Monday, March 23, 2015

FREE - 3 million seats up for grabs from AirAsia Group

The sale is back and AirAsia in a statement dated March 23, 2015 says it was giving out 3 million seats for over 20 countries across AirAsia Group’s wide route network, including AirAsia X for free.

No base fare, no fuel surcharges, and pay only for airport taxes and fees.

Booking  begins today till March 29, 2015, it says.

Malindo explains

Malindo cautions public over false news

Monday, 23 March 2015
KUALA LUMPUR: Malindo Air has cautioned the public over false news regarding Malindo's operability that has been circulating on chat messaging service Whatsapp.
The hybrid airline had on Monday urged the public to ignore and not participate in this rumour mill that may affect the livelihood of its 1,800-strong workforce, their families as well as its passengers' planned journeys.
Malindo said as per procedures in an airline license renewal upon two years of operation, the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) conducted a full audit of the company last month.
“In that regard, measures have been implemented on certain issues to further improve our operations.
“We would like to reiterate that as a fully licensed commercial airliner, our company wholly observes and abides by all DCA's stringent rules and regulations. Operational standards especially those concerning civilian safety would not be compromised nor taken lightly under any circumstances.
“Rest assured, we have reported this incident to the legal authorities concerned. All customers can anticipate a pleasant journey with Malindo Air on their respective booked as well as future flights,” it said.

(first appeared on staronline on March 23, 2015)

updated: Monday March 23, 2015 MYT 7:10:18 AM

Time to buck up, Malindo told

PETALING JAYA: The Department of Civil Aviation, which has spotted several “shortcomings” in Malindo Air’s operations, has given the airline six months to rectify the problems.
DCA director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman (pic) said an annual audit was conducted on the airline last month and his department had compiled a “list of findings” which required rectification.
Among others, the DCA ordered Malindo Air to resolve its documentations, management of aircraft and flight operations.
The airline’s operating licence expired on Feb 28 and the department had approved a six-month extension until Aug 31 to allow the company to concentrate on resol­ving the problems, he added.
“There are positive signs Malindo Air will rectify the problems we have pointed out to them. In fact, some of them have already been corrected.
“Once these problems are cleared, we will decide the validity period of the airline’s operating licence,” he told The Star.
The normal practice is for the DCA to issue an operating licence to an airline for a period of one year or a maximum of two years.
Despite the findings that need to be resolved, Azharuddin stressed that the airline had not committed any serious violation.
“Otherwise, we would have grounded them and not given the six-month extension,” he said.
Azharuddin added that Malindo Air was not the only airline which the department had ordered to resolve certain issues before it could have its operating licence renewed.
He was confident the airline would resolve all its issues before August, adding that the department was monitoring its “rectification works in order for us to approve the operating licence”.
Malindo Air, which began operations in March last year, is a joint venture between National Aerospace and Defence Industries and Lion Air of Indonesia.

(first appeared on The Star on March 23, 2015)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Now the right price to hedge jet fuel?

Airlines prepare to hedge more jet fuel to lock in huge savings

SINGAPORE/BERLIN, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Global airlines, looking to lock in huge savings, are preparing to hedge more jet fuel to fix prices as they bet a slide in crude oil to six-year lows may peter out near $40 a barrel.

Some airlines have already stepped up hedging, especially after benchmark Brent crude slipped below $50 a barrel earlier this month, fuel traders and brokers said.

In Europe, airlines such as Aer Lingus and Ryanair are aiming to take advantage of the low oil prices to lock in fuel costs into 2016 and beyond. Thai Airways plans to hedge 100 percent of its fuel purchases this year.

"If you a sensible hedger, you have to look at this as an excellent opportunity," said Robert Campbell, head of oil products research at Energy Aspects.

Current crude output can't be sustained at these prices, Campbell said, and with "some increase in demand and some reduction in supply ultimately the price will be forced higher".

