Wednesday, 15 February 2012

AirAsia to buy Singapore Airlines: Tony Fernandes

# Fernandes' Singapore Airlines sledging backfires again. 
# AirAsia slugging passengers with higher and higher fees. 
# Waiting for the AirAsia Big Sale - where did it go so wrong? 


Who could forget Tony Fernandes mind numbingly stupid anti-Singapore Airlines chutzpah: "We're Asians, not a bunch of white guys running the airlines,"? That was, of course, before we revealed that Irishman, Connor McCarthy, ex-head of Ryanair, is the co-founder and undisputed brains behind AirAsia.  

You think our appraisal is biased, that it was actually Tony Fernandes who created AirAsia? Check out 'The Age' Business Day article here. Looking at AirAsia's board back in 2005, who couldn't help but be tickled at how many 'white faces' there were, teaching the clueless politicians how to run a stolen airline. 

Indeed, five of the fifteen members had names like Tim Wakefield Ross, Richard Todd Scanlon, Paul John Da Vall, John Francis Tierney and so on. What would you call this but .. a bunch of white guys ... running an airline. Wouldn't you? Of course, these days the board is made up almost entirely of a former Malaysian Prime Minister and his accommodating political friends. 

Just to show what a confused puppy Tony actually is - and we have a very special article coming up that would point to why the party boy seems addled - Fernandes only today appointed a very white guy by the name of Andrew Littledale as top dog, Group Chief Financial Officer.  Tony, are you ... tripping perhaps? 

Not disheartened by his being outed, Fernandes continues to shoot off his voluminous mouth in a Wall Street Journal interview and sledge Singapore Airlines once again. According to the Wall Street journal:

'When plans for a low-cost, medium-to-long haul carrier – which became Scoot – were announced by Singapore Airlines, the AirAsia boss tweeted: “Singapore Airlines to set up a long haul low cost carrier. Hahahaha. Déjà vu.” He insisted they had “copied” the idea from his team." Copied? Will Teflon Tony Fernandes now try to convince the world that Malaysia created the low-cost model in aviation?

"Mr. Fernandes also said Monday the Thai and Indonesian units of AirAsia will launch initial public offerings by the second quarter of this year. When asked what AirAsia would do with all the money raised, Mr. Fernandes joked that he would “buy Singapore Airlines.” “They’re confused puppies… they should be available for sale anytime soon."

If AirAsia continue to charge more than respected full-service airlines, such as Singapore Airlines, Qantas and even Malaysia Airlines, then maybe they will have the money to do that.  In the meantime they will just have to keep bleeding MAS dry, in what must be the most despicable scam in Malaysian history. 

Malaysia Airlines SGD $630.40
Qantas SGD $748.10
Tiger Airways SGD $766.62
British Airways SGD $802.20
Singapore Airlines SGD $854.20
AirAsia SGD $932.00

The Holiday Airfares Survey has revealed opportunistic low-cost operators are frequently more expensive than full-service airlines like Qantas and Singapore Airlines. We conducted our study and discovered that AirAsia hiked their holiday airfares so high, the no-frills operator is now more expensive than the top-shelf full-service carriers. 

What would AirAsia's official line be on charging their faithful passengers more than the full service airlines? 

We took the following from AirAsia's own website where the question is posed whether they offer the cheapest fares at all times - here - which says, "Yes. Our business model stipulates that our fare must be a least 20% cheaper than a competing FSC [Full Service Carrier, such as Singapore Airlines and Qantas] at all times. Anything less, in our view, will steer passengers to our competitors." 

We rest our case ... absolute frauds. Anyway, tomorrow, we'll be letting you know more about the huge queues passengers encountered during the so-called 'Big Sale'. One early response we saw was a gentleman who had twiddled his thumbs for two hours in what AirAsia accurately called its online 'waiting room', only to Tweet that he was entirely underwhelmed by the 'SALE'. Make sure that you email us your waiting room stories. We won't make you wait before we publish them -



Friday, 10 February 2012

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau Verdict


The AirAsia jet, "descended to a height where there was no longer separation assurance from the ground and from planes operating outside controlled airspace." - Australian Transport Safety Bureau 

Pilot training was cited as a major factor in the incidents. According to today's The Australian, Investigators said the crew were "probably not adequately equipped to manage the approach in other than autopilot managed mode". In essence, theses guys were on their P-Plates, flying you and your family. To be more accurate, they were in the middle of a lesson, with an obviously bungling  'instructor' that allowed this to happen.

In a rather amusing and all-at-once terrifying revelation in a press release, AirAsia were pleased to announce that flying beneath safe minimum radar altitude ended up in a 'smooth landing'. Again from The Australian newspaper, 'The Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which classed the incident as “serious”, said the jet descended to a height where there was no longer separation assurance from the ground and from planes operating outside controlled airspace.' OK? What does that mean exactly?

For us laymen, that means AirAsia was precariously close to both the ground and to any civilian aircraft that may have strayed into its path. No longer was separation from the ground assured means - but for the grace of God, it could easily have crashed. If you're hard pressed to imagine any of this, cast your mind back to the Charlton Heston movie classic 'Airport 1975'. That's what generally happens when commercial airliners come into contact with light aircraft in mid air.  If you want to watch the film, go here!

In case it makes you feel better, AirAsia X CEO, Azran Osman-Rani, said previously: “To say we are putting passengers at risk and flying below the radar is completely incorrect." Oh, ok. Well, that's alright then.  What a load of rubbish, and shameful that this airline has our lives in their hands.

