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PETALING JAYA: KL International Airport (KLIA) is today the 27th busiest airport in the world by passenger volume and by the turn of the decade it is expected to join the ranks of 20 busiest.
Maybank Investment senior analyst Mohshin Aziz told StarBiz that this projection was itself attractive for any airline that was ambitious to be a global player not to overlook flying into KLIA.
KLIA’s connectivity, traffic volume, a thriving domestic market and that it houses Asia’s biggest low-cost airline hub, also count as factors attracting these airlines.
But only a decade ago, KLIA saw the departure of British Airways (BA), Lufthansa and Qantas.
Full service carriers also need business traffic for the yields besides connectivity and traffic volumes and that is where KLIA paled then in comparison with its rivals Singapore’s Changi and Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi.
But things have certainly taken a drastic turn since.
Today, KLIA has 56 airlines flying out of the hub, three more will join by May 1, and by yearend KLIA could have more than 60.
Lufthansa returned some years ago, Air France comes back on April 23 after 30 years, Turkish Airlines and Philippines Airlines, after a decade of absence.
“The whole economic make-up of KL has changed, there is strong economic growth, more foreign companies are based here than a decade ago, the number of business travellers are higher and there is a huge domestic market and Malaysia is more visible on the tourism map,” said an expert.
The wining of several awards including “best airport in the world’ in its category helps it attract more airlines.
Airport Council International, a body that tracks the movement of passenger and aircraft traffic in global airports on Tuesday released its preliminary figures in which KLIA stood at 27th place for handling 39.8 million passengers in 2012.
Suvarnabhumi is ranked 14 with 53 million passengers, Changi a notch lower with 51 million, and Jakarta at 9th place with 57 million passengers, mainly due to a thriving domestic market as its growing middle class population takes to the skies.
Suvarnabhumi and Changi will continue to be a threat to KLIA but they also have their own issues of space and slots.
“How much more can these airports grow, and Suvarnabhumi already has the widest connectivity, how much more can it grow?
“And if you look at Soekarno Hatta, it is always packed and getting prime slots can be a challenge and the same is for the other two, especially at night and both airlines and passengers hate delays,” said Mohshin.
Mohshin felt that KLIA had all the building blocks in place to attract airlines, the slots, the space and the volume.
Though KLIA will never be number one, he believes it can be number two or even three.
“It is all about growth and growth and infrastructure efficiency, and KLIA has that,” he added.
Whether BA and Qantas return or not, the volume coming from Asian and Middle Eastern carriers is sizeable and Mohshin said KLIA should focus on that more.
Besides BA and Qantas, MAHB is courting several airlines including Jet Airways, SpiceJet and Indigo to use KLIA, and it will be no surprise if it adds one or two more for this year.
By B.K. SIDHU
KUALA LUMPUR: The art director of the original Star Wars and Alien films will be helming a zombie flick featuring local talent in Malaysia.
Academy Award winner Roger Christian, 69, said Temple of the Undead would be made along the lines of visual effect-driven films such as Sin City and 300.
Christian has been in the country for over a month, scouting locations and writing the script.
“I did a zombie flick in Canada once and I had this idea of making an ethnic zombie movie,” he said.
“It will be much more tribal with battles in the jungle with head hunters. I want my zombies to be different,” Christian added.
“So here (Malaysia) is perfect! We will be using Malaysian actors, locations and special effects,” Christian told reporters after visiting the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia’s (Finas) Kompleks Studio Merdeka.
Christian said the budget for the movie or the date of production had yet to be finalised as the script was still in the works.
Christian was responsible for the creation of iconic elements in the original Star Wars and Alien movies.
As a filmmaker, he is renowned for movies such as Battlefield Earth, Nostradamus and Underworld.
Christian also said he was not interested in returning to the new franchise reboot of the Star Wars series under Disney.
“No, it’s Disney’s now. George Lucas and I became great friends and struggled to make the first Star Wars,” he said. “But it’s gone into a different world.”
