16 February 2009

Bringing Xcalibur Home: Taking Delivery of the A340 aircraft for London

Azran

By Azran

Friday 6 February marks another proud milestone for us, as the A340-300 aircraft touches down in sunny KL for the first time, after a flight that started from the depths of winter in North America. Our A340-300, or Xcalibur, is a pioneering symbol in many ways.

It is the first A340 to be registered in Malaysia, and my two Chief Pilots, Capt Azhanudin (Operations) and Capt Thevamanohar (Safety), have the honour of being the first two pilots registered for A340 operations for a Malaysian Airline – although they have had extensive experience with this aircraft model with a foreign airline in their previous employment.


Captain ‘Han’ from Xcalibur’s cockpit

Xcalibur will also be deployed for our much awaited London sector – which is also a trailblazing route in the world of low-cost aviation. Its 13-hour flight time will be the longest low-cost service in the world today. Traditionalist aviation sceptics say that the A340 is a costly aircraft with its four engines compared to the A320 or A330 models. However, what’s more important is that it is still more efficient compared to the Boeing 747 aircraft that is usually used for these long distance routes – in terms of fuel efficiency, maintenance cost, as well as the cockpit commonality with the A320 and A330 models, allowing us to have a common pool of pilots that give us scale advantage.

While most of us were taking our warm tropical weather here in Southeast Asia for granted, my team of pilots and engineers had to brave extreme winter temperatures of minus 20 degrees Celsius over a couple of weeks to inspect this A340 aircraft that had just completed a major maintenance check, ensure that all the regulatory requirements are met (and registering the aircraft as a ‘9M’ Malaysian aircraft), and taking physical delivery of the aircraft with a flight of over 20 hours back to KL (with a stopover in London’s Stansted Airport).

For some members of the team, it was the first time that had encountered such harsh cold temperatures. Some had to borrow thick winter coats and sweaters. Taking technical delivery of aircraft is not an easy feat. It involves intense round-the-clock work to ensure that all the details are attended to, and that we take an aircraft only if it meets a stringent list of safety and technical specifications. Being so far away from their families for several weeks can also add to the challenge for our team. For this, I’m truly proud of and grateful to Capt Han, Theva and Sahari, as well as Anaz and his team of dedicated engineers.

My X-team!

Xcalibur will also see us pioneering a new standard of seat comfort. As you can see, the XL seats are full business class seats that will provide executive-level comfort for prices comparable to economy fares on other legacy carriers, and a fraction of typical business-class fares. Next year, we’re even looking at replacing these seats with full lie-flat bed seats. Even the economy class seats are the most comfortable in AirAsia’s fleet – with legroom, width and recline comparable to any premium airline.

Initially, these seats will not be equipped with in-seat entertainment screens. These will be introduced when we refit the aircraft next year. However, we will be providing portable media players for rent during the long London flights.

Wish us well as we keep pushing the envelope and take low-cost travel to new heights! Look out for Xcalibur on its debut flight on London on 11 March.

  • Wai Tian

    Wao~ It’s Airasia’s A340!
    The only 1 4-engines Airbus in Malaysia~!

  • Jeremy

    Well done, Mr. Azran! AirAsia always kept its promise ~ making everyone’s dream come true! That’s the reason why many are flying with your airline. Hope for more flights to other European cities soon!

  • Shi Han

    AirAsiaX did another amazing job!

    looking forward to inaugural flight to London’s Stansted!

  • Kung Yung

    Looks like it’s an ex-Air Canada aircraft?

  • Garlic

    Up! Up! AirAsiaX!

  • Shih Ween

    I’ll be fying to London in Dec. Mr Azran, will there be power sockets available to charge laptops?

  • Jack

    Hi Azran, Proud with AirAsia! Any chance to view the painted air craft n refurbish interior soon?
    I wanna show it to my family at london for their next visit to go for airasia. I definitely on AAX to London.

    thx
    Jack

  • Goh

    I’ll be fying to London in Apr 2009. Mr Azran, will there be power sockets available to charge laptops and MP3 in the current A340? Is it FOC or chargable?

    How about the in-flight entertainment system? How much is the rental?

    What other special features can be found in the A340?

  • Azran

    Thanks for the comments:

    1. No, AirAsia X aircraft presently are not equipped with individual power sockets to charge laptops. We’re working on this as a future enhancement.

    2. Jack – send me an email to azran@airasia.com in about 7 days time. I’ll look into an opportunity for you to view the aircraft.

    3. Unlike our new A330s, this A340 will presently not have the USB port to charge iPods/phones for free. We will add this feature when we refurbish the seats next year.

    4. It will presently not have in-seat entertainment but we will be providing portable media players for rent. It should be around RM30-35, subject to agreement with the equipment provider.

    The most special feature of this A340 will be its most comfortable seats in the AirAsia family.

  • Kwong Yan

    Hi Azran,

    Would be great if AirAsia or AirAsia could organize an ‘open day’ for the general public to view the aircraft. It will be real cool…. Have been on Virgin Atlantic A340 – it is great aircraft. Keep up the good work n keep everyone flying!

  • Azran

    Thanks Kwong Yan.

    If there is sufficient interest, will definitely organise something prior to aircraft going into service in London on 11 March. Do send me an email and I’ll be sure to send you updates (and will update on this blog too).

  • Swee King

    Hi Mr. Azran, I’m flying with airasia to brisbane and hangzhou soon. I tried to find the economy seats picture so that i know what to expect in a 8 hours flight. Is the seat same as the picture of the A340 ?

    tq.

    Alex
    dumeort@yahoo.com

  • Shi Han

    Swee King, you may check out the A330 interior pictures in airliners.net :D

  • Goh

    Hi Mr Azran,

    I’ll be fying to London in Apr 2009.

    Could you please provide information on the entertainment device? What sort of prog is provided? How much is the rental?

    The pre-purchased RM38 meals come with 2 meals and drink. Could you provide more detail on the meal? Is it just a main course or will it come with some salad, fruits, desert? What sort of drink is provided?

    How long exactly is the flight from KL -Stensted? 13hrs can reach there?

    Since there is no in seat entertainment, will there be a big common screen showing passengers the flight plan (eg. where is the current location, current local time, remaining flight time to destination, etc)?

