

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Malaysian Airline System Bhd and AirAsia Bhd, which forged ties via a share-swap in August, are discussing steps to lower costs and boost revenue, and will announce details of their collaboration next month.

 

“Within the next month or so you will start seeing” the plan unfold, Tony Fernandes, chief executive officer of AirAsia, told reporters in Kuala Lumpur today. “A lot of it is subject to legal requirements in terms of anti-competitiveness and that has to be cleared by lawyers.”

 

Malaysia’s government-controlled investment fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd last month exchanged 20.5 per cent of Malaysian Air stake with Tune Air Sdn Bhd, owned by Fernandes and partners, for 10 per cent of AirAsia shares.

 

Fernandes and deputy Kamarudin Meranun have joined the board of Malaysian Air to help turn around the money-losing national flag carrier. -- Bloomberg

 

 

Read more: MAS-AirAsia plan to unfold next month http://www.btimes.com.my/Current_News/BTIMES/articles/20110926154659/Article/index_html#ixzz1Z3UcvkCO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia Bhd and Malaysia Airlines (MAS) are discussing various issues for collaboration that could see the former utilising MAS maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services to make Malaysia the region's premier aircraft servicing hub.

 

AirAsia group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said if that happened, a mega MRO between MAS and AirAsia could challenge Singapore's MRO.

 

“If you put the volume of MAS and AirAsia, it becomes a mega MRO that can become a real competitor to Singapore's MRO,” he told reporters on the sidelines of Khazanah Megatrends Forum 2011.

 

Apart from MRO collaboration, both parties could also become big players in the area of training using the training capacity of both airlines.

 

“Malaysia can become Asia's biggest trainer of pilots by harnessing the strengths of both airlines which have excellent records of pilot and engineering quality,” he said.

 

He added that AirAsia was also looking at other areas of collaboration with MAS, such as in cargo and catering to help cut costs and maximise revenue for both airlines.

 

“AirAsia does not use LSG (Germany-based LSG Sky Chef is an in-flight service provider) for catering but together, we may get a much better deal from LSG and better quality. So, these are the revenue, cost and new business opportunity ideas,” he said.

 

Fernandes said more details on cost and revenue joint ventures with MAS would be announced soon.

 

Reiterating the need for branding. he said both parties needed to ensure MAS and AirAsia were globally recognised.

 

He was very optimistic about the collaboration (between the airlines) becoming successful despite receiving some sceptical comments from certain parties.

 

The collaboration came about after Khazanah Nasional Bhd, the major shareholder of MAS, announced that it would take up 10% stake in AirAsia while Tune Air Sdn Bhd, the investment vehicle of Fernandes and Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, would own a 20.5% stake in MAS under a share-swap deal.

 

Both Khazanah and Tune Air have agreed not to sell their shares for a period of 30 months under the share-swap deal.

 

On top of the share swap, a collaboration agreement was signed simultaneously by MAS, AirAsia and AirAsia X, which would effectively see MAS concentrate on being a full-service premium carrier, AirAsia on being a regional low-cost carrier (LCC) and AirAsia X, a medium-to-long haul LCC.

 

http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/9/27/business/9577777&sec=business

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“AirAsia does not use LSG (Germany-based LSG Sky Chef is an in-flight service provider) for catering but together, we may get a much better deal from LSG and better quality. So, these are the revenue, cost and new business opportunity ideas,” he said.

 

LSG Skychef is unlikely to match what AK is paying currently.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dr M says fed up with MAS, backs AirAsia swap deal

By Debra Chong

September 27, 2011

 

 

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 27 – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad threw his weight today behind the controversial share swap deal between the national carrier and AirAsia despite strong opposition from the right-wing Malay ground and Malaysia Airlines (MAS) staff against Tan Sri Tony Fernandes’ involvement.

 

Critics have accused the budget carrier’s ambitious boss of taking advantage of the loss-making national airline to fuel Fernandes’ personal ambitions, the latest being the acquisition of English Premier League club, Queens Park Rangers.

 

The national carrier will sponsor QPR’s home jersey for the next two seasons, while AirAsia’s logo will be emblazoned on the team’s away and third kits.

 

The still-influential former prime minister said today he was “fed up”with MAS’ management over the years.

 

“Government had supported MAS with funds and protection but MAS had never done well,” thecountry’s longest-serving prime minister of 22 years wrote in his blog today,comparing the two airlines.

 

In contrast, he observed that AirAsia being a “newcomer” into the aviation industry had defied the odds and grown from a two-plane operation covering four routes into Asia’s biggest budget carrier.

 

“All I wanted to see is Air Asia’s management playing a role, indirectly or directly in the management of MAS,” said Dr Mahathir (picture).

 

The 86-year-old appears to be pushing AirAsia to the forefront in recent months,including suggesting, during this year’s Langkawi International Dialogue at Putrajaya last June, the budget carrier open up new routes from Malaysia to several African countries.

 

MAS and AirAsia inked the deal on August 9, which allows the loss-making national carrier to swap a 20 per cent stake for 10 per cent in Asia’s top money-making budget carrier.