Jet fuel can account for between 20 and 50 percent of an airline's operating costs, and swings in oil prices can mean a huge boost or hit to profits. In December, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said lower fuel prices could mean that airlines globally will report their strongest profit margins in more than five years in 2015.

For more:

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Airbus exceeds targets in 2014, Boeing is top planemaker by deliveries

US aircraft maker, Boeing delivered more planes than its European rival, Airbus Group NV in 2014 to hold on to the title of world’s biggest planemaker for a third straight year as the U.S. company accelerated production of its newest 787 Dreamliner.
In contrast, Airbus exceeded its targets for 2014, achieving a new record of 629 aircraft deliveries for 89 customers of which eight are new, comprising 490 A320 Family aircraft, 108 A330s, 30 A380s and also our first A350 XWB. This production achievement means that Airbus’ aircraft deliveries in 2014 were up for the 13th year in a row, surpassing the previous record set in 2013.

Airbus also achieved 1,456 net orders from 67 customers (of which 14 are new) – our second best year ever, comprising 1,321 single aisle aircraft and 135 widebodies. As a result, by year end, the backlog had climbed to a new industry record of 6,386 aircraft valued at US$ 919.3 billion at list prices.

At 2014 year end, Airbus commanded more than 50% market share for aircraft above 100 seats. Among the numerous sales achievements was the A330neo’s success in attracting 120 firm endorsements within just six months of its launch. Another commercial highlight was Delta’s decision to select the A330neo for its transatlantic services and the A350 for its transpacific routes. A third highlight of 2014 was the enduring popularity of our A320neo and ceo aircraft which together attracted numerous orders especially from the leasing companies.
For more on Airbus, read

Chengdu-Colombo service by Air China in February

 Air China says it will start its nonstop service from Chengdu to Colombo on February 10, 2015 .

It will use the  Airbus 330 aircraft with four  flights a week, offered on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

The flight will depart from Chengdu at 18:30 Beijing time and arrive in Colombo at 21:50 local time. 

The inbound flight departs from Colombo at 23:10 local time and arrives in Chengdu at06:40 of the second day.

It is Air China's fourth city to Southeast Asia after the launch of the routes to Kathmandu , Mumbai and Bangalore, Air China says,

Specials from Malaysia Airlines

Incredibly Low Fares at Malaysia Airlines’ 2015 Specials!

MAS is saying it is offering incredibly low fares as part of its  ‘2015 Specials’ and the offers begins at midnight tomorrow

It says “Fly to London, Paris or Istanbul for RM2499 all-inclusive return.
Sydney or Melbourne for just RM1450 return.
Or explore Malaysia for only RM129 return on our many Domestic destination offers!''

Sale begins from Jan 14 to 24 for travel from Jan 17 till March 3 for selected destinations, and up till Nov 30, 2015 for others. Check out their website for more details.

This part of its way of saying “Thank You Malaysia” for your support over the years. 

(This information is from MAS press statement issued on Jan 13, 2015)

Mueller comes visiting MAS

Mueller gets into early action to turn around Malaysia Airlines

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Christoph R. Mueller, to be appointed as MAS new CEO

PETALING JAYA: Christoph Mueller, the man who is supposed to help turn the new Malaysia Airlines (MAS) around, has been in town since Friday.
He is scheduled to attend MAS’ board meeting early this morning and afterwards meet the current senior team at the airline, sources said.

Click on this for full report on StarOnline:

Monday, January 12, 2015

Safe Airlines according to AirlineRatings

Qantas leads the pack as the safest airline for 2015. The Aussie flag carrier is famous for its fatality-free history as a jet airline, according to, from the 449 it monitors
The rest out of the top 10, in alphabetical order are: 
  • Air New Zealand
  •  British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific Airways
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways
  • EVA Air
  • Finnair
  • Lufthansa
  • Singapore Airlines

The ten safest low-cost airlines according to In alphabetical order:
  • Aer Lingus
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Icelandair
  • JetBlue
  • Jetstar (subsidiary of Quantas)
  • Kulula (South Africa)
  • Monarch Airlines (UK)
  • Thomas Cook (UK)
  • TUI Fly (Germany)
  • WestJet (Canada) says its rating system takes into account a range of factors related to audits from aviation’s governing bodies such as the FAA and ICAO as well as government audits and the airline’s fatality record. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Warren Buffett and airline stocks...