    Any special features that can be found only in this A340 and not other commercial international flight?

    By the way, how old is the leased A340?

    I wish more information on the A340 can be found on the website.

    Thank you.

  • Azran

    Dear Goh,

    1. Information on Pre-Booked Meals is available on our website. Click ‘More Info’ in the section where you choose the pre-booked meals. It will explain that for the London route, we will serve two separate meals, the description of the meals (whether you choose Asian or Western). The drink is mineral water. And no, we don’t throw in salads, fruits or dessert because that adds to cost and not everyone appreciates them.

    You may purchase other snacks/desserts onboard to supplement your main meal. The full menu is also available on our website under “Products & Services / Snack Attack / AirAsia X menu”

    The length of the flight is also available from the booking departure and arrival times. Its approximately 13 hours one way and 14 hours the other way due to winds. However, long-haul flights can vary by up to 1.5 hours depending on strong headwinds or tailwinds.

    No, there is no big common screen to provide information or entertainment. All these extras add to cost and are not critical to all passengers.

    The A340 flight to london will take you there safely, comfortably, on time (unless external circumstances or safety precautions necessitate a delay) – and for the best price!

    That’s what we believe passengers value the most – not extra fancy frills that add cost and weight to the aircraft.

  • Naim

    Hi Alex/SweeKing,

    I’ve just flown with AirAsia X’s new A330s to Gold Coast and Melbourne, on both machines 9M-XXA and 9M-XXB. Well, while the planes flew well, the seats were pretty narrow, I reckon a couple of cm narrower than the seats on AirAsia’s A320s.

    Got some pics, pls go to:
    http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c207/matny/IMG_2672.jpg
    http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c207/matny/IMG_2671.jpg
    http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c207/matny/IMG_2241-1.jpg

    Btw the seat slides down, instead of the old style recline. A problem for taller ppl, the lack of space between seats will make the sliding seat cramped.

  • Allan

    Hi Mr.Azran,

    The A340 looks Great! the new XL is just what we need. Will we be able to book Gold Coast to London or will they remain seperate bookings?

    And the G/Coast to KUL Arrives: 3:10pm Is there enough time to then travel KUL to London which departs: 5:00pm
    Thanks, Allan

  • Andrew

    Hi Tony & Azran, I applaud AirAsia and AXX – moving to greater heights in its business. But hear it from me as a customer. In terms of supporting customer feedback, it is still a very weak point. Phone is just recorded messages, feedback form is just robotic answers, customer service counter – answer – mostly don’t know or cannot. Kindly let us, the customers, know how and what to do… do hope this will not fall on deaf-ear again. If I have to come to this point to get in touch with the right channel – it must have showed how poor is the current customer service support.

    Thank you.

  • Azran

    Dear Andrew.

    We hear you loud and clear. We have a lot more to do to improve our customer service, and many initiatives are underway.

    Call Centre capacity is being increased significantly and we have seen a significant improvement on service metrics over the last 2 weeks.

    A lot of queries though, including changing flights, etc can be done via the website without having to call the call centre.

    Our also revamping our customer service delivery training programme for staff under a new AirAsia Academy Director.

    And we’ll continue to use blogs to communicate to our guests.

  • Azran

    Hi Allan,

    You need to make two separate bookings for London-KL and KL-Gold Coast.

    Under normal circumstances (95%+ of the time), that connection time is sufficient. However, there may be exceptional circumstances which may cause delays that lead to missed connections. Best to get travel insurance for protection to get next available flight.

  • Adam

    I congratulate you guys on starting up the route to London.
    I was one of the budget travelers who tic-tacked their way from Perth to Singapore to Hong Kong, to get a cheap fare on Oasis Hong Kong Airways.
    Now you have saved me 2 flights!
    Let’s hope the route proves profitable.

    One question Azran, will the XL seats be re-configured when you do the new fit out on the planes using this route?

    Cheers

    Adam

  • Azran

    Hi Adam,

    When we reconfigure the seats in 2010, we’re looking at getting even better XL seats – lie-flat beds for the A340. I’m also looking at using these lie-flat beds for the XL seats on our A330s, if there’s demand.

    We’re making good progress getting better economy seats as well.

  • Muqaddis

    Yesterday (3rd March 2009) I saw the A340 landed in Penang International Airport. Any plans to operate the aircraft from Penang to other long haul destinations or merely “additional testing” locally?

  • Azran

    Hi Muqaddis,

    We were warming up the 340 with some short runs before the big London debut on 11 March.

    We’ve been considering Penang as a second long-haul hub, but we would need to get to a much bigger scale before we can expand into a second hub – so not in the near future.

  • Wai Hoong

    Hi Azran

    I know you’ve confirmed above that the A340 seats do not have power supply for laptops. I was not sure if this applies to XL seats. I’ve noticed on the photo above, the XL seats have EMPOWER ports located towards the lower part of the outer armrest. I have also checked this against photos found on the internet for Air Canada’s A340-300 Executive First which clearly shows the EMPOWER ports located at the exact same position.

    Since this aircraft is an ex-Air Canada’s fleet, are we right to assume that the XL seats will have power supply via the existing EMPOWER ports? The main reason I want to know this is so that I don’t have to spend another £100 getting a second battery for my laptop. As you know, majority of the laptops can only provide power, even on a full charge, up to an average of 5-6hours which is impossible to sustain on a 13 hour flight.

    Regards
    DW

  • Darren

    Hello all, here at London Stansted [STN] we are looking forward to the arrival of AirAsiaX on the 11th March.

    For the people who have never used [stn] it is a very nice modern and easy Airport to navigate with a very good transport network to the City of London and Cambridge to mention just two, the Airport has a train station built into the terminal as well as a coach station
    If anyone needs any help or advice I will try my best to help you I have years of experience working in the terminal as customer services but now work as a cargo agent (just ask if you need anything)… Darren…

  • Gurcharan Singh

    Dear Azran,

    I regularly travel from KL to London and this time I have opt to fly with AirAsia in May. I am looking forward to this new experience.

    The only concern that I hope AirAsia could address is:
    1. Having the entertainment unit available as soon as the first flight to Stansted. If possible do have this option avialble online where booking and payment could be done as the flight booking is done.

