House can change rules regarding LoP: Speaker

19082014

House can change rules regarding LoP: Speaker

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan feels the House can change the rules regarding recognising the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the absence of any party getting the minimum ten per cent of the total strength for the purpose.

“The Speaker does not have any personal discretion. A Speaker is supposed to follow rules. I have to go by rules. There are ‘Directions of the Speaker’ which mandate ten per cent strength for a party in Lok Sabha to be recognised as Leader of the Opposition”.”If anybody wants a change in them, then a committee can be formed to look into them. But I need to follow the rules. I cannot do any thing on this,” Mahajan told the news agency.She said that her decision on granting the status of LoP to any party was on the basis of the directions, which guide the functioning of the Lok Sabha chief, and precedents followed by others.

“The directions of the Speaker are very clear to decide on the LoP. I also took legal opinion before deciding on the matter,” the Lok Sabha Speaker said.

Congress with 44 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha has emerged as the second largest party after BJP’s 282 but fell short by 11 to be granted the LoP for which it requires a strength of 55. However, Congress has been claiming that the pre-poll alliance of UPA had secured 56 seats and, therefore, it had the right to be the Leader of the Opposition.

“There was no LoP in 1980 and also in 1984,” she said.

Asked about the importance of the inclusion of LoP in the selection committees of statutory bodies like Lokpal, CVC and CIC, she said that was the look out of the government.

The appointments of Central Information Commissioner (CIC) and Central Vigilance Commissioner are done by the President on the basis of recommendation of a three-member committee consisting Prime Minister, Home Minister and the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha.

The chairperson and members of Lokpal are selected by a committee headed by Prime Minister and four members- Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of Opposition in the Lower House, the Chief Justice of India or a judge of the apex court nominated by him, and an eminent jurist who could be nominated by the President or any other member.





Major reshuffle of bureaucracy in Odisha

19082014

Major reshuffle of bureaucracy in Odisha

In a major reshuffle in the bureaucracy, Odisha government changed portfolio of 20 senior IAS officers, official sources said today.

C J Venugopal of 1988 batch has been appointed as the new Home Secretary as the post remained vacant after Vipin Kumar Saxena was appointed as Special Resident Commissioner of Odisha in New Delhi, they said.

Water Resources Secretary Suresh Mohapatra has been appointed as the new secretary of energy department besides being given additional charge as the special officer of the Jagannath temple, according to an official notification.

1987 batch officer Rajesh Verma, who is presently secretary of agriculture department, has been given additional charge as the secretary of cooperation department.

Health and Family Welfare Department Secretary Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra has been posted as the new secretary of rural development department. He is also given additional charge as the special relief commissioner and chairman of the state owned Odisha Mining Corporation, it said.

Women and Child Development Secretary Arati Ahuja has been posted as secretary of health department. OMC chairman Saswat Mishra is the new secretary of WCD department.

Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Secretary M S Padhy has been given additional charge as the secretary of Information and Public Relations Department.

1991 batch officer Sanjay Rastogi has been appointed as the new commissioner cum secretary of Commerce and Transport Department.

G Mathivathan is the new secretary of Housing and Urban Development department besides being posted as the secretary of Parliamentary Affairs department.

Surendra kumar is the new secretary cum commissioner of ST and SC Development department.

While 1995 batch IAS officer Bishnupada Sethi is the new CMD of the state owned Odisha Milk Federation along with his earlier post as the secretary of Fisheries and Animal Resource Development.

Chitra Arumugam has been appointed as the Secretary of Textile and Handlooms.

1997 batch officer Sanjeeb Mishra is appointed as the commissioner-cum-secretary of information technology and CEO of Odisha Computer Application Centre.

Cuttack Collector S N Girish has been appointed as Managing director of OMC while Nirmal Mishra is posted in his post.

Balasore Collector Aravind Agarwal is the new Collector of Puri while 2008 batch officer Guha Poonam Tapas Kumar is new Collector of Deogarh district.

B Parameswaran is appointed as the collector of Jharsuguda, it added.





AirAsia X Continues Strategic Expansion with 38.5% Revenue Growth

19082014

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AirAsia X Continues Strategic Expansion with 38.5% Revenue Growth to RM1.4 billion In the First 6 Months of 2014

 

SEPANG, 19 August 2014 – AirAsia X Berhad (“AAX” or “the Company”), the long-haul low-cost airline affiliate of the AirAsia Group today reported its financial results for the Second Quarter (“2Q14”) and the First Half-Year (“1H14”) ended 30 June 2014.

