Air Asia X out to insult Malaysia

Earlier this year, AirAsia Boss Dato’ Tony Fernandes announced that FAX will be operating from Kuala Lumpur to Europe, probably starting with UK. Hence, Air Asia Express (Air Asia X) was born. Now they got Sir Richard Branson, the flamboyant billionaire owner of Virgin Atlantic to sign in as a shareholder.

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This could be regarded something unethical for Sir Richard. It is because Malaysia Airlines, the national carrier, have had code-share agreements with Virgin for so long. So for Sir Richard and Virgin to invest 20% in another airline that ply the same route, KUL-LON, is in conflict interests of the agreement.

On 14 May 2007 Air Asia X ordered 15 A330-300 aircrafts. 17 May 2007 Fernandes announced Air Asia X’s entry into the highly lucrative Australian market.

Of course some people would argue that the Air Asia X is not the same product which MAS and Virgin is serving. This would obviously create a competition for MAS, especially on its most popular and one of the most profitable route. For over 30 years now, most MAS’s planning on route management, including the acquisition of aircrafts, will be based on this route as the point of reference. For example, the order for the A380 mega jumbo 550 seat aircraft is planned for his highly lucrative route for MAS.

One funny element of Air Asia X’s amazing speed to get things done, which include landing rights and routes, especially to the UK. Usually, it will take years to get landing rights and routes approved by the bureaucratic British authorities. Some people believe that Air Asia X is swooping into landing rights that were meant to be for MAS’s additional flights to London, since MAS in the past planned their routes years in advance. This is not new since MAS official were told by Malaysian Ministry of Transport the decision to allocate routes to AirAsia which had been negotiated for MAS, like Kuala Lumpur-Jakarta and Bali sector.

Amongst the shareholders of Air Asia X are Fernandes, his partner, Dato’ Kamaruddin Meranun, Air Asia, Sir Richard, Riong Kali and FAX CEO. The tight collaboration between Riong Kali, Khairy Jamaluddin and Fernandes and Kamaruddin came into clear vision lately after the announcement of Fernandes being shareholders of ECM Libra Avenue recently.

Some people felt that for Fernandes to dress Sir Richard in a songket tengkolok and samping like that, in a business agreement ceremony was really distasteful. It is because the songket tengkolok and samping are ware for HRH Malay Rulers, the royal family, formal palace ceremonial events and occasions which involve Malay culture regalia, like weddings. A common Malay put on this ware when he receives honours from a HRH Malay Ruler. It is a ware to be treated with a lot of respect and protocol. It is not meant to be mocked for fun, like product launches and so forth.

Thus the start of Air Asia X had already insulted the Malay culture, a heritage provided under the Constitution. This event mocked a ware meant for honours investure day of HRH Malay Rulers.

Published in: on August 11, 2007 at 23:43  Comments (3)  

Sukhoi SU 30 MKMs handed over

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Dato’ Seri Mohamed Najib Tun Razak received the log books for the six Sukhoi SU 30MKMs earlier this afternoon, marked the operations of the multirole combat aircraft (MRCA) in the Royal Malaysian Airforce (RMAF).

The log books were handed over to him by Victor Komardin, the deputy director of Rosboroexport, the Irkutz based manufacturers of the superior MRCA. He later handed over the log books to RMAF Chief Jen. Tan Sri Azizan Arifin. This ceremony took place in TUDM Subang.

The will be based in TUDM Gong Kedak, a specially built air force base in the border of Kelantan-Terengganu. It is part of 18 MRCAs ordered in a USD 900 million deal signed in April 2003. The acquisition is part of a RMAF modernization program for frontline MRCAs for the defense of realm. At the moment, four pilots and two weapon system officers are being trained intensively in Russia. The next four pilots would be trained by the Indian Air Force.

Today marked a milestone in the RMAF history.

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Published in: on August 11, 2007 at 01:03  Comments (1)