Tony is cold sweating over Copy-Cat MAS’s free seats

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May 06 2008
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When the pretty newsreader told me to wait for the special announcement from Malaysia Airline System (KLSE: MAS, stock-code 3786) MD/CEO Idris Jala, I was curious what the heck was that all about. Maybe he wished to tell us he was resigning but it would be too exaggerated to do so using such channel. Maybe he wished to announced that he has beaten Tony Fernandes and was acquiring AirAsia Berhad’s (KLSE: AIRASIA, stock-code 5099). That sounds more like it since Tony has given MAS a run for their money so it would be a sweet revenge to have Tony reports to him *grin* now.

It was a new marketing campaign – Malaysia Airline’s Zero Fare campaign that offered 1 million free one-way seats on domestic routes with certain conditions. What! Another “copy-cat” marketing plan which was stolen from low-cost carrier AirAsia? But I guess if you (MAS) can’t beat them, then join them (AirAsia) even though the plan was a copy-cat version. What took MAS so long to come out with such a plan in the first place? Anyway complement should be extended to Idris Jala as business sense comes first and there’s nothing wrong being a copy-cat. At least Tony Fernandes is cold sweating now. Nevertheless Tony is screaming this is the 10th time that MAS has copied AirAsia.


It makes perfect sense to fill up the unsold 30 percent domestic seats. How can MAS make revenue out of these free seats? Through incremental revenue from administrative fee, airport tax and fuel surcharge of course. This latest MAS promotion is only applicable if you purchase the ticket online via http://www.malaysiaairlines.com/. Tickets purchased were not refundable and the travel dates could not be changed – the tickets are valid for travel between 10th June and 14th Dec 2008 only, mind you.

What would be the fate of MAS own version of low-cost carrier Firefly if the campaign becomes so successful that MAS decided to continue the plan permanently? Anyway, Tony Fernandes has countered with two new initiatives today:

  1. AirAsia will pay the difference to any of his passengers if they can find any MAS airfare that is lower than the cheapest offered by AirAsia – just print out the confirmed booking from MAS and Tony Fernandes will pay the difference. Sounds like hypermarket Carrefour don’t you think so?
  2. A sub-Zero Fare campaign which will be launched in the next few days – a plan that Tony claimed will be cheaper than zero. Wow! Anything less than zero is “negative” so does that means passengers will be paid for flying AirAsia?

MAS copycat AirAsiaSo, who says “competition” is no good for business? Can you imagine what would happen if AirAsia does not exist? And to think the previous MAS management was happily drifting into the sea of losses despite monopoly and exorbitant charges. Competition is healthy and it definitely will benefit the consumers and spawns creativity and innovative business ideas that would push business to the next level. I think Tony has to do better than justifying that AirAsia has newer aircraft and better crew. Hey, MAS has sexier crews (depends on your luck) and free food although sometimes the food could be boring. What about ISP (internet service provider) such as TM’s Streamyx who is providing pathetic services with low bandwidth that do not correspond to the fees charged?

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Anyway to bring better competition to broadband industry in Malaysia? More players are not necessary good because of high capital required. Will DiGi/TIME 3G put pressure on other ISPs to improve quality of service, e.g. reliability, speed for international traffic?

Tony did not invent low costs airlines marketing plans, he copied from others as well. So? Jetstar is already kicking his arse in Oz, Sg, Th, KL and everywhere. Good luck Tony and your fan boys.

of course tony copied it from his mentor but within the context of malaysia alone, the perception is that MAS copied from AirAsia and that’s the fact …

and remember how and why firefly was borned?

cheers …

hello encik wan … more players will always benefit the consumers, no?

even if you wish to confine to monopoly, you need genuine and capable player to benefit the consumers … don’t look too far away but to set your eyes at the tiny dot under malaysia …

cheers …

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