Sunday, October 26, 2008

South-East Asian air services to be further liberalised

Updated: Sunday October 26, 2008 MYT 6:11:25 PM


SEPANG: Air services between capital cities in South-East Asia will be further liberalised by the end of the year.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat said his counterparts from Asean nations would meet early next month in Manila to ratify the Asean road map.

He said with the liberalisation, the frequency of flights and the number of airlines flying to and from a destination would no longer be limited by the governments.

“By 2015, this will be further extended to other cities. The final agreement will be made at the Asean Transport Ministers meeting in Manila,” he said.

Ong said besides the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur sector, they had opened up the sector between Singapore and Kota Kinabalu, Kuching and Miri.

He was speaking to reporters Sunday after welcoming passengers on Silk Air’s maiden flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

Silk Air, which is Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) sister company, will fly twice daily to Kuala Lumpur from Singapore from Sunday, while SIA flies five times daily. From Dec 1, both SIA and Silk Air will operate four flights daily each on that route.

Silk Air CEO Chin Yau Seng said, coupled with MAS, passengers would have a choice of 15 flights daily from the three airlines.

Malaysia Airports managing director Datuk Seri Bashir Ahmad said with Silk Air operating from KLIA, he expected air traffic to grow further.

“When we opened up the route (Singapore-KL) to Jetstar, Tiger Airways and AirAsia, in the first seven months of this year, traffic grew by 9%,” he said.

More buses for Rapid Penang soon


KEPALA BATAS: The Government will speed up the purchase of 200 buses for Rapid Penang, thus allowing it to add more routes to its service.

Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcob said the purchase of additional buses is in response to the demands of the rural population who have requested for better public transport.

“With the additional buses, we hope to create more new routes which would not only benefit urban dwellers but also those staying in rural areas.

“The demand for more bus routes proves that public transportation is widely accepted and used by all,” he said to newsmen Sunday after meeting with Tasek Gelugor Umno division leaders.

The additional buses are expected to cover 14 new routes in the state including Seberang Prai.

Nor Mohamed said the Government is also looking into increasing the frequency of the bus service thus shortening the waiting time for buses.

Rapid Penang Sdn Bhd currently services 33 routes in 106 housing areas. Its daily passenger volume reaches up to 46,000 passengers.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Vehicles jam up roads

Monday October 6, 2008 THESTAR


With the Hari Raya holidays over, major highways leading to the Klang Valley were congested with vehicles as people made their way home.

PETALING JAYA: With the Hari Raya holidays over, major highways leading to the Klang Valley were congested with vehicles as people made their way home.

Checks on the North-South Expressway, Kuala Lumpur-Karak Highway and East Coast Expressway revealed that traffic was reduced to a crawl by yesterday afternoon.

Many road users also called The Star complaining about being stuck in jams for as long as three hours on the KL-Karak Highway. An official manning the North-South Expressway’s helpline said traffic flow between the Senawang interchange and the Seremban rest area was congested from 3pm.

In the northern portion of the expressway, traffic started building up from 1pm and was bumper-to-bumper from Gopeng to Slim River.

The volume of vehicles from the north began dropping after 9.45pm, the official said.

“The traffic flow could have been better if users had followed our travel-time advisory,” the official said.

He said that unlike the balik kampung rush at the start of the Hari Raya festive season which was spread out, many travellers decided to return to the Klang Valley at the last minute causing major congestion.

An MTD Primeline helpline official said a 10km crawl back to the Klang Valley along the Kuala Lumpur-Karak Highway started at 6pm from Bentong.

US Transportation payrolls fell more than 16 percent

AP - Friday October 3, 1:55 pm ET

September payrolls fell more than 16 percent in the transportation sector

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Labor Department's nonfarm payrolls report for September showed a drop of 16.1 percent from August in the transportation and warehousing segment of the report.

On Friday the department said employers cut payrolls by 159,000, the most in more than five years. That included a 12.3 percent decline in trucking payrolls, a 4.6 percent drop in air transportation payrolls and a 1 percent dip in water transport payrolls.

Rail payrolls increased 1.2 percent, and transit and ground passenger transportation payrolls climbed 3.8 percent from the previous month.

A number of smaller, privately owned trucking companies have cut jobs or closed completely as the slowing economy squeezes freight volumes to companies with fewer orders for retail and wholesale goods. Some airlines have furloughed pilots, flight attendants and other personnel as they cut capacity.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

AirAsia may go private

Malaysia's AirAsia may be taken private as industry slows

AFP - Sunday, October 5KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4, 2008 (AFP) - AirAsia, the region's largest low-cost carrier, said Saturday it is exploring "various options", following a newspaper report that it may soon be

"We have continuously been exploring various options at both shareholders and company level," Kamarudin Meranum, group deputy chief executive officer told AFP.

"There is nothing to confirm at the moment," he said in response to the report in business newspaper The Edge.

"(AirAsia) has generated a lot of interest but there has always been scepticism about its business model from investors looking at short term returns," the weekly cited an unnamed source as saying.

Kamarudin said the management was focused on ensuring the carrier, a listed company, remained profitable during challenging times.

"We are the controlling shareholders. We still feel the company has a lot of potential. We are a fairly young carrier," he said.

AirAsia had room to expand and was concentrating on building an infrastructure to ensure growth and profit, he added.

But Kamarudin said since AirAsia was listed, "we must be cautious of any statements we make in relation to any development within the company".

AirAsia's controlling shareholder is Tune Air Sdn Bhd, which held 30.7 percent of its shares as at end-March this year.

Tune Air's shareholders are AirAsia chief executive officer Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin himself.

Global airlines are expected to post a combined loss of 5.2 billion dollars in 2008 on a "toxic" combination of high oil prices and falling demand, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) warned last month.

Passenger load factors -- the ratio of arriving and departing passengers to arriving and departing seats -- fell to 79.2 percent from the 81 percent recorded over the same period last year as capacity growth outpaced demand, it said.

Since beginning of the year, AirAsia shares have lost 23 percent while the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index shed 30 percent.

AirAsia said in August its net profits plummeted 95 percent in the second quarter compared to a year ago, blaming high fuel costs and foreign exchange losses.

The company, launched in December 2001 with just two aircraft, has become the region's biggest low-cost carrier and been imitated by national carriers and other low-fare start-ups.