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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Qantas threatens Australia to support the Emirates deal

AirDrama: Camel Race now gets ruined by Qantas' rhetoric

It all sounds logical, but its attempts to play the nationalist card throws he argument credibility away:
"Under such a scenario Australians will lose the benefit of Qantas operating a strong locally based international network airline. This is not in the national interest."
Didn't Qantas state in its announcement that it is tying up with Emirates in a bid to stem losses? Why is Qantas now saying basically, "approve it, we'll stem some losses, not approve it, we'll stem more losses..."

Did someone really chop the Roo's head off?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Lion into Malaysia - Who is the target?

AirDrama: As Lion enters Malaysia with Malindo, could Air Asia be in
denial that it is the target and continue to slag off Malaysia Airlines?

(Artwork by: Rimanti N)
  • Malindo's Malaysian shareholder is National Aerospace & Defence Industries, a state owned enterprise. They don't just go and set up companies with foreign partners just to compete with local fellow state owned enterprises do they? Just who is Malindo targetting? State owned Malaysia Airlines + Firefly because the politicians are frustrated at 'lack of progress' there? Or Air Asia (OK, did Tony Fernandes peeve off some politicians?)?
  • As Air Asia becomes stronger regionally, Tony will have to spend less time on the home turf Malaysia... is this peeving some politicians off? Elections are coming up in Malaysia, no?
  • Malindo's announcement yesterday, was attended by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib. Elections are coming up, and Tony Fernandes has run off to Jakarta... is Najib peeved off?
  • Within 24 hours of the Malindo Airways announcement, Lion Air opened its Bandung-Kuala Lumpur route, head-to-head with Air Asia group. Timing is rather suspicious.

Air Asia's Tony Fernandes was quick to tweet:
"I think Malindo is more problematic for Malaysian Airlines not AirAsia. We have very strong position in Malaysia and are really a regional company."
While I generally agree to that tweet, I wonder, perhaps his habitual slagging off of Malaysian Airlines is peeving the Malaysian politicians off?

Coincidentally, today, Tony Fernandes' other slagging victim, Tiger Airways, announced better financial results. Tiger itself is trying to set up bases around the region. As the big cats grow, could their feline ambitions be aimed at Air Asia while Tony's confidence elude Air Asia's minds from the possibility? I guess I have to wait until Tony starts slagging off Jetstar (if he has, I must have missed it!) to figure it out.

Although there is one thing I agree with Tony Fernandes regarding Malindo Air:
"Why is the airline not called Lion Air Malaysian. Strange"

Express Air new livery

Eastern Indonesian niche carrier Expressair appears to be adding another 737-200 to its fleet, this time with a new livery. The aircraft is identified as PK-TXK, previously PK-CJJ with Sriwijaya Air, and is currently undergoing an overhaul at AeroNusantara Indonesia (ANI).

Expressair currently operates 737-200s, 737-300s, 737-500s, and Do-328s.

Qantas stemming losses by throwing parties!

AirDrama: The Qantas continues like a soap opera...
(Artwork by: Rimanti N)
Qantas' decision to dump British Airways for Emirates was claimed as "to stem losses in long-haul operations"... yet, The Age reported they had a bloody nice party after the announcement, with even nicer goodie-bags to take home...

"But the biggest enigma lay within the goodie bag handed out to the needy throng. Guests got travel guides, a passport folder and a bottle of bubbly - and not just any old plonk, but Taittinger's 2000 vintage Comtes de Champagne, which fetches $320 to $350 a bottle.
So who paid for all this largesse? "It was a joint venture," a Qantas spokeswoman said. "Both Emirates and Qantas contributed to that goodie bag."
Sorry, but what was the excuse Qantas said? 
To stem losses?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Malindo Airways: Lion Air makes its roar heard in Malaysia

Indonesia's Lion Air and Malaysia's National
Aerospace & Defence Industries join hands
to set up Malindo Airways in Malaysia
Lion Air has confirmed plans to set up Malindo Airways in a partnership with Malaysia's National Aerospace & Defence Industries.

Several interesting key points were made in the event:
  • Malindo will provide a hybrid service (between LCC and full service carrier).
  • Base will initially by at KLIA2, the future home of Air Asia Malaysia
  • Malindo will start in May 2013 with 12 737-900ERs with 12 business class seats and 168 economy, with IFE and WiFi.
  • Malindo aims to add 12 aircraft a year and hit 100 aircraft in 10 years.
  • 787s will be introduced in 2015.
  • Prices for tickets and services is aimed to be on par if not lower than Air Asia.

