Winning Skytrax World’s Best Low Cost Airline for the sixth time is a big deal for us here at AirAsia as it is an affirmation of our dreams to enable everyone to fly. What was initially a lofty dream is now a reality; what in the past only the well-heeled could afford is now within the means of just about anyone.
We are proud that not only have we made this dream possible for so many people, we have also grown by leaps and bounds and now connect a huge part of Asia and Oceania, with newer routes and destinations being added on an almost weekly basis!
While the hard work may be ours, the actual realisation of our efforts has only been made possible because of you – our guests. Without guests, we’d just have empty planes. Without your support, we’d never have grown so successful. Without your never-ending faith in AirAsia, these awards would never have been possible. We thank you and are humbled that you continue believing in us. As you have been such an important element in our successes, we’d like to think that we too have touched or made a little change in your lives.
In these next few pages, we chronicle how lives have changed, distances have been shortened, hopes have been fulfilled, dreams have been realised and romances have been made magical for AirAsia’s guests, who have always been our biggest asset.
FIRST TIME FLYERS
To celebrate AirAsia’s migration to klia2 in May 2014, AirAsia and AirAsia X ran a Twitter campaign to give free flights to people who had never experienced a flight before in a campaign called #noweveryonecanfly. From over 300 nominees tweeted to Aireen Omar, CEO of Malaysian AirAsia and Azran Osman-Rani, CEO of AirAsia X, the two CEOs narrowed down the winners to eight of the most deserving aircraft virgins. The first-time flyers each received a pair of return flight tickets to any AirAsia or AirAsia X destination, free accommodation, AirAsia merchandise and more!
AirAsia brought my mom and grandma home safely from their hols. Besides, I love QPR! @IAmSathiswaran
A FRIEND IN NEED
In 2011, before the airline even launched its commercial flights, Philippines AirAsia joined forces with government agencies, Armed Forces of the Philippines and the United Nations World Food Programme to help typhoon victims in Mindanao. On a mission flight, Philippines AirAsia carried 8.5 tonnes of high energy biscuits from Manila to Cagayan de Oro City with Filipino Allstars, military personnel and UN volunteers helping out in the loading and distribution of relief goods. Later in 2013, Philippines AirAsia once again jumped at the opportunity to be of service to the citizens of Philippines when it carried relief and rescue workers, policemen, medical workers and over 5,000 tonnes of assorted relief goods to Kalibo, Cebu and Tacloban – areas severely devastated and affected by Typhoon Haiyan. The airline was one of the first local carriers to fly humanitarian flights to Kalibo, Cebu and Tacloban assisting government aid workers, NGOs, international civic groups, media and stranded guests. Later, the AirAsia group spearheaded a massive donation drive aimed at collecting funds to help victims of the typhoon with the To Philippine with Love campaign. A whopping USD2.17 million was collected to be channelled towards various community building projects in affected areas.
BOOSTING HOMEGROWN TALENT
In support of homegrown talent, Indonesia AirAsia flew Indonesian indie band White Shoes & The Couples Company to Darwin, Australia to rock the stage at the annual Darwin Festival in August 2013. It was the band’s dream to introduce their music to the Land Down Under and AirAsia helped make it a reality.
LOVE IS IN THE AIR
Many AirAsia guests have proposed to and married their loved ones while up in the air, honouring the airline with the opportunity to be part of their happily ever after story. In 2011, Thai AirAsia celebrated Valentine’s Day and its seventh year anniversary by hosting a wedding ceremony for seven couples on board an AirAsia flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.
AirAsia has also been part of many a wedding proposal. In 2011, the airline helped Boon Jin Ong pop the question on a flight to Singapore from Bangkok. AirAsia upgraded Ong and his then girlfriend, Jee San Tan, to Hot Seats, and delivered a meal to his intended. Inside was a piece of paper with the question: ‘Will you marry me?’ To congratulate them, AirAsia flight attendants presented them with a bouquet of flowers and an AirAsia teddy bear.
