Tuesday May 6, 2008 THE STAR
By WONG SAI WAN
KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia has countered Malaysia Airline’s Zero Fare campaign claiming that their cheapest air ticket still costs less than the national carrier’s latest product that was launched yesterday.
The budget carrier’s chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes announced that his airline would come out with two new initiatives. They are:
> AirAsia will pay the difference to any of his passengers if they can find any MAS airfare that is lower than the cheapest offered by AirAsia.
> A sub-Zero Fare campaign.
“Just print out the confirmed booking from MAS and I will pay the difference. As for the sub-Zero Fare, which will be launched in the next few days, it will be cheaper than zero,” said Fernandes in an interview.
Reacting to the MAS campaign which was launched by its managing director Datuk Seri Idris Jala yesterday, Fernandes said he was “very flattered” by the full-service carrier’s latest initiative because it was a copy of what AirAsia had been doing.
“This is the10th time that MAS has copied us. I guess imitation is the best form of flattery,” he added.
MAS announced that it has launched a new product that it called Zero Fare whereby domestic travellers need only pay the airport tax and surcharges. Jala also announced that the airline had set aside one million tickets for the travel period between June 10 and Dec 14.
For the domestic offer, the total charge for travel between the peninsula and Sabah and Sarawak is RM122.40. For domestic travel without crossing the South China Sea, the charge will be RM81.45.
The tickets can only be purchased on-line. MAS is expected to expand this offer to Asean routes soon.
The Star front-paged this report yesterday and by mid-day the MAS website (www.malaysiaairlines.com) was reporting heavy traffic.
Fernandes also produced a list of prices to compare the fares offered by AirAsia against MAS' to prove that his was cheaper.
He said that he was sure that consumers would know which airline is making a better offer especially since his AirAsia gives better service.
“We have newer aircraft, better and hot food – although passengers have to buy them on board – better seats which are more spacious and we definitely have better crew.
“We have more frequency to local destinations.
“We have more point-to-point routes; for example one can fly directly from Penang to Kota Kinabalu or Johor Baru to Miri without having to transit at another airport,” said the AirAsia boss.
He also revealed that his airline had started selling hot roti canai on board his planes last month and would introduce chicken rice and satay soon.