Consider how quickly they are spewing out 'pilots'; Chan Sue Ling of Bloomberg reported thus: "Some airlines aren't waiting for qualified talent to walk in the door. Singapore Airlines and AirAsia, based near Kuala Lumpur, have each set up their own tuition-free training academies. Singapore Air's flying school turns out about 150 cadet pilots a year, while AirAsia's facility trains as many as 500 annually." Five hundred pilots annually, versus one hundred fifty for respected carrier, Singapore Airlines.

If any of this is of concern to you, please read the Australian and International Pilots Association submission to the Australian Government Inquiry into Pilot training and airline safety: A Statement of Concern on Diminishing Flight Standards. The submission is titled: 'Are we handing the keys of the Ferrari to a bunch of "P-Platers"?" - HERE [PDF]

One of the incidents involved a plane dropping below the safe minimum radar altitude while it was coming in to land at the Gold Coast from Kuala Lumpur. A preliminary report from the ATSB states: “During the approach in IMC, the aircraft went below the radar lowest-safe-altitude. On the previous day, a similar incident occurred involving the same aircraft type." Adding to the seriousness of the incident was low cloud making for poor visibility.

Director of aviation safety investigations for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), Ian Sangston, said the alleged breaches were serious. As it happens, AirAsia did not previously consider this a serious matter - and possibly still don't. AIRASIA X chief executive Azran Osman-Rani (pictured) believes the airline has no case to answer for what ATSB cited were two serious incidents at Gold Coast Airport. Oh, really, Mr Osman-Rani?


 According to reporter Jason Oxenbridge of Gold Coast Business, Azran Osman-Rani says “AirAsia X has been advised by the ATSB that this is a routine investigation only." No, they are not, Mr Ozman-Rani, they are subject to a 'serious incident investigation'. Enough with the bullshit!!
“To say we are putting passengers at risk and flying below the radar is completely incorrect. The landing was smooth and we are transparent and that is why we are sharing all the flight data. We will fully cooperate with the ATSB,'' Azran said. The head of AirAsia X then proceeded to suspend both pilots, according to numerous posts the Professional Pilots Network. That's not a little bit suss?? Why did you do that if they are innocent, sir? The ATSB is still to release a report from their investigations.

Is this lax attitude toward safety/remuneration  - not to mention their attitude to maintenance HERE  - leading to airlines such as AirAsia and MAS becoming a very real risk to fly? AirAsia's McCarthy leaves no doubt as to Malaysia's lax regulations, and how AirAsia and presumably its sister, Malaysian Airlines, are only too happy to exploit them.  Mr Ozman-Rani shows that AirAsia are deceptive spin doctors who will stop at nothing to wriggle out of acknowledging responsibility. Do you trust them?

In time, these bent politicians  and puppets like Fernandes will be brought to justice. In the meantime, they are gaining a stronger stranglehold of the Malaysia Airlines board of directors by the day; a previously upstanding, safe and professionally run airline will soon be in tatters if Malaysia doesn't wake up. We are not going to hold our breath. Do AirAsia care? RIP MAS.

The last time we received any comment from AirAsia answering our charges on this website, indeed the only time we received any comment from AirAsia, was from a representative named 'Mero' from "AirAsia Blog" - find that link HERE - you will see the staffer contended, "Sure, some pilots manage to do some crazy stuff on our flights, but they get their just punishments just as any other offender would when they do crazy stuff that affects others." We appreciate honesty, but we're probably not alone in being a little bit afraid by that admission, wouldn't you agree?  In fact, it's a little bit scary to say such a thing. Perhaps he was high??? 



Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Your pilot today .. is high on drugs.

 Breaking News 

#  How widespread is drug use among Asia's commercial airline pilots?


Not since Japanese suicide pilots in the second world war plunged to their deaths as high as kites, have so many Asian pilots been getting wired before flying. Two of AirAsia's major hubs, its home country being Malaysia and that of Indonesia, including Bali, have recently been the subject of some shocking drug revelations. From Australia's 'The Age' - HERE - "Travelers in Indonesia struggling with the usual rough landings and delayed flights now have a new cause for concern: was the pilot smoking ice before take-off?"


"The arrest of a Lion Air pilot for possession of 0.4 grams of crystal methamphetamine over the weekend, the third such incident in the past seven months, has raised concern over just how widespread drug use is among Indonesian pilots. A month earlier, another Lion Air pilot was arrested with an undisclosed amount of crystal meth in a karaoke bar in South Sulawesi, while two Lion Air co-pilots were arrested for possession of crystal meth and ecstasy last September." And what about Malaysia?

"Connor McCarthy says AirAsia's operating secrets aren't so secret: a lot of small cuts on the cost side and a lot of incremental increases on the revenue side. A no-frills airline requires fewer staffers -- Singapore Airlines flies nearly the same number of passengers but has four times as many employees -- and Southeast Asia's labor costs are low. Regulations are more lax too; a Ryanair pilot can only fly 900 hours a year under European Union law, but AirAsia's crew can log 1,000."

Jeff Chu - Washington Post/ Business Travel, Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Our readers may recall our recent report about the Malaysian pilot caught with five kilograms (11 pounds) of crystal methamphetamine a few weeks ago - HERE. The article raises the question of whether he was also taking the drug, but most importantly about the stresses of working for airlines in poorly regulated regions where pilots are arguably pushed beyond their physical limits - and need to use stimulants to stay 'alert' and are heavily indebted to airlines. We'd like to know, will AirAsia start mandatory random drug tests in light of this regional scourge - or are they too cheap? It is heartening to see AirAsia hasn't failed any scheduled narcotics tests. Rest assured, if they ever do, you'll be the very first to hear about it, readers.