The head of Malaysian low-cost airline AirAsia said yesterday he hoped to secure approval by May to fly between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and could operate 20 flights a day on the lucrative route.
Tony Fernandes, who has promised much lower ticket prices than are currently available on the route, said aviation officials from Malaysia and Singapore were expected to meet next month to iron out the details.
"Obviously, it is an important route for us. It is like the busy Paris-London route. And it will surely be profitable," Fernandes told said, adding that Kuala Lumpur was "set to become a hub for low cost carriers."
"By April or May I hope to get the approval," he said.
AirAsia has been pushing hard for access to the route, which is dominated by Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines.
The two carriers account for 85 percent of traffic on the 30-minute route between the two cities, with a confirmed round-trip ticket departing from Singapore costing more than S$450 (US$294), including taxes.
Fernandes said a one-way AirAsia ticket would start from US$60.
The AirAsia chief also said the airline had taken delivery of 16 new A320 Airbus aircraft and would have 23 jets in June.
"We are very happy with the A320 aircraft. The operation cost of the jets is lower than expected. The fuel burn is less than expected," he said.
Fernandes also brushed aside any fears of competition from Singapore budget airline Tiger Airways.
Tiger, which began flying in 2004, is owned by four shareholders including Singapore Airlines and state-linked Singapore investment firm Temasek Holdings.
Fernandes brought budget air travel to Southeast Asia in 2001 with his successful short-haul low-cost formula.
Last month he surprised the aviation industry by announcing a new budget airline, AirAsia X, for long-haul routes.
AirAsia X will announce its choice of 20 aircraft -- which is believed to be worth some US$4 billion -- next month for its service to Britain and China, Raja Mohamad Azmi, chief executive officer of Fly Asian Express (FAX), said yesterday.
"An evaluation to pick either Airbus 330-300 or Boeing 777-200 for the new long-haul carrier AirAsia X has been completed and an announcement will be made in March," he said.
He did not elaborate.
The airline will be operated by FAX, which operates rural air services on Borneo island.
Airline officials familiar with the purchase plan said price and availability of aircraft are among the major factors in deciding the winner.
Raja Azmi said that the new service will take off in August with inaugural flights to Britain and China expected to be launched simultaneously.
"We will initially lease three aircraft -- either the Boeing 777-200 or the Airbus 330-300 to begin the service," he said.
The domestically designed Teng Yun 2 drone passed development milestones over the weekend, flying for more than 10 hours straight and circling Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), in the longest flight of an indigenous uncrewed combat aerial vehicle. Developed by the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, the Teng Yun 2, or “Cloud Rider” (騰雲二型), recorded its longest flight yet over the weekend, after a three-hour test flight last month, followed by five and seven-hour stretches in the air. The Teng Yun 2 No. 1812 departed from Chiashan Air Base in Hualien County at 6:46pm on Saturday and flew on a
A slew of new measures are to take effect on Friday, including nationwide bring-your-own-cup discounts. The new rule requires chain beverage shops to offer discounts of at least NT$5 (US$0.17) to customers who bring their own cups, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said. The policy would apply to more than 50,000 chain retail locations, including beverage shops, convenience stores, fast-food restaurants and supermarkets. It aims to cut down on waste from single-use plastic cups, more than 2.2 billion of which were used in Taiwan in 2020, the agency said. For convenience, the EPA said it has asked retailers to display signs stating how
TIMING: 'The CHIPS Act funding is crucial for us. In other words, if the act’s passage is delayed for too long, we will certainly need to adjust,’ chairwoman Doris Hsu said GlobalWafers Co (環球晶圓) plans to start construction on a US$5 billion wafer fabrication facility in Texas in November, after passage of the US$52 billion Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act. The fab would be the largest of its kind in the US and one of the largest in the world, with a monthly capacity of 1.2 million wafers, GlobalWafers said, adding that the investment would be the first new fab in the US in more than 20 years and critical to closing a semiconductor supply chain gap. The world’s No. 3 silicon wafer supplier said the project, which
COUNTERING CHINA: ‘When democracies demonstrate what we can do ... I have no doubt that we’ll win that competition every time,’ US President Joe Biden said US President Joe Biden rebooted his effort to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) after an earlier campaign faltered, enlisting the support of G7 leaders at their summit in Germany. The Build Back Better World initiative, named after Biden’s domestic spending and climate agenda, struggled to get off the ground because not enough G7 partners contributed financially when it was unveiled a year ago, people familiar with its lack of progress said. “When democracies demonstrate what we can do — all that we have to offer — I have no doubt that we’ll win that competition every time,” Biden said during