AirAsia starts maiden Dhaka-KL flight

Travel News March 12th, 2009

air-asia-comмебели варнаonline casinoDHAKA, March 12 — Low-cost AirAsia is set to launch its inaugural Dhaka-Kuala Lumpur flight today, making history by being the first low-cost air carrier on the route.

“We’ll continue our efforts to woo passengers with cheaper fares and other attractive facilities than any other airlines on the route,” Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia Bangladesh Noman Chowdhury told Xinhua news agency today.

The budget carrier from Feb 9 to Feb 15 offers fares as low as 2,000 taka (about RM107)) for Dhaka-Kuala Lumpur one way excluding tax and fuel charge to attract passengers, Chowdhury said.

About normal fare rate of the airline, he said the standard fare with return ticket has been set at 20,000 taka (about US$285) which is nearly 40 per cent lower than other airlines operating on the route.

Chowdhury said the airlines will carry passengers every day by its airbus A320 aircraft, which has 180 seats, offering no food on board and charging fees for carrying baggage.

“Despite offering low cost fares, we are not a threat for existing market players as our target is basically tourists of Malaysia and Bangladesh, not labour traffic which accounts for 90 per cent of passengers of the Dhaka-Kuala Lumpur routes,” he said.

However, other airlines said the operation of AirAsia pose a threat to other airlines on the same route.

“Obviously, it’s a threat for us. When we’re worried about falling air traffic, such an offer by AirAsia poses threat to our business,” a senior official of state-owned Biman Bangladesh Airlines said.

Local aviation industry sources said Biman and Malaysian Airlines control a combined share of 70 per cent of the market while other airlines occupied the rest.

They said an estimated 10,000 passengers were used to travel on the Dhaka-Kuala Lumpur route a week but that number dropped by nearly 50 per cent since July last year as Malaysia downsized recruiting workers from Bangladesh. — Bernama

Fantastic bargains from MAS at Matta Fair

Travel News March 12th, 2009

PETALING JAYA: It’s time to grab some bargains from Malaysia Airlines at the three-day Malaysian Assoc­iation of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) Fair at the Putra World Trade Centre starting tomorrow.

MAS has promised visitors that they would be spoilt for choices with various domestic and international destinations on offer.

Its commercial director Datuk Rashid Khan said it would be the best time to travel as prices for fares and packages are value for money.

“Great deals are available under MASholidays with prices starting from RM787. At the same time, we are offering attractive all-inclusive airfare prices starting from RM120 to Asean destinations,” he said.

The fair’s organising chairman Datuk Mohd Khalid Harun said more than 50 travel agents would be offering fantastic MAS travel packages.

Umrah packages to Madinah and Makkah will be offered at only RM5,344 for a nine-day tour.

MAS’ all inclusive one-way airfare starts from RM270 to Phnom Penh, RM310 to Bali, RM830 to Maldives and RM960 to Sydney.

Free tickets to Hanoi and Phuket are also up for grabs with no purchase necessary.

Other than great value for money offers, customers will continue to enjoy five-star services with free food, entertainment, assigned seats and up to 20kg free baggage allowance,” said Khalid.

Bookings and purchases can be made at the fair itself, participating travel agents, MAS ticketing offices and call centres.

Firefly eyes 3 flights daily to Singapore

Travel News March 6th, 2009

It hopes to start service by second half of next year

PETALING JAYA: FlyFirefly Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned unit of Malaysia Airlines (MAS), hopes to fly at least three times daily to Singapore once the route is approved by the respective governments, said managing director Eddy Leong.

“We’re hopeful that we can start flying to Singapore by the second half of this year,” he told a press conference yesterday on Firefly’s participation in MATTA Fair this year.

Firefly has applied for seven secondary routes – those that do not fly from Subang – namely Kuantan-Singapore, Malacca-Singapore, Kota Baru-Singapore, Ipoh-Singapore, Alor Star-Singapore, Kerteh-Singapore and Terengganu-Singapore. Its primary route is Subang-Singapore.

Routes like Penang-Singapore and Langkawi-Singapore would not be considered because they were already well served by MAS and Singapore Airlines, Leong said.

The airline also has started flying twice daily from Subang to Alor Star and Kuantan.

The airline would be receiving two additional planes in the next two months, bringing the total to seven, and would review if it should take on another three that were planned earlier.

Last year, with much less capacity and limited destinations, Firefly carried about half a million passengers. This year, it aimed to achieve 1.5 million passengers with the additional planes and expanded routes, Leong said.

Daily average load factor is about 60% to 70%. “We think it could be better when we complete the 10-network structure. We have to be cautious and focus on routes that are under-served by others,” he said.

By year-end, Firefly will have 10 domestic sectors and 12 regional sectors including Singapore.

Firefly was still in the red last year due to impact from fuel hedging.

“If not because of hedging, we would have been profitable,” Leong said, but declined to disclose the figures.

“It wouldn’t be prudent of me to say we’d be able to make money as the impact of the crisis is only unfolding. Judging from how we’re doing, we won’t make a lot of losses but might break even this year,” he said.

AirAsia offers 200 free seats to London

Travel News March 4th, 2009

air-asia-comKUALA LUMPUR, March 4- Low-cost carrier, AirAsia, will be giving away 200 free seats to London from today onwards in conjunction with its global countdown campaign to commemorate its inaugural flight to London scheduled for March 11, 2009.

The sector would be operated by its low-cost long-haul carrier, AirAsia X.

In a statement here today, AirAsia said it would organise roadshow games and the participants needed to answer simple questions on the company to get a chance to win the tickets.

It said two return seats would be offered at every roadshow at strategic locations in the Klang Valley from today until March 11.

The roadshow will kick off at Jalan Raja Chulan in Kuala Lumpur, it said.

AirAsia said similiar roadshows would be held in Singapore, Bangkok and Jakarta from March 10 and the finale would be the ground events in London from March 11-13. – Bernama

Tourists to Thailand exempted from visa fees

How To Get Visa March 4th, 2009

Foreigners applying for tourist visas at Royal Thai Embassies and consulates-general worldwide including those who apply for visas on arrival at designated areas are exempted from tourist visa fees from March 5 to June 4.

In a statement, the Royal Thai Embassy said the exemption was only for tourist visas and did not apply to non-immigrant and transit visas.

Also, nationals who were eligible for the Tourist Visa Exemption Scheme and those whose countries had concluded bilateral agreements with Thailand on visa exemption would be able to enter Thailand without visas.

For more information, log on to www.thaiembassy.org.