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AirAsia X and Thai AirAsia X to Launch New Flights to Japan

Jul 08 (Tue ), 2014

AirAsia X Berhad is to launch 4 times weekly flights to Narita, while Thai AirAsia X, Thailand’s first low-fare, long-haul carrier, will also launch flights from Narita and Osaka to Bangkok respectively. AirAsia X commenced flights to Japan in December 2010 to Tokyo (Haneda) and flights to Osaka commenced in November 2011. AirAsia X increased its initial three weekly flights from Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo (Haneda) to daily in June 2012. Further to this, AirAsia X will also fly into Narita 4 times weekly and will increase to daily flights in May 2015. AirAsia X will be offering promotional fares from as low as MYR299 (JPY9,990) in Economy and MYR799 (JPY38,000) in Business Class from Kuala Lumpur to Narita, Japan. Fares are available for booking online from 8 July to 13 July 2014 for travel between 21 November 2014 and 31 July 2015. Strange effect in the very sunny sky over Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok on 14 May 2014 while filming Thai AirAsia X's Airbus A330-300 Aircraft - HD Video Tour Special Thai AirAsia X fares are also available from as low as THB2,990 (JPY9,900) in Economy and THB9,990 (JPY38,000) in Business Class for flights from Don Mueang, Bangkok to Narita and Osaka, Japan for travel between 1 September 2014 and 31 July 2015. “AirAsia X is responding to the strong and growing travel demand to and from Japan. The airline has recorded on average 89% passenger load in the first half of 2014, proving the strong demand for the route since the commencement of its inaugural flight in November 2011. Overall, the airline has carried over 1 million passengers to and from its Japan routes and Japan contributes over 12% of the airline’s total revenue to date,” said Azran Osman-Rani, Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia X. “The additional flights from both AirAsia X and Thai AirAsia X would further provide our guests from Malaysia and the surrounding region to Japan and from Japan to South East Asia and beyond the flexibility in their travel with better connectivity. With the convenience of our Fly-Thru flights, guests from our long haul network and that of the AirAsia Group may connect seamlessly to over 90 destinations across the Group’s network. The additional flights from both AirAsia and Thai AirAsia X will indeed open up new horizons for commercial activities and boost tourism in Japan and the ASEAN region.” Fly Thru services are also available on offer for flights from Narita to Indonesia (Bandung, Medan, Jakarta, Bali, Surabaya), Malaysia (Penang, Langkawi, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Alor Setar, Johor Bahru, Kota Bharu, Terengganu, Miri, Sibu, Tawau), Thailand (Phuket, Krabi, Hat Yai, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai), Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh), Singapore, India (Kochin, Tiruchirappalli), Cambodia (Siem Reap), Myammar (Yangon)and Australia (Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide)via Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok. The Fly-thru service is also available from Osaka to selected destinations such as Mandalay, Hanoi, Singapore and many more. Nadda Buranasiri, CEO of Thai AirAsia X said, “Thailand has always been a popular destination for Japanese travelers and we are pleased to offer more affordable and convenient travel options for those who wish to visit Bangkok and beyond. In 2013, Thailand welcomed 1.5 million Japanese travelers, an increase of 11.9% compared to the previous year and we are confident that we can contribute to the further increase number of tourists travelling between the two countries.” AirAsia X was the first long-haul, low fare carrier to introduce Business Class Premium Flatbed seats, which have standard business class specifications of 20” width, 60” pitch and stretch out to 77” in full recline position. The Business Class Premium Flatbed seats feature universal power sockets, adjustable headrests and built-in personal utilities such as tray table, drink holder, reading light and privacy screen. Business class guests also enjoy premium complimentary products and services including pick a seat, priority check-in, priority boarding, priority baggage, 25kg baggage allowance, complimentary meal and pillow & duvet.