    2. Travelling on a 13 hour flight maybe fun for some but could be a great difficulty to others, so if AirAsia could get the power socket as early as possible would be a great help because it allows one to work or watch a movie on one’s portable device.

    3. I am aware that AirAsia seems to have a standard menu that applies to almost all local and domestic routes. Yes, I am aware that there will be an addition to the prebooked meals, however will there be an additional / a wider range of choice of food that can be purchased in flight, as compared the standard list avialable.

    4. Lastly I wish AirAsia, great sucess in all their future plans and I being Malaysian is proud of their acheivements.

    GS

  • Azran

    Dear GS,

    1. We will have portable media entertainment players available for rent on the A340 for our London service, starting from day 1 this wednesday. We are working on a pre-booked option and will announce it when it becomes available.

    2. There may be an in-seat power option for our XL seats, but definitely not the economy seats this year. Power sockets in every seat is not cheap. Its a very significant capex cost plus weight on the airplane.

    3. A wider selection of food leads to complexity in terms of procurement, inventory and wastage. Its not an easy balance. My primary objective first and foremost is to provide a reliable and safe passage at the lowest possible fare. Airlines often get so caught up in frills and nice-to-haves that cost suddenly escalates quickly.

    best
    azran
    2.

  • Alexandru

    Hi Mr. Azran,

    First of all, I’m really impressed that someone of your position in an airline as big as AAX take the time to post here, and even answer questions. Really, good job!
    Secondly, one small question: in the light of the new pictures with the A340′s XL seats, I’m taking into consideration upgrading my reserved seats from economy to XL. To make this I must pay the 20 pound/seat/sector, as if I changed the dates of the flight. Can there something be made about this?
    Also, I made a reservation for a domestic flight with AA and it gaved me the option to book a bus to KL Central. Can this be also made with STN-KUL flights? It would save me a lot of headaches…

    Wish you success with this new route!

  • Azran

    Dear Alex,

    Not sure we can do much on the change fees, as that’s the standard model. Unlike traditional airlines, we operate with very lean margins and a tight cost structure in order to deliver the lowest fares. We cannot accomodate changes without charge as that will encourage many changes which we will not be able to cope with – ultimately leading to passengers who don’t make any changes subsidising those that do – and that wouldn’t be fair.

    Given the value of the XL seats, I’m sure you’ll agree that 20 pound per sector is a small and fair price compared to the value of the seat.

    Let me look into the bus tickets, but in any event, you can purchase the Skybus tickets to KL Sentral onboard the STN-KUL flight. Just ask our crew.

  • Goh

    Hi Azran,

    Could I know the layout of the A340?

    Are the aircraft wings located from row 15 – row 30? If it does, will the window seat row 15 – row 30 view block by the wings?

    Thank you.

  • Piotr

    It is great there is a competition on London route from Malaysia. There have also been some fantastic offers initially. However prices have now gone insane, it is not really fair to offer GBP 700 economy return fare on STN-KUL route given the “downside” of flying lowcost. In principle a lowcost should stay a lowcost without going extreme with prices. And I am talking about March booking for July flights not a last minute emergency flying. Note that MAS now has summer fares lower than AAX and from LHR to main terminal KLIA, which we agree has better transportation options. I would love to see Air Asia’s route to STN being a success as I am a faithful customer for 5 years plus on Asian routes. However, it breaks my heart when I see MAS selling cheaper and providing full airline service. Please reconsider prices for this flight, I know it is difficult to balance but still economy tickets before taxes should never reach over GBP 150 one way, otherwise the route will not be competitive when you know you have to add luggage, meals, drinks, comforters, entertainment system, all these being included in MAS fare. XL seat looks fantastic, cannot wait to fly in August, though. Again GBP 451 one way is harsh on people although more bearable than GBP 242/303 economy fare frequently shown). Hope you will add at least one more European flight within a year or two, something closer to Eastern Europe perhaps and with good lowcost connections as with STN. Wishing all the best and hope the fare problems can also be solved once the route is firmly settled.

  • Azran

    Dear Goh,

    Wings are located around rows 15 to 28. The windows at these seat rows are not fully blocked by the wings because it is below the window level, so views to appreciate still aplenty.

  • Azran

    Dear Piotr,

    We don’t predetermine fares for our seats. They are done by a computer model based on a ‘load-active-yield-passive’ model, which means we actively manage seat volume rather than price.

    The computer starts with very low prices and moves up with subsequent seats sold on each flight based on how fast seats are sold.

    July is a super peak season for the London route, and all of the low fares offered since November, including hundreds of GBP99 for July, have been snapped up. The seats remaining are the last few available on some of these flights.

    We’re trying to encourage price conscious travellers to consider alternative dates so that we can spread out our loads.

    Before AirAsia X, there’s no way Malaysia Airlines would have offered these fares during the July peak season. Amazing what competition does.

    But some good news coming: We’re finalising our plans to add 2 more additional flights weekly (bringing London to daily service) and hope to start in July. Stay tuned. Once we announce and open for sale, there will be low-low fares for July 2009 on these two extra flights…

  • Andrew

    Hi Azran,

    Great news on the second A340 coming in July. Is it also an ex Air-Canada or similar (i.e. will it have the same seat layout in economy & XL class).

    The only negative I can see is that you have regularised the schedule for winter with all flights to London now arriving at 22:00. This is bad news for many of us as it means we need to overnight in Stansted/ London in order to connect to our destinations.

    Also i think this schedule prevents airasia-X adding a second european destination (with these 2 planes) as there will not be enough time between the daily London flights. Have you plans to acquire more A340′s for other European / US routes.

    Best regards, Andrew

  • Peter

    Hi Azran,

    You said that Air Asia will install 50 flat beds on the A340 to London in 2010. How will the new layout be?

    Will it reduce the 60 inch seat pitch and width of the ex- Air Canada business class seat?

    Will the flat bed exceed the price of the old XL seat?

    Thank you.

  • Azran

    I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned 50 XL seats. Tony may have once.

    My latest plan is only 18 XL seats when we refit the A340s next year, so that we can have more rows of economy.

