Friday, February 09, 2007

FAX aims to Buy Aircraft for new Routes

KUCHING: Fly Asian Xpress (FAX), which operates air services in Sabah and Sarawak, plans to buy new aircraft and expand its routes to the fast-growing Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

FAX’s chief executive officer Raja Mohd Azmi Mohd Razali said the airline was seriously evaluating the Canadian-made Bombardier aircraft and the French-Italian made 50-seater and 70-seater ATR aircraft.

“We have had a few talks with the aircraft manufacturers. We are also pursuing (our proposals) with the Government,” he told reporters at his first media briefing here on Tuesday.

Raja Mohd Azmi: Opportunities in Kalimantan and southern Philippines.
Raja Mohd Azmi said the price tag of the aircraft was between US$20mil (RM70mil) and US$25mil (RM87mil).

He said FAX , which started operations on Aug 1 last year, hoped to acquire its first new aircraft and launch routes in the BIMP-EAGA area within 18 months.

“There are certainly opportunities in Kalimantan and southern Philippines,” he added.

FAX, which took over rural air services from Malaysia Airlines, now operates a fleet of seven Fokker 50 aircraft and five twin-otters leased from the Government.

Raja Mohd Azmi said the Fokker 50 aircraft were no more in production and their spare parts were expensive and hard to obtain.

He said FAX now flies to 22 destinations and operates 104 flights a day. It has transported 400,000 passengers in the past six months.

“Our average passenger load is about 69%.”

Raja Mohd Azmi said FAX would launch the Kuching-Sibu service in April in view of overwhelming demand from travellers and to encourage greater domestic tourism.

He announced that FAX’s concession fares for senior citizens and children (50% discount), available only on routes served by the twin-otters, would be extended to all Fokker 50 routes from Feb 15.

By April this year, he said that travellers would be able to choose their seats on the flights when booking their tickets on-line.

Source : STAR
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