NO MORE DELAYS - Flight operations at Malaysia’s first hybrid airport set to begin with five airlines

MALAYSIA Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) has confirmed that the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) will begin its commercial flight operations on May 2, as scheduled, with five airlines.

Its senior general manager for operation services Datuk Azmi Murad said MAHB will stick to its plan of opening the country’s first hybrid airport with full flight operations, which should include AirAsia Bhd and other airlines previously operating from the low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT).

“We are working on the plan together with the other airlines to ensure everything runs as scheduled,” he told Business Times on Thursday.

“Within a week after the May 2 opening, the airlines that are operating from the LCCT now will start their operations at KLIA2, including AirAsia,” he added.

Azmi said the airport will first open with carriers that have fewer flight frequencies, such as Malindo Air, Lion Air, Cebu Pacific Air, Tiger Airways and Tiger Mandala.

AirAsia, in recent reports, had been quoted as saying that it would not move to KLIA2 on May 9 due to security and flight operation concerns.

In response, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the low-cost carrier must move to KLIA2 as scheduled, and that the government, through MAHB, was prepared to listen to the airline’s concerns regarding the transfer.

RHB Research opines that AirAsia has the bargaining power in this situation, given its huge fleet.

However, Hong Leong Investment Bank Research does not expect AirAsia to stay long at the LCCT.

“Should AirAsia group insist on staying in the LCCT for a long period, other low-cost carriers (LCCs) may take advantage of the situation and add capacity aggressively, such as new routes and additional frequencies.

“Those LCCs may also attempt to hog the preferred time slots at KLIA2,” it said in a research note recently.

AirAsia X chief executive Azran Osman-Rani, when asked on the issue, said on the sidelines of the Entrepreneurs’ Conference TEC2020, here, yesterday: “I think it’s best to speak to (AirAsia chief executive officer) Aireen Omar because we’re doing this as a group. So I prefer if Aireen addresses all the issues on KLIA2.

“I’m not going to answer any questions on KLIA2. Aireen is going to speak for the group on the matter,” he said.

Earlier on Wednesday, AirAsia executive chairman Datuk Kamarudin Meranun said the group would, at one point, be shifting its commercial flight operations to the new terminal but could not confirm the exact date.

“What I can confirm is that we will move (to KLIA2) when everything is okay. Let’s not deliberate on that,” he said on the sidelines of a dialogue between the prime minister and about 50 corporate leaders and captains of industries on sustainability and diversity.

Singapore Airlines to introduce A380 on India routes from May 30

Singapore Airlines announced that from May 30 onwards, it is planning to introduce Airbus A380 aircraft on its major India routes, which will operate daily to both Mumbai and New Delhi from Singapore instead of smaller Boeing 777 aircraft.

With the announcement, it became the first time that a foreign airline is commercially deploying the A380 on India routes. Singapore Airlines was also the first airline in the world to operate the A380.

“We have been keen to operate the Airbus A380 to India and are glad that the Air Services Agreement between Singapore and India now allows us to do so,” said Lee Wen Fen, Senior Vice President Marketing Planning, Singapore Airlines.

The A380s can carry 850 passengers in all economy class configuration and 525 passengers in three class configurations, whereas in comparison a Boeing 777 can carry 314 to 451 passengers only.

Awana Skyway bids farewell after 40 years in operation

AFTER 40 years of service, the Awana Skyway in Genting Highlands ceased operations recently to make way for the construction of a new cable car system due to open in 2016.

The Awana Skyway was built in 1975 and was Malaysia’s first cable car system.

It was previously known as the Sri Layang cable car system or the Flying Carpet Cable Car Ride, but was later changed to the Awana Skyway to reflect the station located near Awana.

The cable car uses a jig-back system spanning 2.4km over five towers connecting three different stations — Awana, Chin Swee and Genting — with the latter located at the Genting Grand Hotel.


Each cabin can carry up to 40 passengers at a speed of five metres per second.

In 2009, major refurbishment work was carried out on the cable car system to enhance operability, reliability and safety.

On hand to witness the closing ceremony were Resorts World Genting executive vice-president Aaron Chia, IT and Theme Park senior vice-president Thomas Ng, Casino marketing senior vice-president Leow Beng Hooi and representatives of the management.

The group took one last ride in the cable car before the system was officially closed.

To commemorate Awana Skyway’s 40 years in operation, Resorts World Genting organised the Groovy Goodbye promotion from March 22 to 31 at the Awana Skyway and Genting stations, where visitors could enjoy the trip at a special rate of RM1.

Historical information and facts on the cable car were also put up during the farewell.

Visitors also could pick up a memento comprising a collection of six different classic stamp designs of the Awana Skyway system.

Information on the new cable car system was also revealed during the event. It will comprise 106 gondolas and cover 2.8km. The new system will be able to carry up to 2,000 passengers per hour from Sri Layang/Awana to the Resort.

The new cable car system is part of the RM5bil Genting Integrated Tourism Plan investments announced in December 2013.



Dear Valued Customers,   In line with the Genting Integrated Tourism Plan, it is inadvertent that we will need to close some of the rides located in First World Indoor Theme Park to make way for development works.   Rio Float, Reindeer Cruiser, Mini Train, Busy Bugs, Circus Ride, Funland, Genting Bowl, SnowWorld, Vision City and Funtasy World Video Games Park will remain opened as usual.    We apologise for any inconvenience cause.  