    But the XL seats will be even better than the AirCanada business class seats! Still full 60″ pitch and 2-2-2 configuration, but lie-flats in pods – the current generation of premium business class seats! With In-Seat Power!

  • Damien

    Hi Azran,

    I have made a booking on May (during Air Asia Promotion) for a trip to London in November 09 and already made the full payment. Air Asia now do not charge any admin fees and when i try to select again for the flight to London in November, the price is much more cheaper when i made my booking in May. I thought those who book early will have cheaper tickets than those who book later. In this situation, will Air Asia do anything for the sake of being fair to their customers who made early bookings? Thanks.

  • Azran

    Dear Anonymous,

    The changes in fares currently is exceptional and unprecedented. All airlines are struggling to survive with a dramatic reduction in demand for travel.

    I don’t think any airline is in a position to provide refunds for higher fares purchased earlier.

  • Azran

    Dear Andrew,

    I note your concern on our new 22:00 arrival time for London. Its difficult to set a perfect time that matches all the other requirements:
    - connecting arrivals into STN
    - connections to/from Australian ports
    - connections to Southeast Asia on arrival in KL

    We are not looking to add anymore european destinations with the existing 2 A340s. We hope to secure more aircraft and move to a double-daily frequency to London – that will solve the connectivity.

  • Satwinderjit Singh

    Hello Sir,
    Will Air Asia X will be expecting more A340′s in future before the arrival of A350-900 aircraft?
    Congratulations on the launch of new Xcellence Oakland Raiders A340. Keep up the good spirit of true Malaysian

    Regards,
    Satwin Hans

  • Azran

    Dear Satwin,

    We are opportunistically looking at leasing more A340s if market rates are attractive – because they would give us interim capacity (until the A350XWB comes in 2016) – to do more European or North American destinations.

    Best
    -a

  • Peguy

    Hello ;-) i plan a trip from London to Kuala Lumpur, i want to book a premium seat, but i am sure to have a A340 on that trip (on the web site you also show pics of the A330)
    Thanx

  • Azran

    Dear Peguy,

    For our London flights, it will definitely be operated with our A340s, as the A330s are not capable of flying that distance non-stop.

    -a

  • Peguy

    Thanx for the answer ;-) do you plan to have fly from Paris to Kuala Lumpur? Will be really great!
    xxx
    Bruno

  • Sze Chin

    i am looking forward for Kuala Lumpur to Paris flight. I hope it will be real soon. =)

  • Azran

    Paris-KL will be a tough one. Its very closely protected.

  • Ahmad Ridzuan

    Will AirAsia fly to Japan this year?

  • Wai Tian

    Yea… When is AirAsiax introduce Japan and Korea flight? I’m waiting.. =P

  • Azran

    Hi – your comments give us more determination to pursue the Japanese and Korean markets.

    However, Japan is definitely out for 2009. Korea may be unlikely as well, as our application has been held up at the regulatory level.

    We should get to these two markets next year.

  • Satwinderjit Singh

    Sir,there are 2 questions that I would like to ask you regarding :
    1. Is Air Asia’s A340-330 is occupied with cameras which is located at the tail of the aircraft and also on the landing gear as the A340-600 series aircraft for pilots to navigate?

    2. Is it possible to lease the A340-500 series aircraft as it carries more passengers and also have higher millage to go further non stop?

    Hope to hear from you,Sir

    Regards,
    Satwin Hans

  • Azran

    Hi Satwin,

    1. Nope. Those cameras are only for the 346 because of its extra-long fuselage. Our 343s are similar in length as our 333s, so no need cameras to maneuver the aircraft.

    2. Its possible, but the economics of the 345 are ugly. Its main advantage is the range, but that means a bigger op cost/seat penalty. We’re happy with the range of the 343 – London direct is about as far as we need to go.

  • Angus

    Dear Mr Azran

    I just booked flights from Stanstad to Kuala Lumper for me and my family, flying July 2010 and may I say at an exceptional price. I note that you have said that the A340 planes are going to be refitted next year to include in-seat entertainment. Will this be done before we fly in July, I have two young children to entertain on a very long flight.

  • Azran

    Dear Angus.

    There will be in-flight entertainment but we cannot confirm now whether they will be in-seat or portable units in July 2010.

    From my personal experience with my kids, best to supplement with their own Nintendo DS/PSPs, books and toys too. Variety is best on a long-haul flight.

  • Sy Ying

    Hi Mr Azran, I’m a 17 year old teenager. This december will be my first fLight to Europe(london) without my parents company. Sir,I’m shock with the unaccompanied minor rules air asia has set. Apparently, you guys won’t assist any unaccompanied minor. To me it sounds cruel.What if I lose my way in the Stansted airport?
    2.Sir, I called up to ask if there is any in flight entertainment for my flight which is the D7 2008&D72009. The operator mentioned that both of the flights have in-flight entertainment which is attached to the seat instead of the protable ones. Is it true? Because she spoke so fast and sounded so unfriendly as if I’m taking up her time and I was intimidated.Does the inflight entertainment apply to economy seats too?
    3) Will there be a chance where in-seat power socket available for economy seats during december 2009?

  • Azran

    Dear Sy Ying,

    I prefer if you did not exaggerate. We do have a policy of accepting unaccompanied minors older than 12 years old. 12-16 years of age, we require that the parent/guardian sign a indemnity waiver form. And Above 16 (as in your case), can travel without requiring any forms signed.

    We provide assistance similar to all of our guests. On arrival, our agents are on hand to provide any assistance that you may require. There are also airport staff all over Stansted and information counters are available too.

    Stansted is a much easier airport to get around compared to Heathrow.

    For our A340 flights, we only have portable entertainment units and we do not have in-seat power sockets available – definitely not for December 2009.

  • Jill

    Dear Mr Azran,
    I live in Perth and recently booked seats to the UK during the recent sale period. The prices were great. However, I also recently flew to Bali with AirAsia and the seats were so uncomfortable. It is just bearable on that flight as it is short at only 3 and a half hours but the Perth to KL is 5 hours. Are the seats different on the Perth KL route? And the Kl to London route? I am really concerned about the comfort. I am not tall so it was not a leg room problem but they were very upright with no lumbar support and thrust my head and shuolders forward. Everyone seemed to have a similar problem.
    I appreciate your response.
    Thank you

  • Abdullah

    Hi Azran

    Im reading contradictory information everywhere.