In February 2013, 35-year-old medical technician, Oh Thanida Tangwanicharoen, made history when she proposed to 37-year-old Kong Chavachol Setthaudom on board a Thai AirAsia flight from Bangkok to Udon Thani. The confident bride-to-be became the first lady to propose to her significant other on an AirAsia flight! Luckily for her, he said ‘Yes’ and they married the very next day.
FULFILLING PILGRIMS’ DREAMS
AirAsia X launched much-awaited flights from Kuala Lumpur to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the gateway to two of Islam’s holiest pilgrimage sites – Makkah and Madinah in February 2013. The introduction of these four weekly flights has made it possible for Muslim pilgrims to fulfil their religious duty to perform the Hajj, as well as to undertake the Umrah pilgrimage any time of the year.
In 2013, AirAsia Foundation joined hands with Rags2Riches, a Manila-based social enterprise that empowers artisans from less advantaged communities, enabling them to access the right markets. The talented artisans, many of whom previously scavenged dumpsites to make a living, now put their weaving and sewing skills to good use to create stylish accessories for Rags2Riches from upcycled cloth, organic materials and indigenous fabrics. Through the partnership with AirAsia Foundation, 100 artisans from three communities received invaluable training and advice on financial management, nutrition and healthcare, enabling them to build sustainable livelihoods. To date, Rags2Riches has already empowered more than 1,000 artisans in the Philippines. Their products are available for purchase on board Malaysia AirAsia and Philippines AirAsia flights, and at www.airasiamegastore.com. Products include a foldable beach tote, trendy envelope clutch and wristlets.
WORLD’S MY OYSTER
“I started travelling some 20 years ago and, started online publishing in the mid-90s to share my travel experiences to the world. I used to travel extensively, sometimes up to 10 to 15 days in a stretch, but nowadays, I prefer shorter trips between three to five days. In the past, travelling was also expensive: A one-way ticket to Davao alone would have cost thousands of pesos. But now, I get to do a return trip for half the price to the same destination, not to mention to numerous other new cities. Thanks to AirAsia, it’s not only cheaper to travel it is a lot easier too. Within a short period of time with AirAsia, I was able to experience different cultures and savour the local cuisines of so many other Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Myanmar. Soon, I will be visiting India, Nepal and South Korea, and probably go back to Myanmar before the end of this year. Do I love AirAsia for giving me this opportunity to travel so easily and frequently? You bet!”
~ Melo Villareal, award-winning Filipino travel blogger & photographer
New South Wales mum Julie-Anne Foster was rewarded with free return flights from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur on a private Airbus A330 for herself and 302 of her closest family and friends! Foster won AirAsia X’s Friendsy competition, which was launched to celebrate the airline’s daily Sydney-Kuala Lumpur service back in 2012. The competition required AirAsia Australia’s Facebook fans to fill a virtual aircraft with their Facebook friends using a specially-designed Friendsy app featuring the airline’s ‘Pick A Seat’ feature.
HILLS TO THE SEA
The children had never been on a plane or frolicked in the ocean before. Thai AirAsia made both dreams come through for a group of hill-tribe children from northern Thailand by flying them to Panwa Cape in Phuket. Hitching a ride with them were 20 baby sharks from Chiang Mai Aquarium. The airline collaborated with Thailand’s popular Surivipa TV programme to not only enable these kids to experience the joy of flying, but also to enjoy the ocean while learning more about marine conservation activities.
AIN’T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH
AirAsia engineers organised a Charity Climb to Mount Kinabalu in Sabah in April 2012 to raise funds for disabled youths. The team of climbers scaled one of the highest peaks in Southeast Asia in the spirit of goodwill and charity. For their effort, they raised a whopping MYR100, 000, which was channeled towards purchasing prosthetics for individuals who’d lost their limbs due to illness or traffic accidents. Recipients, who are from less-privileged backgrounds, were selected based on criteria like household income and urgency of need. The charity mountain-climbing expedition was the first of its kind initiated by AirAsia Allstars as part of a wider Corporate Social Responsibility campaign to foster greater community engagement.