AirAsia to Re-Launch Operations in Japan

Jul 08 (Tue ), 2014

AirAsia has entered into a shareholders agreement with Octave Japan Infrastructure Fund I GK, Rakuten Inc., Noevir Holdings Co. Ltd., and Alpen Co. Ltd. to establish AirAsia Japan.   Tony Fernandes, Group Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia said, “We are very excited to return to Japan’s skies together with Octave, Rakuten, Noevir and Alpen this time round. I am more confident than ever that AirAsia Japan, led by Odi (Odagiri Yoshinori) with the strong partnership we have with our new investors, will continue to realize our vision to revolutionize the low-cost carrier segment of Japan. The AirAsia Japan team is now working hard with the relevant authorities to obtain necessary operational approvals, and we hope that all will be in place to start both domestic and international flights by the summer of 2015.”   Odagiri Yoshinori, Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia Japan, added, “We are ready to take on this challenge and with great teamwork, we hope to bring AirAsia’s successful low-cost business model once again to Japan. Our counterparts in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and India have seen great and encouraging responses in their markets, and we will work towards the same for Japan. We would like to thank the investors for their belief in us and we look forward to working closely with them moving forward.”   Rakuten was incorporated in Japan on February 1997 and its major business includes internet services (e-commerce, travel), financial services (bank, credit card, securities. etc), telecommunications and professional sports.   Noevir was incorporated in Japan on March 2011 and its major business includes cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and health food, apparel and aviation business.   Alpen was incorporated in Japan in July 1972 and its major business includes manufacturing and retail of ski equipment, other sporting goods equipment including golf, tennis, marine sports, baseball, etc. and leisure goods; management of ski resorts, golf courses and fitness clubs.   Octave was incorporated in Japan on May 2014 and its major business is to acquire, own, manage, hold, sell, and dispose of the shares of AirAsia Japan and make collections from the shares of AirAsia Japan.  

AirAsia X Launches 48-Hour Promotion

Apr 10 (Thu ), 2014

AirAsia X, the long-haul, low fare airline affiliate of the AirAsia Group, is offering 48-hour sale to its destinations in Australia, Japan, China and Sri Lanka.   AirAsia X is offering fares from MYR 199 to Sri Lanka (Colombo), China (Shanghai, Hangzhou), Japan (Nagoya, Osaka) and MYR 249 Australia (Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast).   Travelers can also opt to book Fly-Thru flights within the AirAsia X network or onto the AirAsia Group network in conjunction with our sales. Fly-Thru destinations available include cities from countries in Japan, China, Sri Lanka and Australia to our vast ASEAN destinations via the Kuala Lumpur hub.   Bookings are available online between 10 April to 11 April, 2014 for travel between 1 May, 2014 and 30 June 2014. Terms and conditions apply.   AirAsia X Chief Executive Officer, Azran Osman-Rani said, “This 48-hour sale is our way of showing appreciation to the continuous support given by our guests towards AirAsia X. We are also committed in keeping on to our tagline that “Now Everyone Can Fly Xtra Long” making travel more affordable, easy, convenient and fun. With this exclusive 48 hours sale, guests can take a break from their busy schedule and enjoy mid-year holiday getaways with a group of friends or loved ones to exotic and exciting destinations across our long-haul network and that of the AirAsia group.”   http://www.airasia.com/jp/en/promotion/rx5350406.page

Marriott Opens New Hotel in Osaka

Mar 10 (Mon ), 2014

Marriott has expanded its portfolio of hotels in Japan with the opening of the Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel.   With a prime location in front of Osaka Abenobashi Station, the Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel is just 30 minutes from Kansai International Airport.   The hotel’s 360 rooms (each an average of 38 sq meters) are located on the 38th to 55th floors, and include six suites and 33 premium rooms.    The executive floor rooms are served by a dedicated executive lounge, one of the largest of its kind in Japan, with a 10 meter high ceiling and floor to ceiling windows. It provides an open, airy and relaxing space to unwind and enjoy the view while enjoying light refreshments and snacks.   The hotel’s meeting room facilities are high tech and Wi-Fi enabled throughout, ideal for handling all kinds of meetings. There is one larger meeting room (230 sq. meters) and six small meeting rooms (32 sq. meters), which are perfect for intimate parties and family events.   The lobby, lobby lounge and bar are located on the 19th floor. In addition, the bright open kitchen buffet restaurant, Cooka, offers a wide variety of Japanese and international dishes for all tastes in a casual dining environment. Taking over the entire 57th floor is ZK, a modern, sophisticated restaurant with floor to ceiling windows, serving both authentic Japanese and Western cuisine.   Masahiko Torii, General Manager of the Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel said, “Marriott Hotels and Japan’s Miyako Hotels & Resorts are delighted to have joined together to proudly offer the highest standards of global hospitality, but with a Japanese touch, in Osaka. Our new hotel is ready to welcome guests from Japan and all over the world, and we anticipate the Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel will become the most prominent new landmark and symbol of Osaka.”   Osaka is the gateway and largest city in the Kansai region, serving as a hub for business and leisure travel, and a key component of any itinerary to Japan given its proximity to Nagoya, Kobe and Kyoto.   Web: http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/osamc-osaka-marriott-miyako-hotel/

