by Staff Writers
Kuala Lumpur (AFP) Dec 9, 2011
Asia's biggest budget carrier AirAsia said Friday it remained bullish on growth for next year despite fears of a global slowdown and was considering setting up future units in China and India.
"Of course we want to be in India and China but all in good time," Chief Executive Tony Fernandes told reporters, a day after the airline celebrated its 10th year under its flambouyant boss.
He said the profit-making, fast-expanding airline was now mapping out a plan for the next 10 years.
"We are 10 years old now. I want to take one step at a time," he said.
AirAsia has become one of the industry's biggest success stories since Fernandes, a former music industry executive, acquired the then-failing company a decade ago.
Fernandes said 2012 would be an "exciting year" for AirAsia with its units Indonesia AirAsia and Thai AirAsia expecting to post profits amid higher growth.
He also expressed confidence with a Philippine unit launched this year and with AirAsia Japan, which is expected to start flying in 2012.
"It (2012) is an exciting year. I am not worried about the economic situation. We have been through many slowdowns. Flying is a necessity. I am bullish about next year," he said.
Fernandes said the airline, which currently flies 89 Airbus A320 aircraft, will expand to 300 planes over the next 10 years.
The airline's 2010 full-year net profit reached 1.07 billion ringgit ($340 million), nearly doubling compared with 2009.
Nine hurt as Cathay evacuates plane in Shanghai
Cathay said 351 passengers and 19 crew were evacuated from the Boeing 747 aircraft, which was taxiing at the Chinese city's Pudong International Airport for a flight to Hong Kong when the incident occurred.
Seven passengers and two crew members received "minor" injuries in the accident and were being treated in hospital, Hong Kong-based Cathay said in a statement, but didn't specify how they were injured.
"Our preliminary information indicates that the captain ordered the aircraft evacuated because smoke was detected in the cabin prior to departure," the airline said.
China's official Xinhua news agency said the smoke was caused by "equipment failure" but gave no details.
Photographs taken by passengers showed people jumping down emergency slides and flight attendants surrounding an elderly person lying on the ground.
Operations at the city's main international airport had returned to normal and the incident was under investigation, the Shanghai government said in a statement.
Cathay added that it had launched its own investigation and was co-operating with authorities.
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Airbus eyes Japan's budget carriers
Tokyo (AFP) Dec 8, 2011
European aircraft giant Airbus said Thursday it was targeting Japan's fledgling low-cost airlines to boost its business in the country, ratcheting up a battle for market share with rival Boeing. "In the short term, this (strategy) could let us significantly increase our market share," Stephane Ginoux, chief executive of Airbus' Japanese unit, told AFP after a news briefing in Tokyo. "Wit ... read more
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