Air Transport World

Asia/Pacific. (ATW's World Airline Report).(overview of many regional airlines throughout all of Asia and the Pacific; includes earning statistics for most of the companies)(Industry Overview)(Statistical Data Included)

Air Asia: Billing itself as Asia's first low-fare, no-frills carrier, Malaysia's second national airline is patterning itself after Southwest and Ryanair. Upon its acquisition at the end of last year by Tune Air, it slashed fares on domestic routes by 40%-60% and announced that its fares will be nonrefundable and that passengers will be charged for inflight refreshments, CEO Tony Fernandes said Air Asia's main objective "is to get more Malaysians flying."

The carrier was operating five 737-300s in June and plans to acquire two more by year end. It has applied for additional routes to add to its four current destinations of Kota Kinabalu, Langkawi, Kuching and Labuan.

Air China: A surprising profit of $6.4 million was posted by China's international carrier for 2001, ending four years of losses. The results were helped by a series of factors that included its first-ever staff layoffs, lower fuel prices and increased domestic and Southeast Asia revenues. Turnover was $1.8 billion.

The airline still is awaiting regulatory approval for an asset restructuring that will pave the way for its planned share listing. It will merge with China Southwest Airlines and China National Aviation Corp., parent of Hong Kong-listed CNAC, as part of the country's comprehensive plan to revamp the airline industry.

Air China suffered its first fatal accident in more than a decade when one of its 767-200ERs crashed on approach to Pusan, Korea, killing 128, on Apr. 15, 2002.

Air-India: The Indian carrier made an operating profit of $6 million in FY02, its first in seven years. In the year to March 31, 2001, it had a net loss of $9 million, which sent the total to $203 million in losses over the past six years.

Civil Aviation Minister Shahnawaz Hussain has revealed that Air-India soon will approve a fleet renewal plan. This is expected to lead the government to make another attempt to sell shares in the airline, although past efforts have stumbled on the social agenda of not laying off staff and issues over control. Government officials suggest the plan will be for about 45 aircraft, a significant expansion over the current fleet of 28. The route network of the once-global carrier has shrunk significantly over the past 10 years as financial and labor problems have mounted.

Last year Air-India increased capacity by dry-leasing five A3l0-300s, which helped cut its employee-per-aircraft ratio from 690 to 540. Three more A3l0s are to be leased along with two 747-400s to handle new services to Bangkok and the Gulf. The airline also is looking at Polar routes to the US. On the agenda is a revamp of first and business classes, while the government wants the carrier to start taking up its unused bilaterals.

Air-India has announced that it will donate three of its A300B4s to Ariana Afghan.

Air Macau: Although traffic and revenues both were up strongly last year, the carrier's operating profit slipped to just over $1 million from $8.7 million in 2000 and net income was down to $10.9 million from $13.6 million.

Passenger boardings rose 10.3% and are expected to grow nearly 20% this year as Air Macau adds two A319s to its fleet of three A320s and five A321s. It also operates a 757 wet-leased from Far Eastern Air Transport between Macau and Taiwan.

Air New Zealand: The flag carrier is struggling to gain altitude after the worst commercial writeoff in New Zealand history when it put wholly owned subsidiary Ansett into administration last year. ANZ lost $578.6 million for the year ended June 30, 2001. But that was not the worst of it, with a loss of $199.5 million projected for the financial year ended June 30, 2002, on further Ansett-related write-offs, according to the airline's new owner, the New Zealand government.

Late last year the government was forced to rescue ANZ from bankruptcy after its malor shareholders, Brierley Investments Ltd. with 30% and Singapore Airlines with 25%, declined to commit further funds. The government purchased $397 million in stock to take 82% of the airline, reducing BIL's stake to 5.5% and SIA's to just 4.4%.

ANZ did expect to post an operating profit for the year to June 30 as passenger numbers recover and cost-cutting makes an impact. It recorded a net loss of $168 million in the half-year to Dec. 31, including a $157 million charge arising from its separation from Ansett. ANZ, which is facing increased competition in the domestic New Zealand market from regional heavyweight Qantas; said its first-half pre-abnormals net loss after tax from continuing operations was $33.9 million. Fleet expansion is on hold for the moment.

Air Sahara: The small Indian domestic carrier, whose market share has reached 6.4%, has unveiled a $60 million expansion plan that includes leasing three 737-700s and 12 CRJs. …

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