• MALAYSIAN PREMIER TUN DR MAHATHIR MOHAMAD WITH ENDAU ANALYTICS
    Aviation

    Malaysia’s prescient prime minister

    Malaysia’s seventh prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is in the global spotlight this week as world leaders gather for the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. Read his full speech to the assembly here. It’s a somewhat surreal turn of events for the 93-year-old, having retired 15 years ago as one of Asia’s longest serving leaders. When Malaysians voted for a new government on May 9, Dr Mahathir was ushered in as the country’s new leader. In selling the “new Malaysia”, where corruption is not to be condoned, incompetence unacceptable and constructive criticism welcomed, Dr Mahathir is telling the world that Malaysians want a country that “will speak…

  • A MALAYSIA AIRLINES B737-800 TAKING OFF FROM KLIA
    Aviation

    Solid revenue growth but many airlines are struggling

    Airlines globally saw strong revenue growth in July although this won’t last in the coming months, according to the latest Air Passenger Market Analysis report from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Read the entire report here. Total revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) for IATA’s member airlines rose 6.2% year-on-year (YoY) in July. But this was down from the 8.1% seen in June. Capacity rose 5.5% and load factors were up 0.6 percentage points for a record high of 85.2% in July. That said, IATA revealed global passenger demand was up just 5.3% YoY compared to 8.2% in June. For many Southeast Asia legacy airlines, there’s no reason to celebrate. Method to…

  • ISTANBUL SABIHA GÖKÇEN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT SALE MAY BE STALLED AMIDST TURKISH TURMOIL
    Aviation

    No appetite for Turkey

    As the financial time bomb ticks away in Turkey, the focus is now on countries that have significant exposure to the country and its currency, the lira (TRY). To recap, President Donald Trump is attacking Turkey. He has authorised a doubling of tariffs on steel (50%) and aluminum (20%). The result: the Turkish lira slumped 20%. In Jan. this year USD1 bought TRY3.7; on Aug. 10, USD1 bought nearly TRY7, meaning the Turkish currency has lost about 44% of its value versus the greenback this year. The TRY has experienced 12 straight days of decline. How much is Turkey a risk to the markets? The fear of a financial contagion is real.…

  • A MALAYSIA AIRLINES A350 AT THE AIRBUS DELIVERY CENTRE IN TOULOUSE. PIC/SHUKOR YUSOF
    Aviation

    Whither Malaysia Airlines without Khazanah’s guidance?

    Trouble can come in threes. Or in Malaysia Airlines’ (MAS) case, trouble lurks in many places. The most serious trouble, as far as the eye can see, is a drop in operational discipline. Here’s an incidentinvolving a MAS Airbus A330-300, registration 9M-MTK on a flight (MH134) from Brisbane to Kuala Lumpur on July 18. Long story short, the flight suffered an airspeed indication failure on takeoff, because the covers on the aircraft’s pitot tubes weren’t removed. These tubes measure static and kinetic air pressure in a moving aircraft to determine the indicated airspeed. Pitot tubes are critical in an aircraft; a pitot tube failure led to an Air France A330 crash…

  • IS THE CUTE LITTLE A220 READY TO CONQUER ASIA? PIC/SHUKOR YUSOF
    Aviation

    Tales from Toulouse

    In between quaffing copious amounts of red and white grape juice from the terroirs of Toulouse and savouring the delicacies the southwest of France offered during lunch, it was easy to miss the reason we were all there this Tuesday week: to witness the launch of Airbus’ new cute little aircraft, the A220-300. Except that the new jet isn’t actually new; two years ago in June 2016 the plane, previously known as a Bombardier CSeries jet, was delivered to Swiss. Those on board the CS100 were so impressed with the plane’s economics and comfort and wrote many positive things about it. Airbus’ legendary salesman, the now retired John Leahy, called the CSeries…

