TheStar : Friday February 15, 2013


PETALING JAYA: The comfort of travelers was uppermost in mind when Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) was designed, said Malaysia Airports corporate communications general manager Nik Anis Nik Zakaria.

Its layout was done in a way that every person arriving there could have 55sq m of free space, she said.

“Even with a busy airport, people can still have a lot of free space to move around. So here, even when traffic is high, it doesn't feel crowded,” she said.

It was reported that KLIA served about 39.8 million passengers last year.

Nik Anis said most people sleeping at KLIA were international travellers.

Resting corners and seats were scattered all over the airport, she said, adding that its transit hotel offered six-hour block bookings.

 Comfortable spot: Customers enjoying the comfortable ambiance at one of KLIA’s lounges.

Donna McSherry, who is the founder of a website known as “The Guide to Sleeping in Airports”, said that people were more likely to fly to places they were comfortable with.

Comfortable airports often drew travellers there, she said.

“I think airports have been discovering that people will make their flight choices based on the comfort and convenience in the airports they experience layovers in,” she said in an e-mail.

Once an avid budget traveller, McSherry is now a travel agent specialising in South American holidays.

McSherry said that free WiFi and pay-in lounges were a plus, especially for economy-class travellers.

She advised people to explore airports for the best places to sleep or ask staff about it.

“They'll know the best and safest spots,” she said.

Travelers were also advised to prepare for cold temperatures as terminals would get cooler when less people were inside.


TheStar : Friday February 15, 2013      

PETALING JAYA: The Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is one of the world's most comfortable airports for people to sleep in.

A website known as “The Guide to Sleeping in Airports” has picked KLIA as the fifth best airport in the world with travellers praising its cushioned seats, friendly staff and free WiFi.

“Airport sleepers like KLIA's long benches, reclining rest chairs and showers,” the website said, citing 18,190 poll responses collected last year covering dozens of airports.

Many reviewers appeared unwilling to pay for a hotel room or were simply waiting in transit.

“Staff were very friendly and no one bothered me. It's even better than a hotel as you only have to walk a few steps from your bed for a fresh teh tarik,” wrote a user only known as Gipsy.

Another traveller, known only as “pensations”, gave tips on how to survive at the main terminal.

“I slept on the long seats at the back of the fifth floor. Some are facing the glass wall and away from the counters, giving you some privacy,” he wrote.

There were also tips on using the airport's gyms, lounges and even a day spa in KLIA's vicinity.

Travelers were reminded to arm themselves with sleeping masks, pillows and blankets for maximum comfort.

One previous passenger, Claire Bong, 31, spoke of how she roamed about KLIA for 15 hours in 2005 while waiting for a transit flight from Perth, Australia to Ipoh.

“I had just graduated and didn't want to spend money on a hotel,” she said, adding that she had reached KLIA at around 10pm.

She found a secluded corner, held on to her luggage and brought out a book for company.

Bong also entertained herself with the free Internet kiosks and watched airplanes fly by.

“I was very lucky. No one disturbed me at all,” she said.

Other respondents in the survey advised people to stay away from the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal, telling them to take a 20km bus ride to KLIA if they wanted a good nap.

LCCT, the survey claimed, was a “boring nightmare”.


(This entry was posted in Features, Operations, Safety)
Humans are simply not biologically programmed for the 24/7 rigours of the aviation industry. Aimée Turner clocks in to investigate the fatigue issues.


News and Opinion : February 7, 2013, 4:32 pm

The controversial Virgin Australia 'Look Book' has done its job, with a new Skyscanner survey revealing the airline made the top three most stylish cabin crews in Asia Pacific.

More than 1200 travellers throughout Asia Pacific spoke out in the survey, voting in the top 10 most stylish airline crews in the region. China Eastern Airlines came in first place with a score of 4.15 out of 5, Asiana Airlines in second with a score of 4.14 and Virgin closely behind on 4.03.

China Eastern voted most stylish cabin crew

The winning uniform wooing flyers was China Eastern's smart navy blue suits teamed with white shirts and red scarves.
Air China and China Southern Airlines also completed the Chinese-dominated top five, scoring 4.00 and 3.98 respectively.