 

The swap enabled AirAsia bosses Fernandes and his partner Datuk Seri Kamaruddin Meranun to sit on the MAS board and ostensibly help turn it around.

 

MAS had announced in August a net loss of RM527 million for the second quarter of 2011 due to higher fuel costs despite recording a better yield and a nine per cent growth in passenger revenue from the same period last year.

 

This brings total losses in the first half of the year to RM769 million even as the airline said that profit outlook for the second half of the year appears bleak.

 

MAS had been doing well until the Asian financial crisis hit in 1998, which later led to its assets being sold off to resolve its balance sheets.

 

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/dr-m-says-fed-up-with-mas-backs-airasia-swap-deal/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“Government had supported MAS with funds and protection but MAS had never done well,” thecountry’s longest-serving prime minister of 22 years wrote in his blog today,comparing the two airlines.

 

When the company is loaded with cronies who put their own interests ahead of the company, you can have a bottomless pit of funds and it'll never do well, Tun.

 

Now who was responsible for placing those bloodsuckers in?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

TF did a walk around at FY:

 

Just visited firefly in subang. The staff were warm and enthusiastic. Eddie leong has done a good job. Some ex airasia staff there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that KUL-BKI-KUL and KUL-KCH-KUL seats are back to open for sale till 31st Dec, 2011; but limited to the original 3 round trips and 4 round trips respectively...wandering it is a bug or the direction changed again...but no matter what, looks the Sapphire is set to go by early Jan, 2012 using surplus fleets from FY...with TF visits to FY today, believe details will be really out soon...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Firefly’s Kuching-Kuala Lumpur route scrapped, with more likely to follow

 

 

Tuesday September 27, 2011

Firefly’s Kuching-Kuala Lumpur route scrapped, with more likely to follow

By YU JI

yuji@thestar.com.my

 

KUCHING: Firefly, the two-year-old affordable wing of Malaysia Airlines (MAS), has cancelled its second route between Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, with more cancellations likely.

 

The airline has ceased to sell Kuching-Kuala Lumpur tickets for flights after Oct 31 on its website, and tour agents are aware of the cancellation.

 

Firefly’s Kuching ticketing office yesterday told The Star, ticket holders for flights beginning Nov 1 “will most likely be put onboard MAS”.

 

“That is most probably what will happen.

 

“That is what we are telling ticket holders for now. We are not sure of anything at this point.

 

“A new (flight) schedule has not been released,” said the ticketing office personnel, who declined to be named as he was not authoritised to speak on the matter.

 

The Kuching-Kuala Lumpur cancellation comes after Kuching-Johor was cancelled on Sept 15.

 

Firefly was flying three routes between Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia (and with high frequency) around mid year.

 

The only Firefly route left for Sarawak is between Sibu-Kuala Lumpur.

 

Firefly’s website is still selling tickets for those flights.

 

However, a well-placed source within MAS’ Sarawak management told The Star yesterday that Firefly’s online ticket sales “should not be considered as an indicator of flight availability”.

 

“My staff and I have been told to wait for an internal announcement (that will come) by the end of this week,” the senior staff said. “We think it will be regarding the route rationalisation. Stage by stage the Firefly flights are taken off one sector at a time.”

 

The Malaysian aviation industry is undergoing its most extensive flight rationalisation exercise in recent weeks. This follows the surprise announcement of a MAS-AirAsia shareswap deal in August.

 

Since then, it has been an open secret that Firefly’s jet aircraft routes would be scrapped. Media reports have said it was not a matter of “if” but “when”.

 

Sarawak Tourism Federation president Audry Wan Ullok, when asked about this yesterday, said talk was that Firefly would cease all jet aircraft routes by November.

 

She said the deal to end such a large portion of Firefly’s operations – this is according to her sources in the state Tourism and Heritage Ministry – was brokered and finalised over the recent Hari Raya.

 

Audry’s predecessor Datuk Wee Hong Seng, who still heads the Malaysia Tourism Council at a sub- Asean association, said the same. State authorities The Star tried to contact yesterday, including the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) and the ministry, refused to comment on the matter.

 

Nonetheless, since a month ago, STB chief executive Datuk Rashid Khan – who was MAS commercial director during Datuk Seri Idris Jala’s tenure and still has close ties with the national air carrier – has publicly said that under the shareswap deal “eventually something will have to give in”.

 

Separately, the Tourism and Heritage Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg is said to have told private sector members that the shareswap, “would see the death of Firefly”.

 

Efforts to get Firefly to reply to media enquiries have been difficult. In September, its public relations officer wrote to The Star saying announcements on flight rationalisation could only be issued by parent company MAS.

 

Firefly’s flights to Sarawak have been the first to be axed. When the Kuching-Johor route was ended, ticket holders were offered either a full refund or Kuching-Kuala Lumpur-Johor flights.

 

The affordable airline has never issued any media statements on such developments. In fact, the recent cancellations are not even clearly stated on its official website, aside from the inability to purchase tickets on affected flights.

 

The closest thing to official statements on the cancellations have been from Firefly’s Facebook page.