  • EMBRAER’S E190-E2 AT THE SAO JOSE DOS CAMPOS FACTORY IN BRAZIL. PIC/SHUKOR YUSOF
    Aviation

    Boeing offers Embraer a deal it can’t refuse

    Less than a year ago, at a briefing in Singapore, Boeing declared the market for regional jets in Southeast Asia – a region with 640 million people – was just 40. The planemaker forecasts demand for passenger aircraft in Southeast Asia to reach 4,210 units. Of these, 3,230 will be single-aisle, narrowbodies like the B737NGs. On 5 July Boeing announced it is joining forces with Brazilian regional jet maker Embraer. It will take control of Embraer’s commercial aircraft and services operations in a deal valued at USD4.75 billion. Boeing will take an 80% stake in the joint venture worth USD3.8 billion with Embraer holding the remaining 20% and more importantly, keep control of…

  • Aviation

    Malaysia: HSR & other transport follies

    THE GUY WITH THE GLASSES WANTS TO TAKE MALAYSIANS ON A HIGH-SPEED RIDE… FOR JUST MYR72 BILLION This is a departure from our usual focus on the aviation sector; the topic of high-speed rail (HSR) in Malaysia has been the subject of intense debate since premier Mahathir Mohamed announced he would scrap the MYR110 billion (USD28 billion) project. He later clarified it would instead be postponed. The man who came up with the 350km HSR idea, Najib Razak, believed the socio-economic benefits far outweigh its costs, which he said stood at just MYR72 billion at the start of 2018. Rahman Dahlan, a former minister in Najib’s cabinet, claimed it was myopic to scrap or postpone the project.…

  • T’S NOT ALL GLOOMY WHEN VIEWED FROM THE TOP OF THE PETRONAS TWIN TOWERS. PIC/SHUKOR YUSOF
    Aviation

    A billion here, a billion there…

    “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money” – U.S. senator Everett Dirksen Malaysians are not new to financial scams and scandals of immense proportions. Let’s pause for a moment and consider these figures: the latest MYR42 billion losses from 1MDB, Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) incurred losses of MYR12.5 billion in 2008, and Bank Negara Malaysia, the central bank, blew over MYR31.5 billion between 1992 and 1994 in forex losses. These are just some examples of plundering that have taken place over the past 30 years. Someone out there has actually put together a list on Wikipedia. Take a look here. One of the most prolific plunderers (of taxpayers’ money) is national carrier Malaysia Airlines (MAS).…

  • AIRASIA REMAINS A LEADING DISCOUNT AIRLINE, DESPITE ITS FOUNDER’S PATHETIC POLITICAL PLOY. PIC/SHUKOR YUSOF
    Aviation

    Malaysia’s aviation industry to soar?

    It has been a strange week, one that has seen some strange sights. In Malaysia’s history of strange sights, there has never been quite anything like this. Malaysians woke up on May 10 to a new government, but not a new prime minister. Mahathir Mohamad was Malaysia’s fourth premier for 22 years (1981 to 2003) and is now the country’s seventh leader and the world’s oldest. At 92, and despite two bypasses, he isn’t just sprightly; he is mischievous, displaying his trademark sarcasm and wit at a 3am press conference following his party’s victory. The next morning, on May 11, he was spotted cycling along the lake at Putrajaya. We…

  • BOEING SVP SALES FOR ASIA PACIFIC & INDIA DR DINESH KESKAR (STANDING 4TH FROM LEFT) WITH FORMER PM NAJIB RAZAK TO HIS RIGHT. MAS CHAIRMAN & BOARD DIRECTOR IS 3RD FROM RIGHT. PIC/BOEING
    Aviation

    New broom to sweep Malaysia Airlines clean

    With the prospect of losing a USD20 billion aircraft deal in Iran looming ever closely, Boeing appears poised to forfeit another one following the installation of a new government in Malaysia, Southeast Asia’s fourth biggest economy. On Sep. 12, 2017, Malaysia’s ex-premier Najib Razak confidently told US president Donald Trump that Malaysia Airlines (MAS) would acquire eight B787-9 Dreamliners and eight B737 MAX jets. Those aircraft have a list price of USD3.06 billion before discount. During election hustings the past fortnight Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s newly elected 93-year old leader, made a mockery of Najib’s trip to Washington and the subsequent promise to buy Boeing planes. It is understood Mahathir will instruct officials in his…