Warren Buffett’s Investing Blind Spot: Airlines

Warren Buffett doesn’t seem to have much financial luck with airline companies. The billionaire CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has decried airline investing ever since he got burned buying convertible preferred stock in USAir Group Inc. in 1989.
Berkshire eventually had to write down the $358 million investment in the commercial airline operator. In his 1996 annual letter to shareholders, Mr. Buffett wrote: “My analysis of USAir’s business was both superficial and wrong. I was so beguiled by the company’s long history of profitable operations, and by the protection that ownership of a senior security seemingly offered me, that I overlooked the crucial point:  USAir’s revenues would increasingly feel the effects of an unregulated, fiercely-competitive market whereas its cost structure was a holdover from the days when regulation protected profits.  These costs, if left unchecked, portended disaster, however reassuring the airline’s past record might be.”     Despite the misfortunes of USAir, Berkshire sold its shares in 1998 for a “hefty gain,” according to the company’s 2007 annual report.
It was a theme he returned to in his 2007 letter, where he said that a durable competitive advantage in the airline industry “has proven elusive ever since the days of the Wright Brothers.”
“Indeed, if a farsighted capitalist had been present at Kitty Hawk, he would have done his successors a huge favor by shooting Orville down,” he joked. “The airline industry’s demand for capital ever since that first flight has been insatiable. Investors have poured money into a bottomless pit.”
More recently, Berkshire-owned private-jet operator NetJets Inc. has been a source of worry for Mr. Buffett. Although NetJets operates in the private aviation market, it deals with many of the same issues as commercial airlines, including high fixed costs such as fuel, and unionized labor.
NetJets is in midst of contract negotiations with several unions representing pilots, flight attendants and other employees. Negotiations have been especially testy with the pilots’ union, which contends that cuts proposed by the jet company are “unjustifiable” at a time when business has turned around and NetJets is seeing higher revenue and earnings growth. For its part, NetJets says cost reductions “are necessary” because Berkshire requires a greater return on revenue from the company.

However, it isn’t one of Mr. Buffett’s best deals. Despite being profitable, NetJets has not managed to pay a single penny to Berkshire as a dividend in the 16 years that the conglomerate has owned it, according to a person close to Berkshire. Its net worth is also worth considerably less than the $725 million in cash and stock that Berkshire paid for NetJets in 1998. That would likely have been true for any company that Berkshire bought using its own stock, given the massive appreciation in Berkshire’s A shares. In this case, Berkshire hasn’t made its money back on the purchase even excluding the jump in its shares since 1998.
The company was nearly felled in 2009 when its wealthy customers cut back on private-jet use. Mr. Buffett has said the company would have “gone broke” had Berkshire not guaranteed its $1.9 billion debt load. Things have improved since then. With the economy bounding back, customers have returned to buying shares in NetJets planes in exchange for flying hours.
(first appeared in The Wall Street Journal on Jan 5, 2015) 

Friday, January 2, 2015

2014 ....what a year for Malaysia's air sector

Two air disasters was bad enough for the Malaysian's airline industry, but a third has sent shivers down the spine for some.

MAS lost MH370 on March 8 when it disappeared enroute Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, while MH17 which was on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over Ukraine on July 17. A total of 537 lives were lost in both the incidents. 

After the two incidents, MAS has since been taken private and will be restructured. The idea is to reset its business model and cost structures in order to be truly sustainable. There has been several past restructurings but failed to ensure sustainable profitably. That is why the government wants the job re-done.

The airline will welcome a new CEO in Christoph Mueller this month and hopefully he will do the magic that all stakeholders are counting on. 