‘LADY’ IN RED !
After losing a friendly wager with Tony Fernandes, Sir Richard Branson, Chairman and Founder of the Virgin Group, made good on his word to serve as an AirAsia flight attendant for a day. On May 12, 2013, the British tycoon shaved his legs, donned a sexy AirAsia uniform and put on bright red lipstick to serve guests on board an AirAsia X flight from Perth to Kuala Lumpur to raise funds for the Starlight Children’s Foundation. Wearing a cheeky grin, Branson carried out his responsibilities with aplomb, except for when he ‘accidentally’ tipped a tray of drinks onto Fernandes’ lap mid-flight! AirAsia X and Branson raised over AUD200,000 for the foundation that is dedicated to improving the lives of seriously ill and hospitalised children and their families in Australia.
EMBRACING FAITH AND TRADITIONS
AirAsia has always been supportive of charitable works, as well as the celebration of local traditions in the many destinations it flies to. In 2013, to commemorate Buddha Jayanti or the 2,600 year anniversary of Lord Buddha’s enlightenment, the airline teamed up with Sathien Dhammasathan (a Dhamma practice centre) to organise the Bhikkhuni in Two Lands project, an initiative to inspire more young girls to serve the Buddhist faith. Girls as young as six years old took part, proving that the study and practice of dhamma can be undertaken at any age. Earlier, in 2012, AirAsia was invited to take part in transporting the Vassa Candle, bestowed by HM King Bhumibol, during the Vassa Candle Procession in Ubon Ratchathani. The airline also supported the Lumbini Project, the renovation of the birthplace of Lord Buddha in Nepal, by flying media personnel and members of the public to the site via a chartered flight from Bangkok. The airline also presented a Royal Krathin (monk’s robe) to the Lumbini Thai temple in Nepal.
CHECKING ON REEFS
In late 2012, AirAsia Allstars from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines participated in a reef conservation training programme in Batangas, Philippines organised by Ma’an Hontiveros, CEO of Philippines AirAsia. Hontiveros is a passionate conservationist who’s actively involved with Reef Check International, a non-profit organisation dedicated to reef conservation. The AirAsia Reef Check team conducted substrate surveys and identified different types of marine life. Data collected during their dive was submitted to the Reef Check International headquarters in San Francisco, US.
AirAsia is for the people and run by the people: Borderless travel has a new meaning with AirAsia.@ardybaggio
Indonesia AirAsia rewarded six underprivileged children from Jakarta in December 2013, with an all-expense paid trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as part of the airline’s CSR programme. The children were selected via a writing contest titled ‘What I would like to be in the future?’ While the contest received lots of entries, only the six most heart-warming submissions were selected and the winners were flown to KL.
When the political situation in Egypt became increasingly volatile in 2011, AirAsia, led by Dato’ Kamarudin Meranun, the then Deputy Group CEO of AirAsia, swooped in to help some 3,000 Malaysians return home. The airline mounted rescue flights from Cairo and Alexandria to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, and then onwards to Kuala Lumpur. Two years later, when the political situation escalated once again, AirAsia X deployed rescue missions, bringing home 1,110 Malaysian students.
BLOSSOMING OF THE ARTS
In 2012, AirAsia Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the AirAsia Group, awarded a grant of USD68,164 to Cambodian Living Arts (CLA), a non-profit organisation dedicated to preserving the rich artistic heritage of Cambodia, in support of its Plae Pakaa project. The funds enabled 100 students to join master classes in classical and folk dances, traditional Khmer opera and classical music ensembles, and helped CLA erect a permanent stage at the National Museum of Cambodia, allowing students to perform for a paying audience. Plae Pakaa is a series of rotating performances that celebrates the country’s artistic traditions.