Dave Boyte, Skyscanner market mevelopment manager for Australia and New Zealand, says: "Just last summer, Virgin Australia staffers were required to undertake lessons in etiquette, posture and language and along with their style bible and new commercial, Virgin is ensuring they put glamour back in to flying".

Top 10 Most Stylish Cabin Crew in Asia Pacific:
1. China Eastern Airlines, China - 4.15
2. Asiana Airlines, South Korea - 4.14
3. Virgin Australia, Australia - 4.03
4. Air China, China - 4.00
5. China Southern Airlines, China - 3.98
6. Air Asia, Malaysia - 3.83
7. Singapore Airlines, Singapore - 3.78
8. Korean Air, South Korea - 3.78
9. Philippine Airlines, Philippines - 3.76
10. Jeju Air, South Korea - 3.63

Do you agree? Which airline uniform do you prefer?

Till then, see ya~


Wednesday February 6, 2013


PETALING JAYA: After several failed attempts, Australia's Qantas wants to work with Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to expand its network within Asia.

At the other end of the aviation spectrum half-way around the world, however, British Airways (BA) may cut ties with Qantas over its code share. If this materialises, it will augur well for MAS to work towards filling this void on the London-Asia-Australia connection.

Courtesy : Internet images

MAS group chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, when contacted by StarBiz, said, “We are open to the idea of working with Qantas on Asian routes.

“We need to engage it first to fully understand how the proposed partnership would benefit both airlines, given the current partnerships in place. The benefits must also include our customers.”

To recap, MAS and Qantas had failed to strike a deal in the past. The last negotiation in March 2011 saw MAS walking away from the negotiating table because the deal was not in its favour.

But the situation is somewhat different now, as MAS is a member of oneworld and both Qantas and BA are founding members. It was Qantas that had sponsored MAS' entry into oneworld. Rising costs and intense competition have rendered it necessary for airlines to work together in the current climate. As alliance members, they will have to carry each other's traffic. MAS was selected as a member because of its wide linkages into South-East Asia.

The likelihood of a deal being struck now is higher, more so since Qantas, which plies the Australia-Singapore route at the moment, is not likely to partner Singapore Airlines (SIA) for the Asian connectivity since SIA is already allied with Qantas' rival, Virgin Australia.

Ahmad Jauhari says potential partnerships must also benefit MAS passengers
Ahmad Jauhari

Qantas announced a new strategy on Monday to work with Asian carriers, including MAS, Japan Airlines, Jet Airways, China Eastern and Cathay Pacific, for its Asian connectivity. It is considering new destinations such as Beijing, Seoul, Mumbai, Delhi and Tokyo-Haneda as well.

Those in the know claim that Qantas may ride on MAS' network to service the South-East Asia region and even for flights into India.

As Qantas reworks its routing and timing, the British carrier may also be looking at alternatives for connectivity into Asia and Australia since Qantas now has a new partner in Emirates.

Both Qantas and BA have a 17-year code-share agreement that ends on March 31. The Australian Financial Review has reported that BA has told Qantas that it would not reinstate the code-share agreement between the two airlines for connecting flights from Asia to London when the agreement ends.

But a BA spokesperson said that “we are currently transitioning our relationship with Qantas and it's nonsense to suggest that we are cancelling all our codeshares.”

All the talks surrounding a possible end to the BA-Qantas code share arose after Qantas entered a deal with Emirates months ago. Under the alliance with Emirates, which is still awaiting final approval from the Australian competition regulator, Qantas flights to London will transit via Dubai instead of Singapore beginning March 31.

That leaves BA at a loss, although for Qantas, the Emirates deal appears to be a significant step forward in fixing its international business.

Hence, it is no surprise, say experts, that BA may look at new arrangements for access into Asia and Australia, with the KL International Airport (KLIA) once again appearing on its radar screens. BA departed from KLIA more than a decade ago, albeit retaining its London-Singapore route.

“In my discussions with BA, it has indicated keenness to come back to Kuala Lumpur, but is still evaluating the viability of its operations. It will also depend on the availability of aircraft and suitable slots,” Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd managing director Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad said in replies to queries from StarBiz.