And just two weeks before we say goodbye to 2014, AirAsia's Indonesia unit, Indonesia AirAsia (majority owned by Indonesian interests) flight QZ8501 carrying 162 passengers plunged into Java Sea less than an hour after leaving Surabaya for Singapore on Dec 28. The search for bodies continue and my heart goes to the families who lost their loved ones.

There has been many air disasters over the past decade, but never has an airline (MAS) suffered two major ones in a year, and in a span of four months. It is truly unprecedented. AirAsia also has a accident free record until  It is unfortunate that both the biggest airlines in Malaysia in size and capacity, were involved in the air tragedies in 2014. 

BUT they are certainly very safe airlines to fly with.

Lets hope for a better flying experience in 2015!

Some of 2014's aviation disasters ...(first appeared in Malay Mail on Dec 29, 2014)
Feb 16 — Nepal Airlines Flight 183 crashes near Khidim, Nepal, killing all 18 people on board
March 8 — Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, with 227 passengers and 12 crew on board, disappears from radar over the Gulf of Thailand. The aircraft has yet to be found
July 17 — Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur is shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board. It is the deadliest civilian airliner shooting incident
July 23 — TransAsia Airways Flight 222 from Kaohsiung to Penghu, Taiwan, crashes, killing 48 of the 58 people on board
July 24 — Air Algerie Flight 5017, en route from Burkina Faso to Algiers, crashes in the northern Mali desert after disappearing from radar approximately 50 minutes after takeoff. All 112 passengers and six crew members on board are killed
Aug 10 — S├ępahan Airlines Flight 5915 crashes shortly after takeoff from Mehrabad International Airport, Iran, killing 39 of the 48 people on board
Dec 28 — AirAsia Indonesia Flight 8501, an Airbus A320 en route from Surabaya to Singapore with 155 passengers and seven crew on board, loses contact over the Java Sea 


Pictures and terrible tweets in the airline world

Skimpy pics and terrible tweets: Biggest airline fails of 2014

  • Vietjet Air
Let’s face it: We air passengers weren’t at our best in 2014. We got into fights over reclining seats. In retrospect, we did kinda overreact to Ebola. And once again our hopes that this would be the year that people finally realized it’s not cool to take your shoes off on an airplane were dashed.
And yet, airlines managed to be even worse than their passengers, inventing new and innovative ways to demonstrate apathy and incompetence. Sure, some of big flops this year weren’t entirely the fault of the airlines. Still, they put airlines in the headlines for all the wrong reasons — and made us shake our heads and say, “This crap doesn’t happen on trains.”

1. VietJet’s sexy photo shoot

  • Vietjet Air
    It was bad enough that VietJet did a photo shoot that revived that unfortunate sexy-flight-attendant trope, which we thought had gone out with Pan Am. What really got us was that once the airline started getting called out for its sexist campaign, it tried to claim that the photos were just a “trial shoot” for a proposed campaign — an undress rehearsal? — that, oh my gosh, one of their models accidentally posted on her popular Facebook page.
    Sorry, we didn’t buy your story, VietJet. Guess years of reading airlines’ fictional departure/arrival times have made us skeptical.

2. Virgin Australia bathroom leak

  • iStock
    A Virgin Australia flight from Los Angeles to Sydney had to turn around after liquid spilled from the bathroom into the aisle. Despite claims from the passengers that the toilets had backed up and there was human waste streaming through the aisles, Virgin had to clarify that it was the sink that was leaking and that there was no human waste in the leak. When you have to issue a statement clarifying that a smelly onboard spill on your plane did not contain feces, you’ve had a fail.

3. The puke plane

  • iStock
    Also from the smelly-flight file, an Israel-to-Philadelphia US Airways flight had to make an emergency landing after a puking epidemic broke out. Apparently a strange odor on the plane caused more than a dozen passengers and crew members to begin vomiting. Something similar happened in the 1980s comedy Airplane, except this wasn’t funny. And this flight didn’t serve fish.