    Is Japan 100% out for this year 2009?

    I know the visa issue has been finally sorted.

    So whats holding Airasia back? Japan’s a huge market!

    Also has that debt to the govn been paid or settled yet? Because that was the main reason korea and sydney’s approval was withheld.

    Japan was supposed to happen in 08 then 09 and then visa issues sorted so it was supposed to be 09 but you stated 010.

    do tell.

    thanks

  • Satwinderjit Singh

    Hello Anonymous,

    Yes.It is true that we all also aware of Air Asia opening their route to Japan. The reason they are holding back is due to awaiting of their latest A330-300 aircrafts which will be arriving around end of this year from Toulouse. The reason of delaying Seoul and Sydney is due to our Government did not gave ‘green light’ to fly there but both Seoul and Sydney are showing their ‘green light’ for Air Asia to be there. Let us all hope Sir Azran,Dato Tony and the management would really handle this situation soon by having us all enjoy the fleet around the globe.

    Cheers,
    Satwin Hans

  • Azran

    I don’t think we’d ever commit to a timeline for Japan, and definitely not in 2008.

    We said we’d look at it end-2009 but many issues come to play.

    Route selection is not easy, there are many factors that we have to balance.

    Moreover, the global aviation market is also going through a rollercoaster!

    In times like this, important for us to consolidate and expand cautiously. Japan is a completely new market with its own complex market, distribution system, language, etc.

    Yes its a big market and remains a target for us. But I can say that Japan is definitely out for 2009.

  • Jill

    hi Azran,
    I left a previous comment regarding the seats and have not had a reply. Could you please answer my question. I appreciate your time.
    Thanks
    Jill

  • Azran

    Dear Jill,

    The Bali-Perth service is operated by Indonesia AirAsia and they use the smaller A320 aircraft.

    Perth-KL is operated with the larger A330 aircraft and KL-London with the A340 aircraft.

    The longer A340 aircraft for the LOndon flight will not be a problem at all. The seats are as per you see in this post – they are AirCanada seats so same as any legacy airline.

    The Perth-KL flight has 2 inches more legroom than the Bali flight, but it is 1 inch narrower. It does have a headrest (wing), but the recline is through a glide forward system which some dont find comfortable.

    But next year, from Jan-Jun 2010, we are changing all of the A330 seats to more comfortable economy class seats.

  • Kung Yung

    Hi Azran,

    Glad to know that the A330 seats will be changed for the better. I’ve got a tall Scottish friend who recently flew from Perth to KL and back and because he was already 6′ tall, his knees were already “wedged” against the front seat, thus the glide forward button was not practical and he had a hard time on both flights.

    I’ve just learnt that Gulf Air is putting up their A340 on sale / lease. Would Xanadu be interested?

    Bert.

  • Azran

    Depends on the gross weight of the aircraft and engine type – and of course what lease rate they are looking for. We would not purchase A340s.

  • Norman

    Thank you for the chance to get info.
    I am travelling KL to UK on 26th Jan 2010, will there be individual screens installed by then ?, or if not, how can I prebook a player ?.
    Also, is there anywhere I can find a plan of the seat arrangements on the A340 which I believe is the plane I shall be on ?.
    cheers,
    Norman

  • Azran

    Hi Norman,

    As per comments posted, no individual screens on our A340 (for London).

    For the moment, we have not launched pre-booked entertainment players. Still working on it.

    Seat maps for all A330/A340 aircraft available in the booking page – after selecting flight/dates.

  • Norman

    Thank you Azran for your info , it was fortunate that I checked my seat bookings which I made on Aug 14th because I find I have been moved from 13K both ways to 13 G both ways, ????????????, I phoned and spoke to an extremely efficient young man named Ravel who was able to relocate me to 13K on the UK leg but was unable to reasign me to my original choice on the return leg ??????, So, what is the point of booking only to be moved without notification or explanation ???, and if “they” can move you one time !!!, why can’t they move you back again ???, I asked these questions but was not able to geta an answer, maybe you can tell me ??????.
    My booking No is XNDKDR and would appreciate any assistance you can offer .
    Thanks,
    Norman

  • Nayeemur

    Hi Azran,

    I have recently found out that some economy seats on the Airbus A340-300 and would like to know what these seats are were in order for me to change my seats to a more comfatable location.

    My second query is the in-flight entertainement that will be available on the stansted-kl flights and whether that would be available in time for the stansted to kl flights in March.

  • Azran

    Dear Anon,

    Not sure about your query on our seats for the A340-300. The pictures of the seats are shown in this blog. They are the same economy class seats as in any full-service expensive airline. Seat pitch is 32″.

    For location of seats, please check our seat map on airasia.com. Its after the booking process once you’ve selected flight dates.

    In-Flight entertainment on A340 London flights will be portable media players. Please check out my other blog article on in-flight entertainment for pictures of the media player and more info in the comments to the blog post.

    Best
    -a

  • Nayeemur

    Hi Azran

    Following on from the previous anonymous commenter, I wanted to know whether the in seat flight entertainment system would be installed to the Airbus A340 for stansted two and fro flights by March 2010, as I am tavelling within that time.

    My last point is on the point of food on the flight and whether it would run out if I had not pre-booked my meals.

  • Azran

    Hi Anon,

    No plans to install in-seat IFE on the A340. Will stick to portable units – including during March 2010.

    Its best to pre-order food. You get real savings on pricing. Some times on long-haul flights, some pax tend to buy more than one order of perishable hot meal, so there is a chance it might run out.

  • Rose

    What a pity the plane is so noisy as it crawls across the Essex sky just before midnight! Not a good advertisement for you, I’m afraid, to have one of the noisiest aircraft.

  • Liz

    The 11.20pm flight from Stansted goes over my house at 11.38 every night. It is very low and extremely noisey! If my car made that much noise I would be prosecuted!! Why can’t it take off earlier when we’re not all trying to sleep??

  • Azran

    Dear Liz,

    Thank you for writing in. This is a tough issue with many considerations.