Japan Cherry Blossom Calendar 2014

Mar 05 (Wed ), 2014

March is here, which means cherry blossoms will be blooming in most areas of Japan this month. Check out the latest Cherry Blossom Calendar to plan your hanami (cherry blossom viewing) party beneath the pink blossoms, a special time to be in Japan.  http://www.jnto.go.jp/sakura/eng/index.php

Japan Week 2014 New York (Mar. 6-8)

Mar 05 (Wed ), 2014

Japan Week promotes Japanese culture, cuisine, and tourism, announces that its 2014 program will spotlight unique features of Japanese culture from the last 100 years to the present. Delectable regional foods, technology exhibits, traditional arts and performances will aim to inspire greater understanding of Japan and travel to the country. The multi-day festival will take place at Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall from March 6 - 8, 2014. This event is a cooperative effort between the Japan Tourism Agency, Japan National Tourism Organization, diverse businesses, local Japanese governments, and supported by the Consulate General of Japan in New York. More details at http://japanweek.us

Tokyo on Two Wheels at the Shangri-La Hotel in Tokyo

Jan 17 (Fri ), 2014

Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo has has launched a “Tokyo on Two Wheels” promotion designed to give guests a new Tokyo travel experience.   “Tokyo on Two Wheels” offer guests a tour with local bicycle specialists around the city’s hidden spots. Together with an English-speaking guide, guests can enjoy a six-hour sightseeing tour through narrow alleyways and across pristine parks, dropping by eateries offering hard-to-find local specialities and more.    The ride begins at 9 a.m. and lasts until 3 p.m., and includes a Japanese ‘bento’ lunch box that will enable cyclists to enjoy eating outdoors at carefully chosen scenic locations.    The Tokyo Great Cycling Tour also includes an exclusive t-shirt especially for guests of Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo, as a memento from the excursion. Late check-out until 6 p.m. and transport from the hotel to the meeting point in Shinkawa will also be available for cyclists.    8-speed cross bikes and various children’s bikes are available, with no training required. Three routes are available:   Route A: Tokyo Bay Ride – Available every Saturday and Tuesday Route B: Edo-Tokyo Culture Ride – Available every Sunday and Thursday Route C: Cool Tokyo Ride – Ask for availability   Package prices range from ¥68,000 and is subject to taxes and a service charge. The promotion is available until 30 June 2014, and must be booked at least three days in advance. Other terms and conditions apply.   To find out more about Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo, visit www.shangri-la.com/tokyo, e-mail reservations.slty@shangri-la.com or call (81 3) 6739 7878.

AirAsia X Launches Promotion for Travel Between April and September 2014

Jan 17 (Fri ), 2014

 AirAsia X has launched an early bird promotion for travellers who book their flights in advance for travel between April and September 2014.   AirAsia X is offering special fares to its long-haul destinations with fares from MYR 159 to Sri Lanka (Colombo), MYR229 to China (Chengdu, Hangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai), MYR249 to Japan (Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo), Australia (Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast), MYR269 to Korea (Busan, Seoul) and Taiwan (Taipei), MYR 289 to Nepal (Kathmandu) and MYR359 to Male (Maldives).   Travellers who prefer a little extra comfort, can also experience the premium flatbeds from MYR 699 from Kuala Lumpur to Taiwan (Taipei) Korea (Busan, Seoul), China (Chengdu, Hangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai), Sri Lanka (Colombo), Male (Maldives), Australia (Sydney, Adelaide Melbourne, Perth, Gold Coast), Nepal (Kathmandu) and Japan (Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo).   Premium Flatbed seats have standard business class specifications of 20” width, 60” pitch and stretch out to 77” in full recline position.   The Premium flatbeds feature universal power sockets, adjustable headrests and built-in personal utilities such as tray table, drink holder, reading light and privacy screen. Premium seat guests also enjoy premium complimentary products and services including Pick A Seat, Priority Check-in, Priority Boarding, Priority Baggage, 25kg Baggage Allowance, Complimentary Meal and Pillow & Duvet.   Fly-Thru promotional deals are available from MYR 369 from Penang to Nagoya.   AirAsia X’s CEO, Azran Osman-Rani said, “What better way to usher in the New Year by offering more affordable fares to our x-citing destinations? 2014 is the year of the Horse, and the Horse represents a year of practicality, love, endurance, devotion and stability. We are devoted in offering our guests affordable international fares and allow them to plan their holidays in advance with greater savings. The testimonial we received from our guests has allowed us to provide better deals to those who plan their travel in advance.”   The promotional fares are available for online bookings until 19 January 2014 for travel between 1 April 2014 and 30 September 2014. Terms and conditions apply.