SOURCES: THE STAR – 29 MARCH 2013, FRI
Boot-ylicious: Models admiring the biggest shoe made
from shoelaces at the Malaysia International Shoe Festival at PWTC, Kuala Lumpur.
KUALA LUMPUR: Of all the high-heels, wedges and boots on display, there was one that stood out at the fourth Malaysia International Shoe Festival (MISF).
The 3m-high shoe sculpture, made of 40,000 pieces of shoelaces, drew the attention of visitors with its colourful design and sheer size.
It entered the Malaysia Book Of Records as the largest sculpture to be made from shoelaces.
The “shoe” was made by 17 design students from The One Academy, and it took them about a month to complete it.
It was designed to showcase Malaysian cultural features, while a tree on top of the shoe signified the robust growth of the shoe-making industry in the country.
Even Malaysia’s tourism ambassador and shoe designer Datuk Jimmy Choo praised the sculpture, saying that it showed Malaysian youths were innovative.
“It is just a matter of how to help them achieve international success,” he said at the event, held at the Putra World Trade Centre here.
The event, open to the public from today until Sunday, will feature over 150 local and international brands that include Fiorucci, Snowfly, Larrie, Verns, Ecco and Timberland.
Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said the number of booths for the festival had increased by over 100% to about 170. There were only 70 booths in 2010.
Choo, who has a booth displaying his latest collection, said he incorporated local ethnic fabrics, such as the pua kumbu and songket, in his designs.
“I used the fabric for the shoes because it showcases Malaysian traditional textiles, which are made by hand by the locals,” said Choo. “Each fabric represents the state it originates from.”
Choo said people had the impression that such fabrics were only for royal families and could only be used to make clothes. “I want to show that you (young designers) can use the cloth in different ways.”
The MISF 2013, organised by the ministry and the Malaysian Footwear Manufacturers Association, is open from 10.30am to 8.30pm at Hall 2, PWTC.
(SOURCES: THE STAR – 29 MARCH 2013, FRI)
KUALA LUMPUR: Hotels in Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Tawau experienced a 35% drop in business following the terrorist attacks in Lahad Datu, says Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.
She said some 800 tourists cancelled their tour packages to Sabah during the period, when a group of foreign gunmen invaded Lahad Datu on Feb 9 and attempted to lay claim to Sabah.
“I visited Semporna and Tawau last week and can give an assurance that Sabah is safe to visit.
“A task force has been formed to encourage Sabah tourism activities. The ministry and state government will organise a water regatta event in the last week of April,” she said after launching the Malaysia International Shoe Festival at the Putra World Trade Centre here yesterday.
Dr Ng said the tourism industry is the third largest revenue earner for Malaysia and contributes RM60bil annually and provides 1.8 million people with job opportunities.
At another event, Dr Ng urged employers to provide parental care facilities for elderly parents of their workers.
“It is time that employers have amenities for elderly parents, aside from having childcare centres at the workplace.
“My mother is 96 years old. She is lonely whenever I’m at work. I thought how nice it would be if she could come to my workplace and that we have a parental care centre for her,” she said at the Women In Leadership (WIL) Forum Asia in a hotel here.
WIL Forums founder Sophie Le Ray said Malaysia was advanced in terms of women representation in leadership roles.
“Malaysia has set the trend in creating a quota for women to be part of a company’s board of directors. You also see quite a number of powerful female leaders in the public and private sectors,” she added.
Le Ray said only 6% of the board of directors in companies worldwide were women and more must be done to increase the number.
SOURCES: THE STAR – 29 MARCH 2013, FRI
SEPANG, March 28 (Bernama) — The construction works at the new low-cost airline hub, klia2, is on track and the airport is on schedule for a June 28 launch, said Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB).
Chairman Tan Sri Dr Wan Aziz Wan Abdullah said the new airport is currently 82 per cent complete, including works for air trffic control tower and paving the runway.
He said all efforts are taken to meet the target date, which was mooted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, to coincide with the date of the launch of Kuala Lumpur International Airport in 1998.