    On our part we have been trying to move our time slots earlier in the evening. Our pilots too are employing noise abatement procedures on take-off, to ensure we’re complying with regulatory limits on noise.

    This isn’t going to eliminate the problem though. If aircraft are confined to operate only during ‘regular hours’, Stansted will reach its saturation point (it already is at peak during most of the day) – and that will accelerate the requirement for a second runway, which brings even bigger community issues.

    Extending operating hours allows Stansted to be much more efficient with its existing infrastructure.

  • Liz

    I think that an earlier flight time could help.

    I have to say that I don’t agree with your comment that Stansted is at it’s peak during most of the day and that this wouldn’t be possible.

    BAA’s own evidence for the G1 planning inquiry showed that 35 million passengers per year could be accommodated on the existing runway during regular hours.

    At present Stansted is only handling 20 million passengers per annum, so there is currently considerable spare capacity in the day using just one runway.

    Furthermore, while Air Asia X night flights are scheduled to depart at 11.20pm, they almost invariably fail to depart before 11.30pm. The significance is that 11.30pm is the start of the core night period designed to limit the number of flights and the noise disturbance during this sensitive night period.

    Whilst I appreciate the efforts of your pilots trying to be as quiet as possible, the noise abatement departure procedure according to ICAO standards will not give any noise relief where I live. It only provides some relief for a few people living near the airport and not for the many more people under the flight paths across Essex.

  • Stephen

    Dear Azran

    I see from news articles in the Business section of the Star Newspaper that you have started fitting the new XL seats – do you have any idea when these newly fitted planes will be on the STN to KUL route? Many Thanks

  • Azran

    Hi Stephen,

    For the STN-KUL route with our A340s, one aircraft will be ready by mid June and the other by end-June.

  • Hui Jing

    Hi Azlan,

    I intend to travel to London with Air Asia X this coming Raya, so does that mean if i book a Premium Seat today, i will get a Flat Bed in Sept, and what will happen to my seat selection? Will the new A340 flat beds come with build in entertainment system or it is still the portable units?

  • Azran

    Hi Hui Jing.

    Its Azran, not Azlan. :-)

    Thanks for choosing us to fly to London. Yes, you will get a lie-flat bed for September.

    We will revert back on Seat Assignments.

    A340 lie-flat beds will not have in-built IFE. It will have a full power socket. We will likely still use the portable units.

  • Peter

    Hi Azran,

    I will be returning from Stansted on June 23rd. When you install the flatbeds on the A340,do I just reselect my seat on the new layout? When do I do so?

    What is the pitch and width of the lie flat on the A340? Are both pitch and width on the A340 larger than the A330?

  • Azran

    Dear Peter,

    We’re working on the seat migration from the old configuration to the new configuration. For the A340, it should be straightforward since both old new configurations are 2-2-2 rows, so current seat assignments will be maintained, and those that pre-selected rows 4 and 5 on the old configuration will be adjusted manually.

    The A340 lie-flat beds will be the same pitch as the A330 new lie-flat beds at 60″. I dont have the width with me, but its the standard width for a 2-2-2 config.

    azran

  • Colin

    Dear Azran,
    I am about to book 2 return tickets Perth-KL-London and back, leaving first week in July and returning mid-September. Will the lie-flat seats be installed by then?
    Colin Watt.

  • Azran

    Yes Colin.

    I do want to alert you that we’re trying to add 2 more weekly flights to London, from 7x weekly to 9x weekly, and unfortunately, that will change the timing of the KUL-STN flights on some days.

    We’re about to change the times in the next couple of weeks once we get UK govt slot approvals.

    Good news though is we’re about to introduce a service for connecting passengers who want their bags transferred to the next flight and go straight to departure lounge without having to clear immigration/customs in KL.

  • Susan

    Hi Azran,

    My question is about the seating refit in the aircraft on the Perth-KL route.
    Are the PREMIUM seats at the front of the aircraft being replaced? If so, are they being replaced with the flatbed seats or something else?

  • Azran

    Hi Susan,

    Yes, all aircraft will be refitted to the same lie-flat bed seats for Premium and new ergonomic, reclinable seats for Economy.

    So yes, PERTH will also have the flatbed seats in front. Its by aircraft and not by route, so Perth would be some time around April-May.

  • Colin

    Hi can you tell me when the winter flights for 2010/11 are likely to go on sale?

  • Azran

    Hi Colin,

    We’re targeting for early March. Later than we normally extend schedules, but we’re coming up with a new website layout.

    Big sale coming…

  • Christopher

    Hi Azran!

    I have just a few questions for you, currently I am doing a thesis for my studies, with the topic extending towards your carrier, one I am very much interested in the development of.

    Firstly, do you see Air Asia using a frequent flier scheme? I know for many airlines in this downturn, they have actually found that this has been the biggest money maker (selling the airpoints to affiliate companies), but am interested to hear your opinion.

    Recently I head you are looking at the possibility to through check your luggage, and I was wondering whether this may then be followed with through ticketing (I understand that under most international conventions you can still enjoy relative freedom with regards to ticket conditions stating point to point)

    Also, I am interested in whether you look at exploring fifth freedom rights to fly to destinations (specifically in my case I am interested in Australia to New Zealand, something that would require fifth freedom with Malaysian Authorities)

    Thanks Azran, reading the blog and all the information you post here is certainly far more pleasurable and informative than trying to read years worth of newspaper articles and annual reports!

    I also do understand if you would prefer not to share some of this information openly and if you feel it would be more appropriate, feel free to email me at chrishughes@vodafone.co.nz

    Best Regards,

    Chris

  • Colin

    Dear Asran,
    Thanks for the information.
    We are now booked PER-KUL 5 July and KUL-STN 6 July. I assume a 1220 arrival will not allow enough time to pick up a 1230 departure so we plan to overnight in KL. Will any new schedules to allow for the 2 extra flights to STN affect this in any way?
    Does the new baggage service mean that we can arrange for our 2 checked bags to be transferred by AirasiaX staff from the PER-KUL flight on 5 July to the KUL-STN flight on 6 July? How do we arrange this and what will it cost?
    Are you able to make any suggestions for overnight accommodation in close proximity to the airport, bearing in mind that the rooms at the Tune hotel seem to be too small for us.
    Regards,
    Colin Watt.