4. United Airlines’ lame apology

  • iStock
    You know how “Sorry if I offended you” is a lame apology? This is even lamer. United Airlines sent a laughably impersonal form letter to a Reddit user named “lyndy.” It was addressed to “Mrs. ——” and included such sentences as “Your comments regarding (SPECIFIC EVENT) will be used for coaching and training our employees” and ”(CUSTOMER NAME), I ask that you allow us another opportunity to serve you.” The only possible response: “Dear (LAME AIRLINE): Please go (ANATOMICALLY IMPOSSIBLE PHYSICAL ACT) yourself.”

5. Malaysia Airlines’ bad timing

  • Malaysia Airlines
    No airline had a worse year than Malaysia Airlines. One of its planes, Flight 370, vanished with 239 people on board in March. And another of its planes, Flight 17, was shot down in Ukraine with 298 on board. With the circumstances behind both tragedies still somewhat mysterious, it probably was not the best time for not one but two Malaysia Airlines faux pas: having a “bucket list” contest asking passengers to come up with places they want to go before they die, and sending out a tweet for another promotion that read, “Want to go somewhere but don’t know where?” This was a pair of devastating unforced errors that this airline did not need.

6. Southwest tweet

  • iStock
    Someone needs to tell Southwest Airlines that sticks and stones may break your bones but tweets will never hurt you — unless you overreact to them. The airline was savagely criticized this summer after its gate agents in Denver pulled a passenger and his kids off a flight. The reason for that draconian action: The passenger, Duff Watson, had posted a complaint about a gate agent on Twitter. Watson said he hadn’t been allowed to reboard until he deleted the tweet. He said that Southwest later apologized and offered him flight vouchers, but that failed to fix the damage. Southwest may have a reputation for low fares, but the incident also gave them a rep for having a thin skin.

7. Delta loses dog

  • iStock
    A heartbreaking fail on the part of Delta Airlines. Passenger Frank Ramano says Delta lost his dog. The 6-year-old pit rescue, Ty, apparently had chewed through his crate and escaped. Ramano very publicly shared his story of losing his best friend and the runaround he says he got from the airline, causing countless dog lovers to join him in sympathy — and in anger at Delta.

8. Lost grandma

  • iStock
    This story of a lost loved one has a much happier ending. A sick 85-year-old grandmother attempting to fly from Newark to Denver on Southwest Airlines missed her flight, and people feared she was lost. Turns out she wasn’t lost at all; a skycap had wheeled her to the gate and didn’t tell the gate agents she was there. This was hardly Southwest’s fault; the skycap worked for the airport, not the airline, and it was Southwest employees who fixed the situation. Still, “Airline Loses Sick Grandma” is not a headline you want.

9. Lufthansa strikes

  • AP Photo
    Lufthansa embarked on a series of cost-cutting measures to save money. But the resulting walkouts by its pilots this year have cost the airline a pretty penny — an estimated $250 million, to be exact. The walkouts, staged by pilots angered by the airline’s proposed changes to retirement benefits, forced the cancellations of hundreds of flights and disrupted the travel plans of tens of thousands of people worldwide.

10. Korean Air nutroversy

  • AP Photo
    This end-of-year story is tops because it has all the classic elements of a farcical airline flop: an innocuous incident (the daughter of Korean Air’s chairman is served macadamia nuts improperly on a flight out of JFK); a ridiculous overreaction (the daughter, who’s also an exec at the airline, angrily orders the plane to return to the gate to kick off the offending flight attendant); a public apology (by not only the airline exec but her father too) followed by an international nut storm (the exec faces a criminal investigation, the entire airline faces fines and suspension, and South Korea’s family-owned conglomerates face public backlash); complete with a delicious cherry-on-top epilogue (South Korea’s macadamia nut sales are exploding). Nicely — or should we say, badly — played, Korean Air.
  • (first appeared in Fox News on Dec 31, 2014)