 

Responding to a Kuching-Kuala Lumpur ticket holder’s complaint on Facebook, Firefly replied: “We regret to inform you that Kul-Kch-Kul are not available for sale after October at present. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

 

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/9/27/sarawak/9578468&sec=sarawak

 

Firefly pullout will dampen state target of four million tourist arrivals

 

KUCHING: Firefly’s impending pullout from Sarawak before the yearend may mean that the targeted four million foreign tourist arrivals, a figure set by state authorities earlier this year, is unlikely to be achieved.

 

This is according to Sarawak Tourism Federation, an umbrella association for the private sector, which said the pullout would be a huge setback for the industry, coming just months after Royal Brunei Airlines closed its Kuching-Brunei route.

 

Federation president Audry Wan Ullok said Firefly’s high flight frequency – up to seven times daily between Kuching and Kuala Lumpur – plus the high load factor of about 70% would be a big gap to fill.

 

“My feeling is we will really start to feel the impact (of Firefly’s possible pullout) during the year-end school holiday,” Audry told The Star here yesterday.

 

“Domestic tourists make up a very big part of our industry. Because of that, cheap airfares have always been an important ingredient of Sarawak’s tourism.

 

“As for non-Malaysian tourists, they have to transit because of lack of direct flights. Travel expenses to Sarawak are a big part of tourist budgets. Often times, travelling costs more than accommodation.”

 

Last year, about 3.2 million tourists came to Sarawak, out of which 1.4 million were domestic travellers.

 

Peninsular Malaysians made up about 747,000, and Sabahans about 625,000.

 

Non-Malaysian arrivals were just over 1.9 million, with Bruneians making up about 1.19 million.

 

For 2011, arrivals in Sarawak was increasing. Year-to-date arrivals growth had been around 20%, with the rate of non-Malaysian arrivals increasing faster than domestic travellers.

 

Based on the growth rate in the first half the year, the Tourism and Heritage Ministry had aimed for arrivals to top out at 4 million.

 

“We were on track to hit the new record for Sarawak,” Audry said yesterday.

 

“Now I don’t think so any more. It could even be likely that figures (for the late part of the year) could decline.”

 

The industry now is banking on low-cost operator AirAsia to pick up Firefly’s cancelled flights.

 

Rahim Bugo, the operator of Permai Rainforest Resort, about 30km from here, said the eco-tourism sector would be hardest hit.

 

“Sarawak doesn’t attract much ‘luxury’ tourists. We get nature and adventure tourists, who are less able to afford higher prices. Price is an issue for them,” Rahim said.

 

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/9/27/sarawak/9579227&sec=sarawak

 

MAS new short-haul premium carrier will take off by January

 

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines' (MAS) new short-haul premium carrier will take off by January. However, it is not likely to be named Sapphire, as indicated earlier. Instead, said a source, the Firefly brand might be retained or there would be a new brand incorporating the MAS name.

 

The short-haul premium airline would also compete with AirAsia because there will be route overlaps in the market segment.

 

It is learnt that there would be no duplication of routes between MAS' long-haul premium operations and those of the short-haul premium airline. “Sapphire is definitely out, but it's not certain if the Firefly name would be used. The entire product offering has to be changed because it would be a full-service airline that offers business class seating. It would also be a feeder service for MAS' long-haul operations. It has to have the right branding and product offering to attract both the business and leisure travellers,” said the source.

 

“Eventually, we are talking about a product that offers value for money. Naturally, the business model has to change,” he added.

 

It is learnt that the MAS board approved both the long-haul premium and short-haul premium structures yesterday, paving the way for planning and implementation.

 

Firefly is a community airline that operates from Subang, using turboprops. It also flies jets from the KL International Airport (KLIA) but this will cease by end-October.

 

MAS' transformation stems from the share swap between MAS and AirAsia's founding members, who now own 20% of MAS. As part of the change, the interior of the aircraft for the short-haul services will be changed to include business-class seats for both the turboprop and jet operations.

 

The turboprops will continue to fly from Subang, while the jet operations from KLIA will serve short-haul routes within a three to four-hour flying radius. Since the new airline would be premium short-haul carrier, the Firefly operating model will change and so will the service quality and branding. The cost of the change, according to the source, would be minimal because the “structure is already there”.

 

Still, there be may room for airfares to go up because the new short-haul airline will be a premium product. Another source said “we would like to think it is value for money”.

 

It is also learnt that the MAS board had approved a new organisational structure, which was proposed by new managing director Ahmad Jauhari Yahya. The source said the number of heads now reporting to Ahmad Jauhari would be reduced from 14 to eight, and with that, “we are seeing a leaner structure for better coordination”.

 

The board is also said to have reaffirmed MAS' entry into the oneworld alliance as it saw “more upside” to such a move than otherwise.

 

http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/9/28/business/9588251&sec=business

Edited by alberttky

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With 70% load factor on 7 flights per day basis, wow... how to transfer all the passengers to MH? Especially during the peak season like Christmas and New Year... and Chinese New Year!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...