  • Azran

    Dear Colin,

    We’re trying to finalize the 2 extra flights. Once we get approval, we can confirm them – the extra ones will allow you to connect to London without overnighting in KUL.

    If you’ve already booked your KUL-STN, we can change it to this new flight.

    Please write to airasiax@airasia.com

  • Azran

    Moderator,

    Can you get me Christopher’s email – he posted comment on 02/12/10, 16:34

    Easier to reply directly as his question is irrelevant to this blog

  • Rob

    Azran, we’re flying AirAsia from Stansted to KL on April 16th. Will the new seats be fitted on the aircraft by this date?

  • Azran

    Hi Rob,

    No it wont. London flights will get new seats in June.

    But the London flight have the comfy AirCanada seats, so not as urgent as our A330 aircraft.

  • Peter

    Hi Azran,

    I have a few questions for you.

    1. I am looking to travel from kuala lumpur to london in October and the premium seats prices seem to be at
    RM 8217 which is comparable to business class on a full service carrier. What is the reason for the increase in price of about RM 3000? I thought that the earlier you book, the cheaper the tickets.

    2.How can I find out about the offers before they come out?

    Thank you very much.

  • Azran

    Hi Peter,

    1. Please see my new Blog Post on new seats. By June, the London flights will have lie-flat business class sleeper seats. We will also launch an overall revamp of our Premium product next month, including a number of other services bundled in for Premium.
    I checked online for flights from 10 Oct returning 22 Oct.
    AirAsia X = RM8,217 (as per your search)
    MAS = RM21,495
    Singapore = RM17,767
    Emirates = RM19,455 (with one stop).

    We are still within our target of less than 50% cheaper.

    With the seat revamp, we will also drop the number of premium seats to London from 30 currently to only 18 seats – that’s why the fares go up faster as they fill up.

    2. Please register as our RedAlert member (from airasia.com website). You will then get emails announcing upcoming sales (there’s one coming up soon!)

    Thank you for writing in
    azran

  • Yap

    Hi Azran,

    I am looking forward to my trip to Chengdu in June and the new seats.

    However I got an email from AirAsiaX stating that my flight back from Chengdu on 17 June (Thurs) has been cancelled and that I can request for a refund.

    My question is:
    Can I get a full refund for the return trip? (8 – 17 June 2010)

    Thank you

    Yap

  • Azran

    Dear Yap.

    Yes you can. We’re only cancelling 2 of the 7 weekly flights to Chengdu.

    Can move you to day before or day after, so that you can still go to Chengdu.

    Up to you. Just write to airasiax@airasia.com

  • Rhett

    Hey Azran,

    Flying from Perth-KL-London 27th of June and returning on 29th July 2010.

    Just wondering if the new seats will have been installed by then and if both routes will have in-flight entertainment on the back of seats?

    Cheers

  • Wong

    Hi Mr Azran,
    Read your blog and found very interesting Q&A.
    I flew Per-LCCT-Per June 09 and found the seat
    need to change.
    Will fly Lcct-GC-Lcct again in June 10 and wan to know if the slide seat will be refitted by that time?
    Thanks for your sharing.

  • Azran

    Dear Wong,

    Yes you will get new seats for your Gold Coast flight in June.

    Please see my other blog posting on New Seats and the commentary

    Melbourne and Perth will get new seats on 5 April
    Gold Coast and Hangzhou on 18 April.
    May – Tianjin/Chengdu/Taipei

    1 June London

  • Christopher

    Love the Airline… You guys planning on a Sapporo Route for next winter at all? :)))

  • Julie-ann

    Hi Azran
    I am looking to book Perth KL London at christmas time and I noticed in some of your comments that we can now have our bags checked through to London and go straight to the departure lounge. Can you please tell me how this is down since we still have to book the two sectors seperately. Is there somewhere on the site that we go to organise this.
    thanks

  • Azran

    Hi Julie-Ann,
    Our ‘transfer connection’ service is currently only in pilot trial phase, so we haven’t publicised it, and we want to first confirm that everything works well operationally and we can definite the specific service levels.

    The basic idea is its an optional service (for a free TBD, maybe A$20 one-way), where you identify yourself at check-in in Perth saying you want to check in all the way to London. They tag your bags accordingly, and we will transfer those bags from inbound PER-KUL flight straight to your outbound KUL-STN London flight.

    On arrival, you go straight to the Transfer Desk and not Immigration/Customs clearance. You validate your boarding pass for KUL-STN and then go through security straight into Departure Lounge.

    Presently we’re working with airport authorities to finalize this. Will only be available for flights with connections from 90 mins up to 4 hours. International-to-International only.

    Suggest you send an email to airasiax@airasia.com 2 months before your flight date if you haven’t heard from us. We should have this finalised and fully roll-out by July 2010.

  • Edison

    Hi Azran,

    I will be flying from Singapore-KL-London around end April. I am wondering will there be a transfer connection service on that route? Another thing, will there be usb/empower on XL seats to London.

    Many Thanks.

  • Edison

    Hi Azran,

    I will be flying from Singapore-KL-London around end April. I am wondering will there be a transfer connection service on that route? Another thing, will there be usb/empower on XL seats to London.

    Many Thanks.

  • Azran

    Dear Edison,

    I’m afraid I don’t think we’ll be ready for SIN-KUL-STN by the end of this month.

    First focus is on AirAsia X-to-AirAsia X. There are more challenges from AirAsia to AirAsia X because of the way bags are handled.

    More likely mid-year.

    ALso afraid XL seats to London will only come with power from 1 June with the flatbed seats.

  • Abdullah

    Hi Azran

    Any update to the Japan route since your last post on 09/01/09, 14:50 ?

    been 7 months since so wondering if there are any updates since?

    issues by now should have been substantially worked out.

    do let us know

    Thanks

  • Abdullah

    Oh and forgot to mention:

    Definately avoid ibaraki if possible.

    Considering a very large majority use public transport especially in a city like Tokyo, Ibaraki is simply too far. 3.5-4 hours journey 1 way is way too far. Not to mention just to get there would almost cost 14300yen 1 way.

    It would be in my opinion, a suicidal move and would be quite unattractive.