“MAHB is closely monitoring the progress of the work being done by the contractors, with some works by the contractors were behind schedule but efforts are being taken by them to catch up and work towards the target date.
“As the terminal operations involve multiple stakeholders including airlines and agencies, it is important that all parties are ready before the terminal can be operational,” Wan Aziz told reporters after the company’s annual general meeting here today.
MAHB is also employing 1,102 new staff for klia2, of whom 746 are for aviation security, 86 for airport fire and rescue services, 98 for engineering and maintenance and 172 are in operations services.
MAHB’s Chief Financial Officer, Faizal Mansor said with the opening of klia2, the airport operator expected its retail revenue to jump to RM800 million this year from RM537.5 million last year.
With some 10 airlines committed to operate from the new airport, Faizal said klia2, which has a significant space portion for retail, had attracted many international retail brands.
The RM4 billion klia2, built to cater for the explosive growth expected in low-cost travel, is envisaged to handle a maximum of 45 million passengers per year.
It will have 60 gates, eight remote stands and 80 aerobridges, plus a 32,000 sq metre retail space with 225 outlets.
LAHAD DATU, March 28 (Bernama) — The ‘Menara Kayangan’ in Lahad Datu near here was re-opened to visitors last week after being closed for almost one month following the intrusion by terrorists from the southern Philippines.
A spokesman for the tourism centre who declined to identified, said however that the number of visitors had decreased as compared to the period before the incursion.
“Prior to the temporary closure, the number of daily visitors was more than 100 and could even reach 500 during the weekend.
“For the past week only about 20 people came,” he said, when met at the centre today.
The tower located at the foot of Mt Silam stands at 883 metres above sea level.
The spokeman said the tower was a regular stopover for visitors from wihin and outside the country while on their way to the Danum Valley, about 63km from the entrance of the tower which is managed by the Sabah Forestry department.
KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 (Bernama) — The local shoe-making industry has contributed significantly to the country’s economy, churning out a staggering RM1 bilion in sales last year, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said.
She said the figure included Malaysia’s RM621 million footwear exports to the international market such as Brazil, the United Kingdom, Mexico and the Asean countries as well as RM300 million in the domestic market.
“It shows that we have succeeded in developing the footwear industry and will continue to make Malaysia as Asia’s leading shoe manufacturer, the next step forward into the world stage,” she told reporters after launching the Malaysia International Shoe Festival 2013 Thursday.
In addition to improving the entrepreneurs’ income and producing many locally-designeed shoes, Dr Ng said this year’s festival, the fourth edition, was expected to place Malaysia as a centre for high fashion in the global fashion arena as well as the “Shoe Capital of Asia,” she added.
Dr Ng said the footwear manufacturing industry in Malaysia was a century-old industry and ranked 19th worldwide in terms of shoe exports, with Ipoh as the main footwear production centre for the country.
The highlight of the shoe festival is an exhibition by Datuk Jimmy Choo entitiled “Mahkota Capsule Couture Collection” which pays tribute to the use of local ethnic fabrics such as Pua Kumbu, Pua Sungkit, Dastar, Tekat and Songket.
Earlier, the minister witnessed the “Biggest Sculpture Made By Shoelaces” making an entry into the Malaysia Book of Records as the largest sculpture made from shoelaces.
A three-metre high shoe-shaped sculpture made from 40,000 pieces of shoelaces was showcased at the festival. It took about a month to complete.
The sculpture depicts Malaysia’s rich ulture and tourism features, with a tree on the top of the shoe, signifying the country’s robust shoe-making industry.
The public can visit the festival from tomorrow till Sunday.
The ministry is targeting RM8 million sales from the festival. Some 150 shoe designers, including from Brazil, Italy and Thailand and proprietors of local show-making companies, are showcasing their products at the festival being held at the Putra World Trade Centre.
KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 (Bernama) — Destination Resorts and Hotels (DRH), has two new premier developments under its investment portfolio, the Traders Hotel and a lifestyle and family entertainment complex, Little Red Cube, to be located in Puteri Harbour, Nusajaya.
