Last MAS flight out of New York

Travel News October 3rd, 2009

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NEW YORK: The 19-hour flight to Kuala Lumpur which took off from here at 10pm on Thursday (10am Friday, Malaysian time) turned out to be a sentimental journey for many passengers and crew.

MH91 was Malaysia Airlines’ farewell flight from the Big Apple as Malaysia’s national carrier has decided to suspend its Kuala Lumpur-New York route.

As the plane prepared for take-off from the Newark Airport, it was given a water salutation normally reserved for aircraft making their debut at an airport.

A total 188 passengers boarded the flight, including eight members from the Malaysian national darts team who had just won a bronze medal at the World Darts Championship in North Carolina.

“We are happy to catch the last flight home but at the same time, disappointed that MAS will stop flying from New York after tonight,”said team member Sazali A. Rahman from Labuan.

Pilot Kapt Badrul Hisham Zainal Abdin said he hoped MAS would change its mind about suspending the flight.

“The United States is Malaysia’s largest trading partner but direct acccess has now been reduced to just Los Angeles,” he noted.

MAS area vice-president (Eastern USA) Malkit Singh and station manager Kamili Md Amin were present to ensure that things went smoothly. MAS airport staff and those from its Manhattan office were also there.

The New York-Kuala Lumpur flight has been operating since 1998, initially transiting in Dubai and since Nov 2004, in Stockholm. In July this year, the airline announced that it was suspending the flight from Oct 1 due to a drop in demand following the global economic crisis.

Also on the flight were Foreign Minister Datuk Anifah Aman and 13 Malaysian delegates who were in New York to attend the United Nations general assembly.

Jetstar to double S’pore-Penang flights

Travel News October 3rd, 2009

Jetstar Asia plans to double the frequency of its Singapore-Penang flights to twice a day. The new route was launched on July 1.

The new route marked the 17th destination for the low-cost airline that now ser­­vices four Malaysian cities — Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and Penang.

“Jetstar services on the Singapore-Penang route will expand to double daily or 14 times weekly from tomorrow,” said Jetstar Asia chief executive officer Chong Phit Lian in a media statement.

“These services will create a real low-fare access for both Singaporeans and the growing number of our passengers travelling through Singapore on the Jetstar and Qantas (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Jetstar Group) network.

“Malaysia is a vital player in Jetstar’s growing Pan Asian network and we are thrilled to begin our new daily service to the historic city of Penang,” she added.

AirAsia flies into three more South Indian cities

Travel News September 28th, 2009

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SEPANG, Sept 28 — AirAsia, Asia’s leading low cost airline, will fly to Kochi, Trivandrum and Kolkata come December, in a move to expand its network in India.

AsiaAsia Group’s Regional Head of Commercial Kathleen Tan said AirAsia was flying now to Tiruchirappalli and would spread its wings to other destinations in India this year.

“Last year we were very busy working in China and we are now extensively covered in China. At present, AirAsia flies to Chengdu, Guangzhou, Guilin, Haikou,  angzhou, Shenzhen and Tianjin in China.

“For the fourth quarter and next year, AirAsia will focus on building our network in India where there is huge demand,” she told Bernama in an interview  today in conjunction with AirAsia’s 48-hour sales.

The two-day promotion, offers a 20 per cent discount on fares to all destinations, excluding London and Thailand, for the travel period beginning today until Nov 30.

It covers all domestic and international destinations across 20 countries and over 130 routes.

Elaborating on the Indian sector, Tan said AirAsia was looking at tapping destinations like Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and AirAsia’s long-haul affiliate, AirAsia X, would look further at Mumbai and Delhi.

She said the Tiruchirappalli sector received overwhelming response from the population in Southern India who visited Kuala Lumpur and used it as a gateway to enter Southeast Asia.

On whether AsiaAsia was experiencing a dip in sales due to the economic downturn, Tan said AirAsia was not really affected due to the airline’s strategic commercial initiative to encourage people to travel.

“Because of the economic downturn, people are downgrading but corporate travellers still want to fly. AirAsia offered alternative solutions to get people to fly,” she said.

Tan said AirAsia’s market was huge covering the corporate, youth, retired, labour, family and student segments, adding that travelling during an economic crisis was best because of low prices offered by hotels.

“Because of our low cost model, the fares are affordable. We are changing the travel dynamics in Asia and we see more Malaysians flying now. In the past, people in East Malaysia will not come to Kuala Lumpur because of the expensive airfare,” she said.

Tan said the low cost carrier had opened up the flying experience as people not just travel for holidays but also for shopping or medical treatment.

She said AirAsia’s low cost model also boosted domestic tourism as the airline’s huge network enabled more Malaysians to take short domestic holidays to Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Miri and Tawau.

“We see 2009 as a challenging year for the aviation industry. We removed fuel surcharge and administration fees because we want to keep flying at affordable prices to stimulate travel.

“AirAsia today is more than just about low fares. We are selling romance,

lifestyle and holiday dreams,” Tan said.

Asked on AirAsia’s sales target for 2010, Tan said the economy was recovering and people are beginning to spend.

“The worst is over, so let’s see. Our bookings have been very encouraging,” said Tan, adding that AirAsia was still expanding despite the challenging economy.Saying that the low cost model was more matured and gaining acceptance, Tan added that online booking was no longer an issue because people were more tech-savvy now.

On AirAsia’s 48-hour sales campaign, Tan said the airline rarely offered such a promotion.

“The campaign will encourage people to travel because this year was a tough year due because of the H1N1 pandemic and challenging economic factors,” she explained.

Asked on the sales expectation, Tan said: “I would not be able to give figures, it depends on the response, but I think the response will be good. We are running into the peak travel period now and people want to start planning their holidays.”

During the two-day promotion, AirAsia will offer a 20 per cent discount on fares to all destinations, excluding London and Thailand, for the travel period beginning today until Nov 30.

It covers all domestic and international destinations across 20 countries and over 130 routes. — Bernama

AirAsia 48 Hours Sale

General News September 28th, 2009

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AirAsia is doing a fire sale for 48 hours. Please go to http://www.airasia.com and book your 20% off air tickets before it’s too late. For 48 hours starting from today Monday 28th to Tuesday, 29th September 2009 and travel from now till 30th November 2009.

AirAsia to fly to Tiruchi, India, twice daily from Sept 1

Travel News July 28th, 2009

air-asia-comPETALING JAYA: Good news for those who travel often to Tiruchirapalli as low-cost carrier AirAsia will be adding a second daily flight to the Indian district starting Sept 1.

To celebrate the introduction of the flight, AirAsia will be offering an all-in fare of RM129.00 for a travel period between Sept 1 this year and April 30 next year.

The booking period for the flight will be from Tuesday to Aug 2.

AirAsia Group commercial regional head Kathleen Tan said the airline was proud to be servicing an underserved route and opening up this market to the world.

“Tiruchirapalli is a highly popular and desired destination among Hindus in Malaysia as it has an abundance of temples, which are popular pilgrimage sites for Hindus,” she said in a statement on Monday.

She added that there was an increase in visiting travellers from the district in Tamil Nadu who were progressively using Kuala Lumpur as a connecting gateway to over 130 routes in South East Asia and beyond.

“In fact, within the first month of flying to India, we enjoyed a load factor of 100% on this route,” Tan said, adding that it was now timely to add a second frequency.

Tiruchirapalli was AirAsia’s first destination in India since its inception on Dec 1 last year.

AirAsia is also offering its guests free rooms in various destinations when they book at its partner hotels via goholiday.airasia.com.

For more information on flights and other promotions, visit www.airasia.com. – Source By YUEN MEIKENG / TheStar Online