    Getting there and back alone would cost almost 30,000Y and almost 8hrs.

    Haneda would definately be the best choice and its even closer than Narita and more convenient and transportation to and fro is cheaper and more numerous too.
    600yen or so and around 40mins time wise is very appealing.

  • Colin

    Dear Azran,
    Just a brief note to tell you that thanks to you, Airasia and Sangeetha Nagaratnam our flights from Perth to London and back have been very satisfactorily rescheduled following your increase in the number of slots available. We are most grateful for your assistance and we look forward to long relationship with Airasia as we visit our new twin grandchildren in London on, at least, an annual basis.
    Colin & Glenda Watt.

  • Rhett

    Hey Azran,

    Just a question regarding the pick-a-seat service. I am currently booked on a few flights and have upgraded all flights to ‘hot seats’. A few weeks later i went to manage all my bookings and I had noticed on one of the flights that the seat had been moved to a regular seat? I moved it back to one of the hot seats but not the one I was originally in. Just wondering how this could happen?

  • Azran

    Dear Anonymous.

    Need more details. Can you give me details of your booking number and originals seat assignment and new seat assignment?

    If this is for an AirAsia X flight, you may want to check the latest seat layout map for our A330 and A340 aircraft in my other blog post (Finally New Seats for AirAsia X)

  • Geoffrey

    Hi Azran,

    Is there any indication yet as to when the KL – Paris flights will start?

  • Azran

    Dear Geoffrey,

    Nothing specific yet on KL-Paris.

    Still waiting to receive formal approvals from both governments.

    Unlikely this year, but planning for 2011.

  • Chan

    Hi Azran,

    Any news about Japan? i tot planning sice last year. any dates?

    appreciate ur reply!

  • Azran

    Dear Chan,

    Final stages but not ready for any announcements yet.

    Stay tuned for a white christmas holiday option.

  • Julie-ann

    Hi Azran
    Thanks for your earlier replier regarding transfers to connecting flights. As you said it is only for flight for 90 min to 4 hours would it be safe then to book the morning flight from Perth that arrives in KL around 12.20 and then the KL to London at 14.15pm?

  • Julie-ann

    Hello Azran
    thank you for responding to my earlier post regarding connecting transfers. You mention that you are trialling this and it is for flights connecting from 90mins to 4 hours. Since we are booking from Perth to KL which arrives around lunchtime, would it be safe to book the 14.15pm flight onward to London using this transfer service.

  • Azran

    Dear Julie-ann.

    Yes, enough time to catch the 14:15 flight to London.

    Transfer service will be available.

  • Julie-ann

    Hi Azran
    thanks for this….I am looking forward to booking with you.

  • Julie Ann

    Hi Azran
    I am just wondering how the availability of the transfer service to London is coming along. Recent comments on Trip advisor have indicated this is not happening.

  • Azran

    Dear Julie-Ann,

    We haven’t advertised it yet, but its available for Perth-KL-London at check-in.

  • Amelia

    Hi Azran

    Are you able to confirm if your airline will announce a service to Christchurch, NZ? If so will this new route begin this year?
    I am a corporate travel agent and there would be great interest/demand for a new service from the South Island to Asia.
    I look to forward to supporting/travelling on your airline hopefully in the near future

  • Azran

    Dear Amelia,

    We remain very interested in New Zealand. However, we’re not yet able to confirm the route until we can secure the right aircraft capacity to start the service.

  • Julie Ann

    Hi Azran
    thanks for your response. Just another query regarding the flight times. I know in one of my earlier questions about the connecting transfers you indicated that we would have sufficient time to connect through to london arriving in KL from perth on the 12.30pm flight and connecting with the 14.40 flight to London. However on the terms and conditions and FAQ’s it indicates that if we miss the flight because of Air Asia delays we will have to pay for the next available flight. Is this correct using the connecting transfers that you are going to be offering for the Perth-KL-Stansted.
    I am scared that something will go wrong and we will have to fork out a premium fare to get to London.

  • Azran

    Dear Julie-Ann,

    Apologies for the late reply – we’ve been busy launching Seoul, New Delhi and Tehran flights.

    We’ll start making the connections public from next week, but you have my word that in an unlikely event that your perth-kl flight is delayed, we will move your flight to the next stansted flight.

  • Mun Choong

    Hi Julie,
    Here is the info you need on flight transfer.

    http://www.airasia.com/au/en/transfer.html

    Hope it help. :)

  • Julie Ann

    Hello Azran

    Thank you for your comments. We have now booked our flights to London from Perth for the 20th December.
    At this time still though I have found nothing on the website to advertise the transfer check in.
    Is this still something that we request at the airport when we check in? If so is there a fee attached that we need to know about.

  • Azran

    Dear Julie Ann,

    Sorry, delays in officially launching on the website – planned now by 6 October.

    Just go to airport check-in and tell them you’re checking straight to Stansted. No fees involved.

  • Ng

    Just like to know whether the plane to seoul will be equip with the In Flight Entertainment or we will be using the portable e-player?

  • Ng

    Just like to know whether the flight to korea, seoul will be equip with the in flight entertainment or we will be using the portable e-player?

  • Julie Ann

    Hello Mun Choong

    thankyou so much for the link. I have now saved and will print this out to put with my documents.

  • Azran

    Dear Anonymous,

    We have removed all in-seat in-flight entertainment units from our seats.

    We now only have portable e-players.

  • Matthew

    Hi,
    I have a quetion regarding the ‘transfer’. We are looking to book from MEL – KUL, then KUL – LON. On the dates we want to fly, the 2nd ‘connecting’ flight (KUL – LON) is about 16 hours after the first lands. I assume we cannot use the ‘transfer’ service due to the long gap between flights. Is this correct?

    If not, does Air Asia make any assurances about making this 2nd flight? If the first flight is delayed or cancelled by Air Asia, what options do we have? I’ve read about the Shell credit. Would we receive shell Credit in this case, and would it be available immediately to purchase the 2nd flight from KUL? I can’t seem to get an answer from anyone at air Asia regarding this.

    The pricing of the premium seats is very attractive compared to other airlines, except if we risk having to purchase another 2 tickets at full price in KUL.

    Thanks