Geoff Wilson First Australian to Complete Solo and Unsupported Crossing of Antarctica

Jan 17 (Fri ), 2014

 Adventurer Geoff Wilson has carved his own piece of history in Antarctica’s ice, becoming the first Australian to complete a solo and unsupported crossing of earth’s southernmost continent and setting a new world mark in the process.    The Gold Coast veterinarian has been kiting, trekking and skiing across Antarctica on a 53-day, 3,428.53km kilometer journey since November last year – with his pink ‘boobsled’ in tow - to raise breast awareness and funds for the McGrath Foundation.   “I wasn’t expecting to finish my journey so quickly, but after a couple of weeks of horrendous conditions the last few days were perfect and I was travelling up to 200 kilometers daily, the longest stretches I’d been able to accomplish on the crossing,” Geoff said from an ice shelf at Hercules Inlet, where he is awaiting an airlift to Union Glacier and then home via Chile.   Wilson, 43, has averaged one and a half marathons daily. He is the first Australian, and just the third person in history, to complete a solo and unsupported crossing of Antarctica.   Along the way he also set a new world mark for the fastest solo and unsupported crossing of Antarctica, smashing the record Norwegian Børge Ousland had held for 17 years, by 11 days.   “Australia has a proud and rich history of Polar exploration so it’s just a tremendous feeling to achieve this record for Australia and set a new mark for the others to chase,” Wilson said.   Leading Polar guide and adventurer Eric Philips OAM, who is widely regarded as a world expert on Polar exploration, described Wilson’s achievement as one of the ‘most extraordinary Antarctic accomplishments in recent history’.   “The Norwegians have traditionally been at the forefront of cutting edge polar adventuring but Geoff has taken it to them with an achievement that is truly world class,” Philips said. “I don’t think this mark will be broken for a while – men like Geoff don’t come around every year – he’s one of that rare breed that continues the great tradition of Australian Polar exploration.”   Hobart-based Philips, a guide with Prince Harry’s team on the Walking With The Wounded Antarctic expedition last month said Wilson’s feat was all the more extraordinary as it was totally unsupported.   “Geoff has had no physical assistance from a single person during the past 53 days, relying solely on his own resourcefulness and the wind to cross Antarctica from one side to the other,” Philips said. “And that would have been extremely difficult as there were a couple of temptations along the way, particularly when he reached the South Pole and was just meters away from a hot shower, a big steak, a glass of red, a warm bed and a flight home. He’d already accomplished so much by then that it would have been very easy to say ‘enough’s enough’, but he didn’t and I knew he wouldn’t the moment I met him – Geoff Wilson is an extraordinary man. A handful of other people have crossed Antarctica, but they have been supported with resupplies - Geoff is one of just three people in the history of Antarctic exploration who has taken on the crossing and won with zero physical support.”   Philips only met Wilson last year but became a vital link in the Pink Polar Expedition assisting with gear choices, tactics and permissions.   “The gear is critical and can mean the difference between success and failure on the ice,” Philips said. “The Antarctic is both beautiful and brutal and I can envision what Geoff was up against in the middle of the storm that delayed the Walking With The Wounded expedition in Cape Town. Thankfully his tent held out, but he also proved himself to be a very patient and resourceful man in the face of such danger.”   Wilson has also set a new national record for the longest solo and unsupported Polar journey by an Australian (previously 1,130 km) and become the first and only Australian to do the approach to the South Pole the long way from Novo Station on the South African side of the Antarctic Coast.   Since starting the Pink Polar Expedition on 13 November 2013, Wilson has lost about 18 kilograms, but none of his sense of humour as he joked about an unofficial record he can add to the list.   “I’m pretty sure I’ve just become the only man in history to drag a pair of pink boobs across Antarctica,” he laughed. “My body’s a little battered and so is the pink ‘boobsled’, but it also slid into the history books on Sunday, which is great because it is the symbol of what this journey has been all about.”   The Pink Polar Expedition was inspired by Wilson’s friend Kate Carlyle, who at 35, is a two-time breast cancer survivor.   “I couldn’t watch Kate go through her breast cancer experience without doing something and we have worked on the Pink Polar Expedition together from the outset,” Wilson said. “Katie represents every Australian woman experiencing breast cancer and those women inspired me to keep going. There were many days that I was tired and broken and feeling that I couldn’t go on but I’d remember those women and draw strength from their courage. I don’t think you could do something like this unless you were driven by a passion and I am passionate about raising breast awareness, particularly in young women, and funds for the McGrath Foundation. I saw the wonderful support Katie received from her breast care nurse and the difference that support made to her and her family. The great work the McGrath Foundation does was publicly celebrated at the ‘pink Test’ yesterday but it was also one my private inspirations on this journey, another motivation to keep me going on the tough days.”   The Pink Polar Expedition is self-funded with the support of generous corporate sponsorship so 100% of all donations go to the McGrath Foundation.   “My target when I set out was to raise $1 million and even though my journey on the ice has finished I’m not going to give up on that reaching that fundraising goal,” Wilson said. “We’ve had tremendous support from all the people who’ve been following the Pink Polar Expedition – I was very chuffed to hear that my favourite chef Jamie Oliver shared an image from the ice on Instagram the other day and, funnily enough, that was the day the wind came up! I love the McGrath Foundation’s tagline ‘together we can make a difference’ and I still believe that the Pink Polar Expedition can raise $1 million dollars which would fund three McGrath Breast Care Nurses to support Australian families experiencing breast cancer in communities around Australia.”   Personally Geoff has missed some important moments in his own family’s life while on the ice, including his son’s 13th birthday and Christmas.   “My family has been behind me every step of the way and every step I’ve taken is one step closer to home and to them,” Wilson said. “My wife Sarah has been amazing – from letting me build the pink ‘boobsled’ from a cast of her breasts to being my ‘mental coach’. And my three children have never stopped believing in me, despite their Dad being the crazy guy dragging a pink ‘boobsled’ across Antarctica! Home is my next journey and I can’t wait to get off this ice shelf and start it!” 

