FreedomFlyer - Air Asia

September 8th, 2017 - RedQ KLIA2

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Air Asia, the worlds best Low Cost Carrier (LCC) have revamped their Air Asia BIG frequent flyer programme, and to celebrate, they held a launch event at RedQ, their Headquarters at KLIA2 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 


Air Asia BIG Freedom Flyer is the latest and greatest incarnation from the Malaysian based LCC.

Free membership that lasts a lifetime! Infact, and as mentioned by the mastermind, and Air Asia BIG CEO, Dato' Eddy Leong, "when you die, you can even leave your points with a loved one" - Now that's more than a lifetime. The only clause is if you've remained inactive for greater than 3 years, in which case the points/account is ceased. 

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In a world first for a strictly LCC, theres a tiered membership based off of how many times you fly with Air Asia's many regional footholds. You start at Red (0-13 one way flights) then Gold (14-23 o/w flights) and Platium (24-49 o/w flights), finishing with Black Membership for 50+ flights. This may intially seem to give an advantage to people based within Asia and able to make use of the many short hop destinations on offer, however long haul flights with Air Asia X are counted as double sectors. So a one way fare from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur will boost your status by 2, instead of 1. 

Membership is 100% electronic and there's a great app available to keep all your details, redeem flights and browse great offers. Air Asia CEO Tony Fernandes said after the event; "Data is really important to me and this programme, and through this app, we can tailor specific marketing campaigns to you, based off of your travel history and destination behaviours".

BIG Freedom Flyer points are earned and redeemable through all of Air Asia's selected partners in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, India, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand - Basically, anywhere you see the brand.  

It's all summarised perfectly by Eddy Leong, who said in the press release, "Our Freedom Flyer Programme is the first of its kind in the world that is designed for everyone. No matter who you are or what you do, our Freedom Flyer Programme is our way of saying thank you for making Air Asia great. This is for you."

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Evolving an airline that has already been a huge success, and a means to open up the ASEAN region for everyone to see what's over the horizon, this Freedom Flyer Programme adds another feather to the cap of this massive organisation and a huge boost to everyone's ability to travel. 


Heres the link to sign up: Air Asia Big  There really isn't a single reason to not sign up...  

Journalist: James Lusher

Images: James Lusher

Air Aisa Flies Straight & Level

Air Asia is currently experiencing strong growth all over it's network. India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and of course Malaysia are all performing well and recording impressive load factors. Australia however, is not doing as well, but is showing sign's of improvement. 


 Air Asia CEO Tony Fernandez announced last week at a Paris Air Show media confrence that the long antisipated return to European skies, or the commencement of flights to the Mainland USA would not be going ahead (for now) and therefore focusing the Airline on the ASEAN region. (Air Asia is however, commencing a service to Honolulu via Osaka this month - June 2017)

During the press conference I asked him about his plans for the 10 A350-900's currently order, and if the airline was intending on going ahead with the deliveries, to which he replied "that's something that everyone around here want's to know" - Given that we were meeting in the Airbus media room, one can only assume that Airbus are the "everyone" he was referring to.

Likely ordered for the return to Europe and long haul flight's to the American West, it could be seen that the A350 order will not proceed for now, along with the plan to expand outside of the ASEAN region. 

Tony did go on to mention some news that holds interest here in Australia. In finishing with my question he said, "Adelaide is more important to me than Europe right now" which could imply that we could be seeing services to the South Australian city some time in the near future although no dates are confirmed. Broome was also mentioned as a possible destination from within Malaysia or Indonesia. 

Air Asia live by their words, and "Now everyone can fly" really sums up their approach to air travel, and ensuring that they are cheaply, and punctually connecting cities that have never seen direct flights before. Case and point would be the airline's opening Australian service to the Gold Coast - Previously overlooked by all international carrier's north and west of mainland Australia.

Author: James Lusher

Press Conference: Airbus Corporate Building, Le Bourget Airport in Paris 

Breaking News: Qantas & Emirates

Thursday 27th of April - 12:15pm

Qantas have confirmed that from March 24th 2018, it will cancel its Melbourne-Dubai-London A380 Service. 

This coincides with the commencement of the new Perth-London direct flights which will commence the following day as the new QF9 MEL-PER-LHR. This new flight will depart Melbourne at 15:20pm, arriving in Perth at 17:20pm with an hour and a half layover in Perth before the epic journey to London commences. 

Emirates have just announced that from the March 25th (which ties in nicely with the Qantas shift), every service into Melbourne Airport will be A380 metal. The most noticeable difference for EK travellers will be upfront, with the flat bed business class seats, replacing the angled ones onboard the B777's.


James Lusher


Qantas Dreamliners Draw Closer

Take a good look and remember these registrations - At the end of 2017 and into 2018, These are the ones you'll want to photograph.

VH-ZNA / VH-ZNB / VH-ZNC and so on... You get the idea!

Qantas' 787-9 fleet is taking shape at the Everett Production site, the home of Boeing in Seattle. Serial Numbers 615, 641, 655 & 669 have been allocated to QF and the initial 1st delivery date of the 12th of October 2017 is looking promising although still subject to change.

