Last Friday, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz was in the news. After attending Angkasa's 41st celebration, she commented about Open Sky Policy.
She used the opportunity to earn her keeps as Chairman of Air Asia-X to explain the virtues of continuing the collaboration between Air Asia and MAS. On May 2nd, MAS and Air Asia had called off the share swap between Tune Air and Khazanah into each other.
This will effect a potential cash injection via special issue for Air Asia-X.
Rafidah explained that all airlines will face competition when the Asean Open Sky Agreement is enforced in 2015. Thus, she reiterated to justify collaboration between MAS and Air Asia in cutting cost. The few areas for collaboration suggested were procurement, aircraft component repairs, training initiatives and technical and operational efficiency.
The problem with her statement is that she talked as though MAS people are not aware of the Open Sky Policy and as though the public is not aware of Air Asia's unscrupulous hands inside MAS. Rafidah was admired as Minister on trade matters then, but it looks like she seemed to be losing grips and being repetitive like some senile old folks.
Has she gone off her rockers?
Read The Star report on Rafidah below:
Friday May 11, 2012
Rafidah: AirAsia, AirAsia X, MAS collaboration crucial
PETALING JAYA(Bernama): All airlines in the country must be able to face challenges when the Asean open sky policy comes into force in 2015 and therefore, collaboration efforts between AirAsia, AirAsia X and Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is important, said AirAsia X chairman Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz.
"If airlines do not strengthen now, through what ever way, there will be problems. This is why AirAsia and AirAsia X is willing to continue looking at possible collaboration with MAS," she said on Friday.
She emphasised that the collaboration had nothing to do with the share-swap.
"It is about cutting cost so that we can pass the efficiencies to consumers. We have agreed at the board level to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to continue pursuing this collaboration as long as it does not violate any anti-trust law globally and bring benefits to us," she told a press conference after the Malaysian National Co-operative Movement (Angkasa)'s 41st celebration.
Following the reversal of the share swap deal, AirAsia, AirAsia X Sdn Bhd and MAS, have entered into a supplemental collaboration agreement (SA) to explore areas of mutual-need to realise savings and boost efficiencies.
The SA would focus on specific areas of collaboration while continue to comply with all relevant anti-trust laws.
Under the SA, the airlines have identified key areas for collaboration, which would result in efficiencies and cost savings, which among others, includes procurement, aircraft component repairs, training initiatives and technical and operational efficiency.
Additionally, the airlines will also continue working to further identify and evaluate opportunities to collaborate on a broad range of areas both at operational and strategic levels.
To push forward with the collaboration initiative, the three parties also signed a MOU to cooperate on two initial areas, joint procurement and aircraft component maintenance, support and repair services.
Out of Touch
Few things must be clarified.
Firstly, no sane person would believe Air Asia would pass off any benefit to their consumers.
If they can't remit the airport tax due to Government that they have collected from consumers, cut our fingers like a deviant Yakuza that Air Asia is concerned for their consumers.
In addition, Air Asia would not design their process to have passengers wait additional one hour and a half and cancel flights at will.
Secondly, the major concern of Air Asia as a Low Cost Carrier (LCC) is to keep cost low but MAS's current business emphasis is about raising revenue.
This means that the area of cutting cost on procurement, aircraft component repairs, Engineering and training initiatives is more for Air Asia benefit.
Thirdly, Rafidah is no more a Minister and representing the Government but as Chairperson of Air Asia X, she is under the payroll of Tony F.
Left aside are the questions she raised on the Airline Rationalisation Policy in 2005 that seemed unfair to MAS. She does not act for the interest of the nation but the greedy interest of the slimy Tony F.
Talking about Open Sky Policy and CCF as the preparation for ASEAN Open Sky in 2015, what made the Government, outsider management in MAS, vultures of Air Asia and all those who keep reminding of Open Sky Policy think that people in MAS are not aware of it?
Do they think MAS has not been doing anything about it?
Ponder for a while to those who are overawe with Air Asia and their current boast of growth and claims of unstoppable growth in the future. Whom will strive in such environment?
Full service network airline or point to point LCC?
What is noticeable is that Air Asia felt the effect of MH actions? Under the CCF, they had made the new management undo in six months all the effort made to prepare for Open Sky that have been put in place by MAS.
Perhaps, it is Air Asia that is not prepared for Open Sky Policy.
MAS do not need them for all those claimed collaboration because they will be full member of One World Alliance in middle 2012 and benefit immensely from its various program including:
Since late 2002, Oneworld member airlines have developed common specifications across their engineering and maintenance activities, reducing costs through bulk buying and parts sharing. It was also the first airline alliance to introduce interline e-ticketing across all member airlines' network. - Extract from Oneworld - Wikipedia
For Rafidah and all those talking of Open Sky, they must be damn out of date and bordering on senility to keep repeating an old story.
Open Sky is an international policy concept that calls for the liberalization of the rules and regulations of the international aviation industry, particularly commercial aviation for a free-market airline industry.
It is basically a bilateral and sometimes multilateral arrangement or agreement between two or more nations.
The United States have been pursuing Open Skies agreements through bilateral agreement since 1979, and by 1982 had signed 23 bilateral air service agreements worldwide.
The first unlimited landing agreement was first signed between the US and Neatherland in 1992.
Although agreed on an Open Sky for 2015 in 2009, the US signed the Multilateral Agreement on the Liberalization of International Air Transportation (MALIAT) with Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore as early as 2001.
It is rather outdated for those talking about Open Sky now when it had been in discussion and in preparation since early 1990s.
Rafidah's memory must be failing her.
For those that remembered the various Code Sharing pursued by MAS throughout the 1990s, it was MAS's game to penetrate Airports with limited landing and increase MAS frequency in those sectors.
Back then, there were Airlines that had MAS "supplied" the aircraft for them to increase capacity and frequency to enable MAS to penetrate those market.
Rafidah wouldn't know. Tony F and his cronies destroying MAS from inside wouldn't know too.
Yours truly was monitoring the MAS counter when it was making Code Sharing arrangements with KLM, Virgin Airlines, Continental Airlines, Northwest Airlines, British Midlands, etc.
Yes, Virgin Groups is one of the shareholders (16%) in Air Asia-X. Another is Robert Milton's ACE Aviation Holdings the parent company of Air Canada.
To understand Air Asia from this perspective, refer to this extract from Wikipedia:
AirAsia was established in 1993 and began operations on 18 November 1996. It was originally founded by a government-owned conglomerate, DRB-Hicom. On 2 December 2001 the heavily-indebted airline was bought by former Time Warner executive Tony Fernandes's company Tune Air Sdn Bhd for the token sum of one ringgit (about USD 0.26 at the time) with USD 11 million (MYR 40 million) worth of debts. Fernandes turned the company around, producing a profit in 2002 and launching new routes from its hub in Kuala Lumpur, undercutting former monopoly operator Malaysia Airlines with promotional fares as low as MYR 1 (USD 0.27).
Not mentioned was Tony tookover Air Asia with RM70 million contract in hand.
Just like Air Asia established many Air Asia bases in Asia, Virgin Airlines operates from various outfits like Virgin Atlantics, Virgin Blue, Virgin America, Virgin Australia, and Virgin Nigeria. All the Airline is place together in Virgin Airlines.
Singapore Airlines bought 49% into Virgin Group's Airline Holding Company with Virgin Group still holding 51% in 2000.
Is what's happening to MAS since the time of Tun Abdullah fit a certain picture and a certain accusation against him?
Khazanah should know or they pretend not to know these links. When she was Minister, Rafidah should be aware of this or has senility got the better of her?
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