What this means for Lion Air and possible factors:
  • Lion Air sees that its growth in Indonesia needs to slow down due to infrastructure limitations such as airport aircraft parking space are running out nationwide.
  • Lion still have A LOT of aircraft to be delivered, and they have to be used somewhere, these aircraft will now go to Malindo and to a certain extent, Batik Air.
  • The 787s slated for Batik Air is likely to go to Malindo first, Lion is negotiating for more 787s for Batik Air.
  • Lion Air sees that if it wants rapid growth, it must be done outside Indonesia. This is nothing new to Lion Air, but previous attempts to set up subsidiaries outside Indonesia have so far failed (in my opinion, due to picking the wrong partners). Malindo seems to be the most realistic one yet (and I believe it will happen).
  • Growth on the premium sector through Batik Air will not be as rapid as desired, again, due to limitations on infrastructure in Indonesia.
  • This announcement effectively put an end to the previous rumored Malaysian joint venture, Lion Berjaya Air (And unless there's another announcement, Lion Air Australia is effectively scrapped).

On the Malaysian competitors...
  • Air Asia will now have serious competition. Insiders have said that Air Asia's Tony Fernandes isn't afraid of Lion Air in Indonesia, but sees non-LCC developments of Lion Air (such as Malindo and Batik Air) as a threat.
  • Firefly needs to set its direction and stick to it, lounging around between jets and props isn't going to get them anywhere against Air Asia, and with Malindo, the might end up being the loser.
  • Malaysia Airlines will only face more challenges. Its entry into OneWorld is already being questioned by some after it's alliance sponsor Qantas decided to dump British Airways and went for Emirates. Malindo will only erode further on its short haul yields.

Looking back over the years, Lion Air have announced many plans to set up joint ventures and/or subsidiaries outside Indonesia, none of which have come to fruition. Malindo appears to be Lion's boldest move yet, with a reputable local partner in the form of NADI, and the ceremony was attended by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib.

This time around, it seems that Lion Air is planning serious business outside it's den.

Bye bye, Baby!

bmibaby takes the high road in exiting the industry after years of losses and change of ownership of the parent group.

Farewell note by Tiny, bmibaby's logo and mascot.
Baby started with the East Midlands to Malaga, so it was fitting for the last Baby landing to be done by the flight from Malaga back to East Midlands, some 10 years and 9 months later.
bmibaby never failed to find ways to end a slogan with "... baby!"
Despite the losses, Baby left on a high and orderly note instead of trying to go it alone in such a precarious situation that could, upon shutdown, leave passengers stranded. It left with good memories...

Second to last Baby departure from EMA, made by "rainbow baby"
See the First Officer holding up "Tiny" to show him the farewell crowd.
Photo by: Tom Smith
bye bye, baby!

The OneWorld Kangaroo Race heats up!

Air Drama: OneWorld's Kangaroo Race heats up with... Camels!
(Click image for Large Size! Artwork by: Rimanti N)

The Kangaroo Route is an elusive one to grab. One would expect that domination belongs to the empire and it's aftermath, that is, British Airways and Qantas, both OneWorld alliance founders. The truth is, that market is lead by: Star Alliance member, Singapore Airlines, who share its Singapore hub with the Qantas/BA European Ops scissor hub there; and the other leader and a major force to be reckoned with on this route is, Emirates.

Qantas' position on the Europe-Australia route continues to weaken. Only Frankfurt and London remain. Paris, Rome, etc, all gone. Emirates and Singapore Airlines compete vigorously on the London route, and have literally obliterated Qantas from the rest of Europe. The London-Sydney route, also sees competition from Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific (LHR-HKG-SYD). Emirates' domestic neighbour and rival, Etihad, had allied with Virgin Australia to give it better access to Australia quickly.

Qantas' position on the European routes seemed doomed. It can't ask for help from Cathay because Qantas' Jetstar is setting up operations in Hong Kong. Cathay would gladly help in exchange for Qantas to abort the Jetstar Hong Kong plans.

So Qantas decided to yet again do the unthinkable. Last week, in a bid to stem losses from its long-haul operations (and while not busy playing with Jetstar), they announced they're dumping British Airways, and moving their European cooperation to Emirates. You know the saying:
If you can't beat them... join them..
BUT this poses several perceived problems, especially within the OneWorld alliance.
  • Qantas plans to move its European scissor hub to Dubai. This means Singapore Airlines (Star Alliance) now have a free hand on the traditional Kangaroo route, and OneWorld now has literally nothing there!
  • Qantas will ally its European route to British Airways' big rival to Asia, Emirates, which do not belong to any alliance. This does not please British Airways.
  • Etihad and its alliance with Virgin Australia now poses problem for either Etihad or the OneWorld alliance because Etihad owns 29% of Air Berlin, OneWorld's newest member, who are suffering from losses, and is dependent on Etihad for its long term future.
  • Etihad will likely to strengthen its ties with Virgin Australia as a reaction to Qantas/Emirates, this could take focus and resources away from AirBerlin.
  • Malaysia Airlines' bid to enter OneWorld was sponsored by Qantas was based on a hope to have massive cooperation with Qantas (including entry to the alliance), and it remains eager to put Kuala Lumpur as a major alternative to Singapore as OneWorld's Kangaroo scissor hub which would greatly boost its aspirations to be a major player on the Kangaroo route. If Qantas does another upset by leaving OneWorld (unlikely, but Alan Joyce's consistency is as reliable as Michael O'Leary's good verbal gestures), Malaysia Airlines would not be able to enter OneWorld.