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd managing director Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad (inset) says BA has indicated interest to come back to KL International Airport.
Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd managing director Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad (inset) says BA has indicated interest to come back to KL International Airport

The CAPA Centre for Aviation, in a report, said code share talks between BA and MAS have not begun, but the two carriers expect to discuss cooperating on the Kuala Lumpur-London route as well as to regional destinations in Asia and points beyond Heathrow.

It added that MAS also had more regional international capacity in South-East Asia than any other full-service carrier except SIA, which is only about 15% larger. MAS has about 10% more seat capacity in the regional international market than Thai Airways and is significantly larger than Garuda and Vietnam Airlines, both of which are more focused on their domestic markets.

BA's return would be a big boost to KLIA, and for MAS, a code share with BA for the London-Asia-Australia sector would help its load factor rise, which hopefully translates into better yields and earnings, said an expert. This is notwithstanding the fact that they have access to each other's network by virtue of being oneworld members.

MAS' passenger load factor for December, at 81.4% was the highest ever in its recorded history since April 2002. For full-year 2012, the figure stood at 74.7%.

Till then, see ya~


Former Pan Pacific is now known as Sama Sama Hotel

By Tanu Pandey

KUALA LUMPUR: Diversification is the word for Malaysia Airports Holding Bhd (MAHB) as it sets foot in the airport hotel sector with the launch of its airport hotel brand Sama-Sama at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

The airport company has plans to go global with the hotel brand.

Following the launch, MAHB will now own and operate the five-star full-service Sama-Sama KLIA hotel adjacent to KLIA as well as the existing transit hotel located at the satellite building of KLIA, the company said in a statement issued last Thursday.

In line with the launch, transit hotel will be re-branded as Sama-Sama Express KLIA and at KLIA2, MAHB will operate its transit hotel which will be called Sama-Sama Express KLIA2.

“It is Malaysia Airports’ aim to take the Sama-Sama brand to other markets where we intend to brand and operate more airport hotels. The launch of the Sama-Sama brand today marks a step towards that vision,” the statement said.


The company is currently riding high on news of talks with YTL Corp Bhd to set up a consortium to bid for RM4.85 billion London third hub known as Stansted Airport.

The talks with YTL are based on the airport company’s requirement for a construction company to bid for such a project. MAHB has partnered with GMR Group, an Indian construction company in India for the airports in Hyderabad and Delhi.

The launch of the Sama-Sama hotel brand adds another feather in the cap for MAHB. It also positions it as the region’s first dedicated operator of airside and landside airport hotels.

MAHB chairman Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah said it has the vision of offering passengers landing at KLIA “a seamless travel experience – from the aircraft to the airport and to the hotel room”.

MAHB manages and operates 39 airports in Malaysia: five international, 16 domestic and 18 short take-off and landing ports. It also has operations in India and Turkey.

The Sama-Sama brand will comprise two distinct airport hotel products: Sama-Sama landside airport hotels and Sama-Sama Express air side transit hotels.

Amid such positive news, MAHB has pegged its target earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation without construction profit at RM751 million supported by growth in passenger traffic for 2013. It said recently that it expected 2013 to be a better year in terms of overall passenger traffic performance.

Till then, see ya~


NST :  22 January 2013

TRAVELLING IN STYLE: They are the adventure and luxury travel outlets Lonely Planet, Billabong and Longchamp

SEPANG: THREE of the most iconic names in adventure and travel luxury merchandise -- Lonely Planet, Billabong and Longchamp have opened outlets at KL International Airport (KLIA).

Lonely Planet, a name synonymous with travel guides and adventure, together with LS Travel Retail (a company of Lagardère Services), opened their first concept stores in Asia at KLIA.
Courtesy : Internet images

KLIA is the third international airport to feature a Lonely Planet concept store, following the success of LS travel retail's Lonely Planet stores in Sydney, Australia and Manchester, England.

The store retails the full range of Lonely Planet books with all 477 travel titles on offer, along with an extensive range of travel essentials and gift items.

Courtesy : Internet Images

The store is designed to be interactive with display screens showing global landscapes to capture the attention of passers-by, while the interactive iPad concierge platform allows customers and staff to connect with Lonely Planet's digital range of products and services.

The iPad concierge has staff that offers travel advice and tips, including weather information, to customers.