  • BAGS OF NUTS SOLD HERE. INCHEON AIRPORT, SEOUL. PIC/SHUKOR YUSOF
    Aviation

    No “Pil Sung” for Korean Air

    It’s probably fair to say that Heather Cho Hyun-ah knows more about macadamia nuts than most people. The former vice-president of Korean Air became infamous in late 2014 after ordering the flag carrier’s aircraft back to the gate at JFK New York as it was about to take off for Seoul. The reason: she was unhappy the nuts served in first class came in a bag, instead of on a plate. This incident has even made it into Wikipedia as the nut rage incident. Being petulant seems to run in the Cho family. Last month her younger sister Emily Cho Hyun-min, a senior vie-president in Korean Air, was suspended following allegations…

  • WHITE BEACH, BORACAY, JANUARY 1991. PIC/SHUKOR YUSOF
    Aviation

    When Boracay was not a cesspool

    Twenty-seven years ago Boracay had no airport, no Internet connection, no big hotels, no crowds. It had a solitary bar along White Beach that served San Miguels for 50 cents a pop, accompanied by soothing sounds from the 80s. It was bliss. We’ve not been to Boracay since then, so we can’t smell the cesspool that the Philippine president spoke of recently but it does look like things have gotten very nasty indeed. Like Bali in Indonesia, Phi Phi in Thailand and many other resort islands around the world, Boracay is plagued not just by plastics but by parasitic peripatetics. The photos of Boracay in its current condition paint a sorry state…

  • NOT A-OK… CHINA’S OKAY AIRWAYS ORDERED 15 B737S IN 2017. PIC/BOEING
    Aviation

    Beware the 25% tariff-ic impact

    China signalled it is ready to cut purchases of Boeing aircraft after announcing it is imposing 25% tariffs on single-aisle planes weighing between 15 and 45 tonnes. The immensely popular B737 family of aircraft will be affected. Beijing revealed its retaliatory plans on April 4, after Washington declared a 25% tariff on about 1,300 Chinese products. Read our comments on Bloomberg regarding the implications of the dispute. China’s Ministry of Commerce gave no date for the 25% hike; Chinese officials said it depends on what the US president does and how he reacts to duties placed on Chinese products. Here’s CNN’s take on the developing story. Last year Boeing delivered 202 planes to…

  • MALAYSIA’S FIRST EMBRAER LEGACY 500 AT PENANG AIRPORT. PIC/SHUKOR YUSOF
    Aviation

    On board Malaysia’s first Legacy 500

    Would you step into an aircraft with “666” as part of its registration – the number of the beast for those who are superstitious – let alone fly in it? Malaysia’s first Embraer Legacy 500, a midsize business jet made by Brazil’s Embraer, arrived at Senai International Airport in Johor Bahru (JHB) after a long ferry flight from São José dos Campos around mid-March. With triple sixes in the aircraft’s registration, the USD20 million private plane is the first medium cabin business jet with digital flight controls, based on fly-by-wire technology. It can fly at 45,000 feet and is powered by two Honeywell HTF7500E engines, touted as the “greenest” in…

  • Aviation

    Why Cathay Pacific loses money, according to John Slosar

    Dear John, we are going to break something to you, as gently as we can. What we are going to say may upset you and your colleagues at that most august of airline abode in Hong Kong – Swire Pacific. Anyway, here it goes: the airline business has changed, Hong Kong has changed and Cathay Pacific Airways has not, from the look of it, embraced change. Swire Pacific, the airline’s parent company, appears averse to change. The chairman of Hong Kong’s flag carrier, John Slosar, on March 14 attributed Cathay Pacific’s consecutive annual losses – its first since the airline was formed in 1946 – on over-capacity and declining yields which, he lamented,…