The Management


通告 亲爱的顾客们:  配合云顶综合旅游计划,位于第一户内游乐园的部分乘骑将关闭, 以进行有关建设工程。   位于第一户内游乐园的其他乘骑,如驯鹿航天舟、航天舟、迷你火车、忙碌小虫、马戏团乘骑及热带雨林乐园、保龄球中心、雪花堡、梦幻城以及幻想世界电子游戏乐园则将照常运作。    如有不便之处,敬请原谅。  管理层 启   

business dropped almost 50% from indian market

Association of Thai Travel Agents’ member companies handled 818,324 international tourists at Suvarnabhumi Airport during January to March representing a decline of 34.49% from 1,249,109 visits during the same period last year.

ATTA released its data, earlier this week, based on fees member agencies pay to the airport to provide a meet-and-greet service for international clients. It is considered an accurate barometer for the tourism industry but is limited to travel through Suvarnabhumi Airport.

The association president, Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, said travel agents remained  troubled in the first quarter of this year, despite the lifting of the state of Emergency Decree last month.

“Although that was a good sign for tourism, it has not yet restored confidence in foreign tourists.”

He added: “The industry needs two to three months to see a positive trend from the market…tour agents themselves are reluctant to start marketing more aggressively, as they are afraid they will not get a good response from potential travellers.”

During the first three months, Russia led the field with 223,314 trips, a decrease of 9.70% from 247,314 visits during the same period last year.

China followed with 176,564, down 53.40% from 378,859.

The next in top five markets were: Japan (31,597; -65.94%); India (26,731; -47.70%); and South Korea (25,822; -54.16%).

In March alone, there were 261,357 foreign tourists using travel agency services representing a decline of 40.21% from 437,159 visits during the same month in 2013.

China led with 79,453 visits, a decrease of 41.99% from 136,962 visits during the same month last year.

Russia followed with 73,481 visits, declining 11.08% from 82,633 visits.

Trips from India were also down 43.24%, on 11,123 visits compared to 19,598.

Japan in fourth place recorded 8,280 visits and a decline of 73.31% from 31,027 while South Korea in fifth with 7,694 down 49.22% from 15,153.

The next top five markets in March were: France (6,336; -26.69%); Germany (6,110; -38.01%); Indonesia (4,165; -49.82%); the United Kingdom (3,923; -47.02%); and Taiwan (3,689; -73.42%).

Top 10 source markets for ATTA agents January to March at Suvarnabhumi Airport

Eight beaches in Thailand named among top 25 beaches in Asia on TripAdvisor

Eight of Thailand’s spectacular beaches have been voted by international visitors to be among the top 25 beaches in Asia, according to TripAdvisor’s latest poll, the 2014 Travellers’ Choice Awards.

This latest international acclaim came just less than a month after five of the kingdom’s most pristine islands were honoured among the world’s best by, also, TripAdvisor travellers (TAT Newsroom, 5 March, 2014 – Thailand’s Island Gems voted among the world’s best by TripAdvisor travellers)

In the top 25 beaches in Asia, three of Thai beaches were voted in the top 10 – Nai Harn Beach (No. 5), Rai Le Beach (No. 7) and Phra Nang Beach (No. 10). Five other beaches are Kata Noi Beach, Long Beach at Ko Lanta, Freedom Beach, Karon Beach and Salad (Thai word for pirate).

Mr. Thawatchai Arunyik, TAT Governor said, “Thailand has long been known as one of the world’s best destinations for sun, sea and sand holidays. Apart from these eight beaches that have been acclaimed by the TripAdvisor travellers, there are many more beaches in the country for tourists to enjoy both along the west coast of Andaman Sea and on the Gulf of Thailand.”

Out of eight Thailand’s beaches voted in the TripAdvisor’s 2014 Travellers’ Choice Awards’ Asia’s Top-25 list, four are in Phuket, three in Krabi and one in Surat Thani.

Nai Harn Beach, which was ranked the highest among Thailand’s beaches that were voted into the list, is one of Phuket’s most popular tourist destinations, but it has successfully retained its natural charming beauty, clean and tranquil atmosphere.

Also on the beautiful island of Phuket, Kata Noi offers soft sand, crystal clear water and the lush green jungle backdrops while Karon Beach boasts a 5-km stretch of fine white sand. Last, but not least, Freedom beach is secluded in a private bay near the popular Patong Beach, and offers a stretch of soft powdery white sand.


Next to Phuket, the lovely Krabi province saw three of its pristine beaches much loved by TripAdvisor travellers. Rai Le and Phra Nang Beaches are both a part of the Rai Le peninsula and are only accessible by boat. These tranquil, relaxing beaches with jaw-dropping scenery have limestone cliffs that attract rock climbers from all over the world.

Also in Krabi, Long Beach (Hat Yao) belongs to TripAdvisor’s 2014 Travellers’ Choice Award’s top-10 island Ko Lanta. This beach is said to have the softest and finest white sand in all of Krabi beaches.

While most of the beautiful Thai beaches that were voted into the Asia’s top-25 list are located on the west coast of Andaman Sea, a charming beach in the Gulf of Thailand has also taken a place in the heart of the globetrotters. Salad Beach is about 600 metres long and is said to be one of the prettiest and most unspoiled beaches on the famous Ko Phangan, offering picturesque white sand mixed with dead coral in places.