LS Travel Retail Asia is the first international travel retail operator in KLIA to simultaneously launch Lonely Planet, Billabong and Longchamp outlets.

Together the outlets offer KLIA's upscale travellers a complete travel experience ranging from adventure and board sports to luxury fashion.

The three stores were declared open by French Ambassador, Martine Dorance.
Courtesy : Internet images

Also present were Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd senior general manager (commercial services) Faizah Khairuddin and LS Travel Retail ASPAC chief operating officer, Emmanuel de Place.

Said de Place: "Travel is on the rise, especially in Asia, and this means opportunities for growth in the travel retail sector in this region.

"Therefore, we are excited to be the first international travel retail operator in KLIA to open these stores in the airport.

"We are thankful to Malaysia Airports Holdings and our brand partners for making it possible to open these stores and take the lead in setting new standards in the travel retail industry."

Added Faizah: "We are positioning airports as lifestyle destinations where passengers' holidays start from the moment they arrive at KLIA.

"Being able to take advantage of Lonely Planet's interactive hubs, innovative travel products and a knowledgeable staff team will give passengers travelling through our terminal a huge boon."

Adjacent to the Lonely Planet concept store is the new Billabong space.

A name that is familiar to all board sports and beach enthusiasts, Billabong offers an extensive range of the brand's signature products, which includes board shorts, surf tees, bikinis, luggage items, backpacks and accessories.

Also available are its seasonal and limited edition collections.

Billabong's most coveted products include its Platinum Stretch (also known as PX) and Recycler boardshort series.

Made for performance, the board shorts from the PX series are extremely lightweight with zero gravity infinite seam technology.

This is because of its Quad X stretch material (which offers its wearers great flexibility), and easy-to-dry H2 repel coating.

The environmentally-friendly Recycler Series is a two-time Surf Industry Manufacturers Association award winner.

It's unique in that it is made up of 25 PET bottles per board shorts.

Also offered by Billabong is the brand's Since 73 Membership Programme.

This is a loyalty programme that offers exclusive rewards and updates to loyal customers from the brand.

At the Longchamp store, the third Longchamp store in the LS Travel Retail ASPAC network, the latest selection of iconic bags, luggage, small leather goods and selected exclusives for the men and women collections can be found.

LS Travel Retail will also be opening two more stores at the upcoming KLIA2 terminal.

The first is called Discover Malaysia, which offers local souvenirs and gifts.

The second is called My Lifestyle Gallery, which offers the essentials of fashion, travel and luxury accessories, as well as a cafe within the store.

Elle Cafe is the first in-travel food service to be offered to travellers. It is named after Elle, a leading beauty and fashion magazine.

Till then, see ya~


PUTRAJAYA, Jan 31 (Bernama) - Immigration clearance for a maximum of 10 minutes for flight passengers will be introduced at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang from tomorrow.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the Immigration Department had been ordered to fix the maximum waiting time at 10 minutes for immigration clearance, including during peak hours for the queues at the entry registration counters.

"This initiative will be implemented from Feb 1, 2013 to ease congestion and lessen the waiting time for air passengers, hence giving a positive image of the country," he said at a press conference after opening the Immigration Day celebration at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre, today.


Hishammuddin said the move was made on the advice of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak so as to improve the quality of service and portray a good image of Malaysia among the international community.

"Sometimes people had to queue for one hour when there was a backlog of arrivals especially during peak hours, although not frequent. So, PM said the immigration clearance must be made within 10 minutes for all passengers," he said.

Hishammuddin said the Immigration Department would also increase the number of counters to ensure the new initiative would run smoothly, besides increasing the number of counter staff soon.
He said the initiative was already implemented at the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal. On the death of security guard C. Sugumaran who was alleged to have been beaten up by police, Hishammuddin said the policemen involved would be brought to court if there were evidence to show that they had committed the offence.


"There must be justice but let's not come to conclusion without knowing the truth from the investigation carried out.

"I understand that 160 witnesses have been called with 95 per cent of them being members of the public....hence the claims made through the social media are baseless," he said.

Hishammuddin said he had also informed the latest development on the case to MIC president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel and his deputy Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam yesterday.

Selangor police chief Datuk Tun Hisan Tun Hamzah has also called for an inquest into the case and this has been approved by the Attorney-General.