SOLIDARITY & STRENGTH
Survivors of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Northeast Japan received some much-needed support when AirAsia X flew 20 members of the ASEAN Youth Caravan of Goodwill to Haneda, Tokyo. The youth visited evacuation centres where they staged joyful cultural performances and shared their own powerful tales of survival.
FULFILLING A DREAM
On May 9, 2012, 83-year-old Thong Poon experienced his first flight ever when his grandson booked AirAsia flight tickets from Bangkok to Phuket for his whole family. Thanks to AirAsia’s unbeatable promo, return tickets were only THB400 per guest! Thong was ecstatic when he found out that he was going on a holiday and would be boarding a plane for the very first time!
100 MILLIONTH GUEST
A pleasant surprise awaited Indonesian Irma Dewi when she boarded an AirAsia flight in late 2010. It was to be a routine flight for the housewife who frequently flew the Jakarta-Kuala Lumpur-Tiruchirappalli (Trichy) route to visit her husband and in-laws in Coimbatore, India. But, there was one small difference; when she boarded the flight that day, she became AirAsia’s 100 millionth guest, a milestone in the airline’s history. To mark the occasion, AirAsia rewarded the 23-year-old with 100 free seats, enabling her to explore various destinations in the airline’s network.
DARE TO DREAM
Muhammad Anas Sadiq, a hard-core Manchester United fan who suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), had his dream of watching a live match come true when AirAsia X flew him to the UK in 2012. The then 16-year-old footie fan even toured the stadium in Old Trafford and met the entire MU team at their training ground in Carrington!
Students can afford to pay their own airfare without asking parents. Awesome! @iz_fina
AirAsia Foundation recently collaborated with the British Council to organise a design innovation workshop for traditional silversmiths in the historical district of Kotagede in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. During this workshop, part of the Foundation’s ‘Conservation through Enterprise’ initiative, the traditional artisans met with experts from a UK-based design consultancy and were introduced to the latest design processes to help them navigate the world of design.
MOTHER’S DAY ON THE FRONTLINE
In 2013, Thai AirAsia honoured the mothers of Royal Thai Army soldiers serving on the frontline by organising a special reunion on National Mother’s Day, which is celebrated on August 9. The airline flew nine mothers from various provinces to Hat Yai to surprise their sons who were bound to their duties in Thailand’s southern border provinces during this celebration, one of Thailand’s most important. Reunited, the lucky troops knelt at their mothers’ feet and paid their respects in true Thai tradition.
LISTEN TO THE WORLD
Last year, AirAsia and ntv7, a Malaysian terrestrial TV channel, teamed up to create awareness on social issues affecting communities in the Asian region. The airline flew 10 Chinese celebrities to destinations in the region for the filming of a travel programme called Listen to the World, which offered insight into the issues facing communities there. The programme that was broadcast on ntv7 documented the journey of the celebrities who stepped out of their comfort zone to bring the plight of less advantaged communities to light. The celebrities – Debbie Goh, Frederick Lee, Adrian Tan, Karena Teo, Leslie Chai, Aenie Wong, Lawrence Wong, Ong Ai Leng, Kyo Chen and Jan Chin – travelled to locations such as Battambang in Cambodia and Thailand’s Phrao Mountains to gain a better understanding of issues affecting the local communities.
LOOSE CHANGE MAKES A DIFFERENCE
In 2010, four-year-old I Wayan Arya sila Arsadhana from Bali, Indonesia, underwent a successful heart correction surgery at the National Heart Institute (IJN) in Malaysia, thanks in part to generous AirAsia guests who donated their loose change for the cause. The funds were collected on board AirAsia flights as part of the airline’s ‘Donate Your Loose Change’ Campaign, a CSR initiative that was launched in 2008 to raise funds to help needy heart patients who required treatment at the institute. AirAsia also flew for free the child and his parents from Bali to Kuala Lumpur for the surgery.