Red Planet Unveils Major Japan Expansion for Tune Hotels through 2020

Jan 17 (Fri ), 2014

 Red Planet Hotels has unveiled details of a multi-billion yen expansion into Japan, with plans to grow the Tune Hotels brand in the country.   Through Red Planet Hotels' newly established and JASDAQ-listed subsidiary, Red Planet Japan, the company will make an initial JPY10 billion (US$100 million) investment over the next six years, establishing a platform to grow the Tune Hotels network in north Asia.   From its Tokyo headquarters, Red Planet Japan will implement its pledge to open 20 hotels by 2020 for which a number of sites have already been confirmed in and around Tokyo and other major Japanese cities. Red Planet Japan's first hotel under the Tune Hotels flag opened in Naha, Okinawa last year.   Red Planet Hotels Chief Executive Officer and Red Planet Japan Director, Tim Hansing, said recent announcements by the Japanese government to promote inbound tourism and infrastructure investment in the country was a positive step forward for new hotel brands to enter the market.   "Now that we have established ourselves and the Tune Hotels brand in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, our strategy has always been to expand in north Asia and we will be commencing this move in Japan first of all,” Mr Hansing said. "We have been investigating a number of opportunities in Japan for some time and with the government actively courting inbound travel and tourism investment, now is the perfect time for Red Planet Japan to work closely with our partners at Tune Hotels to bring the brand that has been so well accepted in nine other countries to Japan.   "We are already open in Naha on Okinawa and very soon we will have a network in key locations across Japan. We have made a significant investment already to fund our expansion in Japan and are fully committed to bringing a well-established international hotel brand to the country's travel and tourism landscape.   "Our vision to have 20 hotels in Japan by 2020 is crystal clear as the year will be a significant milestone for the country when it hosts the thirty-second Summer Olympics.”   Mr Hansing added that Red Planet Hotels is actively exploring expansion into other north Asian countries, including South Korea and Taiwan.   As of 16 January 2014, Red Planet Hotels is the sole owner and operator of 18 Tune Hotels with 2,789 rooms across Japan, Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia. It has a further 12 hotels under construction in those countries.   Red Planet Hotels also has an ownership interest in a further 11 operational Tune Hotels through its investment in Tune Hotels Limited.   Established in 2007, there are 38 Tune Hotels operating 6,056 rooms globally in nine countries with Malaysia, England, Scotland, Australia and India being the other territories where the brand is operating.