In a statement here today, DRH said with a total investment of more than RM400 million, both Little Red Cube and Traders Hotel Puteri Harbour are expected to create over 1,000 employment opportunities and help meet the 500,000 visitor target for the Visit Malaysia Year 2014.
Its Managing Director, Nadziruddin Basri said: “These developments will add to the leisure offerings in the region, stimulate the economy in the surrounding areas, create employment for our local talent as well as develop a pool of hospitality professionals.
“DRH’s portfolio is growing steadily and we are eager to share our latest projects as they unveil,” he added.
DRH, established by the Malaysian government’s investment arm, Khazanah Nasional Bhd, has formed a strategic partnership with world-renowned Shangri-La Group, to operate the Traders Hotel Puteri Harbour.
It will be the first international hotel brand in Nusajaya and is set to commence operations by the second quarter of this year.
Nadziruddin said DRH’s success is largely attributed to its collaboration with key partners, such as the Shangri-La Group.
He said the two developments undertaken by DRH will contribute immensely to elevating Puteri Harbour as the new destination for Johor.
“As a catalyst for the development of Malaysia’s leisure and tourism sector, this is a very exciting time for DRH. Last November, we announced our first integrated resort development in Johor, Desaru Coast,” he added.
IPOH, March 27 (Bernama) — Three hundred floating sea villas, costing RM200 million, will be built in Lumut under a joint venture between the Perak government and Damai Laut Golf Resort Sdn Bhd.
The sea villa project, to be developed on approximately 20 hectares of coastal land leased from the state government for 99 years, would be situated adjacent to the Swiss Garden Golf Resort & Spa, Damai Laut.
Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said the sea villas would be completed in 2016 and become another tourist attraction in the state.
“Damai Laut is among the most popular holiday resort in the state and has an awesome golf course,” he told reporters after witnessing the signing of a joint-venture agreement between the state government and the developer.
Damai Laut Golf Resort Sdn Bhd, a hotel division of PJD Holdings Bhd, manages 12 hotels and resorts at home and abroad.
KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 (Bernama) — Bangladesh is keen to emulate Malaysia’s infrastructure development to attract more tourists to the country, said Bangladesh’s High Commissioner to Malaysia A.K.M. Atiqur Rahman.
He said tourists were easily attracted to Malaysia because of its infrastructure.
For example, an average of 500 people from Bangladesh fly to Malaysia each day, with three flights operating daily between Kuala Lumpur and Dhaka, he told Bernama in an interview recently, in conjunction with the country’s 42nd independence anniversary celebration yesterday.
Atiqur Rahman said the lack of infrastructure facilities had restricted the country from getting more tourists from around the globe.
“Once we can do these things (rebuild infrastructure), I think we will get more tourists, not only from Malaysia but also from other countries,” he said.
However, he noted that a lot of work needed to be done, not only to improve Bangladesh’s infrastructure but also to develop air links, hotels and restaurants.
The High Commissioner said Bangladesh had many tourist attractions, including the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest and home to the Bengal tiger.
The Sundarban forest covers around 10,000 square km, of which a major portion is in Bangladesh, while India’s portion is estimated to be around 4,264 square km.
Atiqur Rahman said Bangladesh is also known for its Cox’s Bazar beach, which is one of the world’s longest natural sandy beaches and also a fishing port, an added value to attract more tourists.
Touching on investments, he said a number of Malaysian companies were investing in housing projects in the country.
However, he sees the need for more collaboration in the pharmaceutical industry as Bangladesh maintains a high standard of medicinal products at very competitive prices.
“So, we hope that by the next three to five years, there will be lot of Malaysian companies investing in Bangladesh in the medical sector also,” Atiqur Rahman said.
Touching on bilateral relations, he said diplomatic ties with Malaysia began in 1972, a year after Bangladesh attained its independence.
He lauded the Malaysian government and its people for being the first Muslim and Southeast Asian country to recognise Bangladesh, just within months after its liberation on Dec 16, 1971 (regarded as Victory Day).
By Azzah Mohamad