SUPPORTING CAMBODIAN ARTS
In July, 2012, AirAsia teamed up with Cambodian Living Arts (CLA), a non-profit organisation dedicated to reviving endangered Cambodian art forms, to showcase Sbaek Thom, shadow puppetry from Cambodia, at Malaysia’s George Town Festival 2012. This art, which involves large shadow puppets, was declared a UNESCO Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2005. AirAsia flew the Wat Bo Troupe from Siem Reap to Penang for the festival.
I love AirAsia because you have given me the experience to fly high, making everyone’s dreams come true! @LowYikMing
EVER & EVER
“I asked my wife, Caleen, to marry me with a spanking new AirAsia Philippines Airbus A320 as our backdrop in February 2012. It was perfect! The sight of our parents, friends and colleagues emerging from the plane to greet us was like a scene from a Hollywood movie! The plane was on display for the annual Hot Air Balloon festival in Clark, Pampanga – the airline’s former hub – and we’d like to thank everyone at Philippines AirAsia for making that day extra special for us. Caleen and I have been married for over a year now and we’re blessed with an adorable little girl named Cara. We’re very excited because we are taking our first international trip as a family to Seoul very soon and, of course, AirAsia will be part of that journey too!”
~ Patrick Obias, Marketing Manager
HELPING FLOOD VICTIMS
Survivors of one of the most devastating floods in Thai history received much-needed aid when Thai AirAsia sprang into action in 2011. Thai AirAsia supported relief efforts and provided meals and emergency supplies to flood victims. Thai Allstars teamed up with a local restaurant to distribute over 6,000 hot meals to flood victims in Ayutthaya and volunteered to assist in dispending 2,000 sets of emergency kits in Nakhon Sawan province.
AirAsia is a paradigm shift in aviation history. Now everyone can fly! @AshikinRidzuan
DREAM TO FLY
Underprivileged students from a school near Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport were treated to a field trip at Terminal 3. Most of the students had never been to an airport, much less on an aircraft! Indonesia AirAsia took the children on a fun excursion through the airport and organised a tour of an Airbus A320 aircraft, followed by inspirational talks by an Allstar pilot, guest service officer, flight attendant and engineer to encourage the young ones to dream big and work hard to achieve their goals. The airline also contributed computers to the school and provided basic computer classes for the students.
AirAsia awarded Best Low Cost Airline 6 years running. The questions should be… Why Not?? @hafiz_zid
TULONG GULONG DELIVERS!
“The devastation brought about by typhoon Haiyan remains fresh in my mind. I was glued to the news of this catastrophe when one picture caught my attention: A child perched on a tricycad in an affected area. Stories began to pour in about how locals had to walk for hours just to reach relief centres. That’s when Tulong Gulong was born, a programme to bring in bicycles as a means of transport for volunteers and families in affected areas. I started sourcing refurbished bicycles from Japan and called on CNN hero Efren Peñaflorida to help find on-ground partners who’d help distribute the bicycles. The CEO of Philippines AirAsia, Ma’an Hontiveros agreed to support this cause by helping us deliver nearly 100 bicycles to Tacloban, Tanauan and Kalibo, allowing us to transport people, food and medical and construction supplies to families in need. On behalf of Tulong Gulong, I’d like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Philippines AirAsia for their generous support. The work of rehabilitation is far from over, and we hope to continue working together with AirAsia to bring hope and relief back to the people of Tacloban and its surrounding areas.”
~ Susan Dimacali, Founder of Tulong Gulong (Help on Wheels)
FUN IN THE SUN
Elaine Tabula who works as a Team Leader (Business Process Outsourcing) at Convergys Philippines recently rounded up her friends in Manila and headed to the annual Sinulog, one of the biggest and most colourful festivals in Philippines. Accessibility of flights between Manila and Cebu on AirAsia quickly brought the group to Cebu. There, not only did this trip give them a chance to enjoy the festivities, it also afforded them a much-needed break from work. The boys and girls had a whale of a time, exploring the unique festival and experiencing their own local culture up-close. “Thanks to AirAsia for bringing us to Cebu on time, we were able to do what we planned. We are actually planning another getaway sometime very soon!”
~ Elaine Tabula