Till then, see ya~


With 2.2 million flights a year to look after and 200,000 square miles (518,000 sq km) of airspace under its watchful eye, there's rarely a quiet moment when you're on duty at National Air Traffic Services (NATS).

chart showing flights in and out of the UK
            Each coloured line on this map represents an aircraft flight which either took off or landed in the south east of                       England on one day in July 2011

In November 2011 life got a little easier for some of the organisation's 1,900 air traffic controllers when a bespoke new computer-based tool called iFACTS was introduced to the main control room at its Hampshire headquarters.

Years in the making, the rigorously tested software has been designed to take some of the complex manual calculations out of air traffic control.

Radar screen at NATS 
Each green dot represents an aircraft in Nats airspace
"iFACTS, based on Trajectory Prediction and Medium Term Conflict Detection, provides decision-making support and helps controllers manage their routine workload, increasing the amount of traffic they can comfortably handle," trumpets the Nats website.

What this means is that iFACTS uses data from both aircraft and Nats itself to calculate flight paths, ascent and descent details.

It can also identify potential collisions, working around 18 minutes ahead of real time, and spot any unexpected behaviour by individual aircraft, highlighting potentially dangerous situations in the sky.

It has been a big success, according to Nats.

So why is it nowhere to be seen in their most demanding operation of all?

In the London control room, all five of the capital's airports are under separate supervision from the rest of Nats' domain, which includes Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and most of England.

This small area of the south east sees by far the largest concentration of air traffic, and the 18 minute window required by iFACTS is a luxury here, explained Nats General Manager Paul Haskins.

"It would light up like a Christmas tree," he said. " It's designed to manage large airspaces."

"It would think every flight was on a collision course. It's not like the States - Chicago airport has nothing around it for 300 miles (482km). In the UK airports are very close."

For this reason there is one key difference between the London and national air traffic control rooms - and the first clue is the noise.

In the London area there's a constant low-level clacking noise in the background, reminiscent of the typing pools of yore. 

Nats air traffic controller 
The London air traffic controllers still use paper strips because of the sheer number of aircraft they deal with.

It is not the click of a computer mouse but the shift of brightly coloured plastic holders, organised in rows in front of each air traffic controller.

Each holder contains a printed strip that represents one aircraft. Details such as the pilot's call sign, speed, altitude, destination and a short-hand scribbled record of all instructions issued, are on the strips.

As the aircraft nears its destination or leaves the airspace, the controller manually moves the strip further down the desk until it is no longer under Nats guidance - either because it has descended below radar - 600ft (183 metres) in London - or successfully made its way into somebody else's domain.

"I wouldn't say any controller is better than technology," said Mr Haskins.

"But in the London control room the controllers can move more aircraft."

"Do you redesign the airspace around the technology or do you redesign the technology to fit the airspace?"

With a missed slot on a Heathrow runway costing its owner £500,000, Nats cannot afford to slow down. iFACTS may one day be able to speed up, but there is no such thing as a beta launch in this frontline sector.

"When you implement technology in air traffic... it has to be 99.999 percent working," said Mr Haskins.

Nats control room  
Nats looks after 200,000 square miles of airspace
"It takes a lot longer to develop."

So although none of the air traffic controllers actually have eye contact with their charges - Nats HQ is about 70 miles (112km) from London, in Swanwick, Hampshire - their presence is still very much required.

Part of that need for the human touch is psychological, admitted Mr Haskins.

"Controllers and pilots talk to each other. I've got a piece of kit that knows what the controller is doing and the autopilot is also filing data. Couldn't they just talk to each other?" he said.

"Well yes - but to have an aircraft with 400 people in the air and no person looking after it just doesn't sound right. Would you want to get on board a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle)?"

As well as wanting to know they are there, plenty of actual people want to be air traffic controllers themselves. Nats receives 1,000 applications for every 20 places on its four-year training scheme.

Candidates must pass initial psychometric tests, and successful recruits face an extra 18 months under human supervision if they wish to work on the London beat. 

Perhaps the happiest marriage between man and machine exists among the organisation's 1,000 engineers.

"These days they aren't the guys with the spanners," said Paul Haskins.

"They're the guys with the laptops."

Till then, see ya~