After delivery, is undoubtable that these airframes will complete some route proving domestically, giving us all (hopefully) a good look at the New Roo livery on this beautifully designed aircraft. 

Qantas have configured their aircraft to support 236 passengers in a 3 class configuration. 42 Business, 28 Premium Economy and 166 Economy - All newly designed specifically for this airframe and offering levels of comfort previously unseen on a Qantas service. 

Melbourne to Los Angeles will kick off as the first confirmed international service in December 2017, followed by Perth-London which is anticipated to commence in March/April 2018.

It's been a long time coming for Qantas and the Australian travelling public.. 

James Lusher

Antonov Deliver Rescue Helicopter

Sunday 16th of April saw the Antonov AN124 arrive at Sydney Airport. 

The Ukrainian registered UR-82008 arrived on schedule from BKK at 14:30pm local time. Intermittent cloud foiled some of the northern end of the airfield shots, but conditions were perfect at the Runway Beach on Botany Bay for the Rwy 16R arrival. 

Once on the ground, this bohemoth of an aircraft shows it's true size, and perfectly captured by Nigel Coghlan in these images below. 

 Touchdown!   Image: Nigel Coghlan

Touchdown! Image: Nigel Coghlan

 Engines Off after the 9 hour flight from Bangkok.   Image: Nigel Coghlan

Engines Off after the 9 hour flight from Bangkok. Image: Nigel Coghlan

 This aircraft's ability to lift the nose completely allows for huge payloads of freight that would otherwise be impossible for air travel.    Image: Nigel Coghlan

This aircraft's ability to lift the nose completely allows for huge payloads of freight that would otherwise be impossible for air travel.  Image: Nigel Coghlan

The AN124 stayed overnight at Sydney Airport, and departed for Bangladesh at around 8am this morning. Hopefully, we get another glimpse of this beauty, soon!



Sydney - A Dreamliner Destination

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner had a rough start in the aviation world.. From conception to delivery, the B787 airways were fraught with challenges and hiccups.

Announced to the world on January 29th, 2003 as the 7E7 and utilising some of the technology on the initially proposed "Sonic Cruiser" (which never made it past a blueprint), the Dreamliner found a slot in the market for a long range, economic, twin engined, dual isle aircraft. And the airlines were keen! Boeing had also proposed the 747X around the same time but found the marketplace cooler for 4 engined, older style and thirsty aircraft. As we know, the 747-8 did eventuate however mostly in a Cargo variant.

When released to the market, orders for the B787 bolted from the gate, with 56 placed in 2004, 235 in 2005, 157 in 2006 and a staggering 369 in 2007. Currently over 1200 787's have been ordered in all three variants and as of February 2017, 521 are now with their proud owners.

Sydney's first taste of the B787 came though Jetstar Australia, with the intention of opening up Asian destinations at cheap prices to the travel hungry Australian population. After a settling in process which saw the JQ 787's serve between Melbourne and the Gold Coast, Sydney and Brisbane soon hosted International services in early 2014 with this revolutionary aircraft. 

Since then Sydney Airport has seen a swathe of airlines put the Dreamliner into Service to Australia's premier and busiest airport. 

Air New Zealand - LATAM - Fly Scoot - Air India - Xiamen - United Airlines - All Nippon Airways - Vietnam Airlines & Japan Airlines all have daily services to Sydney. Qantas are tipped to join this party at some stage through 2018, although routes are yet to be confirmed. 

United Airlines serve Sydney with daily services from LAX and SFO, and Vietnam Airlines are about to commence a second (3 x weekly) service from Hanoi with the Dreamliner, to compliment the daily service from Ho Chi Minh.

Who's next??!! With the aircraft's increasing popularity among airlines and passengers alike, this marvel of technology will be around, and in increasing numbers, for a long time to come!

What's your favourite livery on the Dreamliner? 

Author: James Lusher



VH-NRX Prop Located

The ATSB announced today that propeller assembly from flight ZL768 (VH-NRX) was located today, in bushland around the Georges River National Park approximately,  18kms from Sydney Airport



This is the vital piece of the puzzle that is required to understand how the prop assembly managed to separate from the aircraft. 

REX Chief Operating Officer Neville Howell has also clarified in a press release today, some of the inaccuracies of media reports recently put to air, in the hope of clearing up the public's concern relating to the recent incident. 

1) 'that the aircraft should be diverted to Canberra in accordanc with regulations' As stated in our previous media release and as confirmed by the location of the propeller, the aircraft was some 20kms away from Sydney airport when the engine shut down and the propeller separated from the aircraft. It would be ludicrous for the pilot to divert the aircraft 250kms to Canberra airport when Sydney was only 20kms away. The company stands behind the decision made by the crew to continue to Sydney airport. 

2) 'that maintenance checks would have been able to detect the fault in the vulnerable propeller shaft' It is premature to second guess the outcome of the ATSB investigations but on REX's part, it has been fully compliant with the engineering inspections prescribed by General Electric (GE), the manufaturer of the engine assembly. 

REX has since taken the steps of replacing the gearboxes and shafts (of the same series as the separated propeller) from 5 aircraft, which will be finalised in the coming 2/3 days. 

The ATSB investigation now has all the evidence it needs, so let's hope for an accurate and speedy conclusion so that future incidents can be avoided.