BUT, it doesn't look bad does it? British Airways could go with Malaysia Airlines to keep it's Kangaroo route presence, or go to Cathay and squash Virgin Atlantic's Kangaroo escapades... here comes the last piece of the mess...

  • British Airways had decided instead to talk on an alliance to handle the Asian (and Australian) routes with Qatar Airways , whose ambition is "to beat Emirates", which means it includes plans of dominating the Kangaroo route, and the world.
Confused? Well, you're not the only one. But don't let that worry you. Aussies are no stranger to camels, and British expats in the Middle East have camel riding as an initiation ritual... so, the OneWorld Kangaroo Race, has literally become a camel race!

So I invite all of you to caption the above illustration using the comment boxes below. You can caption the illustration as a whole, or caption what each person is saying (and if you can, keep it simple, clear, and understandable... unlike my writings!). I'll pick the best one and maybe give a prize or something... *no promises*

About the illustration:
I asked Rimanti N to make the Airdrama illustration. She's a 2nd year visual design student who is working on a comic about the airline industry (to which I am an industrial adviser in her project), with one of her comics already published while she was in high school. Aside from being a very good comic artist, she is also an AvGeek (something to do with her family's history). Follow her at @rimanti_n or find more about her work at:

Monday, September 10, 2012

Stupid costs money to fly!

O'Leary - if he's not Ryanair CEO then he might live in
mental institution with the stuff he says.

We know Ryanair's CEO O'Leary is a loudmouth, but before you complain about him on Facebook and Twitter, think again.

A 35-year-old mother of two, Suzy McLeod had to pay GBP 236 to print out boarding passes at the airport for her family to fly back home. She wrote to O'Leary to ask for compensation "as a gesture of goodwill." O'Leary in return replied, "Thank you Mrs. McLeod, but it was your **** up." She then wrote about it on Twitter, and more than 350,000 people on Facebook and Twitter backed her claim of receiving "unfair treatment."

I am no fan of O'Leary or Ryanair's seemingly "silly fees", but to ask for "a gesture of goodwill" to get the fees back for your own mistake, and the complain about it seems rather silly. Was she complaining because of being refused the compensation or because O'Leary was simply being (too) frank about it?

As much as I hate Ryanair, I have to side with them on this one. They're in the business of making money by transporting you from A to B in accordance to the terms and conditions set out. All the complaints about hidden fees make me wonder if people never read the "how to avoid fees" page on Ryanair's website.

One thing is for sure, LCC doesn't always mean Low Fares all the time for all flights... and if the fares are cheap enough, the airline has got to make it up from somewhere else. However, I do wish O'Leary would just shut up even if he's right.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Air India 787 finally gets delivered

Air India's 1st 787 gets the water cannon salute treatment at
New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport

They have ranted that the 777 is a fuel guzzler while delaying their 787 delivery because they didn't have the money... or some other excuses.

Yesterday, the delivery is finally done! (emphasis on the bolded word!)

Now, how long before Air India rants about something wrong with the 787?

Garuda fails at English test?

Language fails continue to plague Garuda!
Despite its bid to go to become a 5-star airline, entry into the SkyTeam alliance, and the amazing turnaround at Garuda, some old habits really die hard. One particular die-hard problem aspect of Garuda is: ENGLISH LANGUAGE!

No, I am not going to mention the "cabin crew English", whose correctness from real English truly depend on your seniority combined with the "I have doing this been 20 years, do you know what newbie?" mentality (in case you're wondering, "I have been doing this for 20 years, what do you know newbie?"). It's a lot worse than the crew English, it's MARKETING ENGLISH.

Dare to against the current? I thought all the fuss were
just hype until I actually saw this page!
The first time I saw this last month, I was baffled. What latest street side illegal drugs they were on when they made this, I don't know. However, taking a look at the Indonesian version, it's obvious what it means.

English translation: Dare to go against the flow?
The promotion was for those seeking to go to Jakarta for the Eid holidays when the majority of Jakartans would leave town.

I've truly lost count how many "English errors" have been made by this so-called 4-star rated flag carrier of my country, to the point where it is beyond embarrassing as an Indonesian national, so, why not keep track of the errors?

The Promo pages can be found at:

(You know I'm having an evil grin moment writing this!)