On the back of its strategy of capacity and network expansion to strengthen its market leadership, the Company recorded revenue of RM671.6 million for 2Q14, a year-on-year (“y-o-y”) growth of 36.7%, and cumulative revenue of RM1.42 billion in 1H14, a 38.5% y-o-y growth compared to the previous corresponding period.

This increase was underpinned by the significant growth in Available-Seat-Kilometre (“ASK”) capacity that was introduced in the second-half of 2013, recording a y-o-y growth of 47% to 6.26 billion in 2Q14 and a y-o-y growth of 53% to 12.48 billion in 1H14. Passenger traffic volume in Revenue-Passenger-Kilometre (“RPK”) grew by 44% in 2Q14 to 5.04 billion and by 53.3% to 10.38 billion in 1H14, resulting in a passenger load factor of 80.4% in 2Q14 and 83.1% in 1H14. Consistently delivering load factor performance above 80% demonstrates the ability to keep stimulating new travel and tourism demand to fill up the new capacity added. This solidifies AAX’s position as the market leader in passengers carried to its core markets in Australia and North Asia, as well as its position as the global market leader in the long-haul LCC space.

The capacity expansion into new cities in its core markets, such as Nagoya, Xian, and Chongqing, as well as additional frequencies to cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Taipei, Seoul, and Tokyo have increased its Fly-Thru connectivity and attracted new passenger traffic flow that now uses KLIA2 as a regional aviation hub. Notably, the Company has approximately tripled its market share of passengers travelling between North Asia and Australia on a one-stop service, generating a significant new customer base this year compared to the previous year.

The Company continues to operate a higher number of flights for charters and wet-leases, with total revenues from this segment growing from RM33.0 million in 1H13 to RM148.6 million in 1H14. These flights are not captured in the ASK and RPK tabulations as they are unscheduled flights. Ancillary revenue grew by 48.2% y-o-y to RM290.8 million in 1H14, compared to RM196.3 million in the previous period, resulting in an ancillary revenue per passenger of RM138.50 from the 2.1 million passengers carried. Cargo segment contributed RM59.3 million for 1H14, and increase of 43.8% y-o-y from the previous corresponding period. Two A330-300 aircraft were leased to Thai AirAsia X (“TAAX”), its affiliate, generating RM25.3 million in lease income revenue in 1H14. TAAX commenced daily flights to Seoul since 17 June 2014 and will operate flights to Tokyo-Narita and Osaka from its hub in Bangkok from September 2014.

The resultant unit-revenue yield, as measured by Revenue-per-Available-Seat-Kilometre (“RASK”) was 10.79 sen in 2Q14, a -7% y-o-y decline, and 11.44 sen in 1H14, a -10% y-o-y decline. The rate of decline in RASK has been steadily improving from -15.1% in 4Q13 and -12.4% in 1Q14. Based on forward sales to-date and barring any unforeseen macro-factors, the Company expects RASK to resume positive growth in the second-half of this year, as the capacity expansion last year matures and the rate of capacity growth progressively slows down. Although the RASK yields have declined this year from 2013, they remain higher than the RASK yields recorded in 2010, 2011, and 2012, signalling overall route network portfolio maturity. The Company continues to target a positive growth in RASK for the full year of 2014 from 2013.

Operating expenses increased 61.5% y-o-y from RM986.3 million to RM1,593.1 million in 1H14. Although unit-cost as measured in Cost-per-Available-Seat-Kilometre (“CASK”) increased 4.6% y-o-y to 12.69 sen, CASK-excluding fuel declined -2.6% y-o-y to 6.35 sen. CASK in US cents declined -1.4% to 3.89 cents, due to the effect of the US dollar-Malaysian Ringgit currency movement, as a majority of costs, especially fuel, aircraft and engineering expenses, are denominated in US dollars. CASK excluding fuel in US cents dropped -8.5% to 1.94 cents. Average fuel price increased from US$127/barrel in 2Q13 to US$130/barrel in 2Q14. Controllable items such as staff costs, sales and marketing expenses, fell -13% y-o-y from cost controls and productivity improvements achieved from having larger operating scale.

Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation, Amortisation and Rental (“EBITDAR”) dropped from RM183.5 million to RM53.5 million, while Earnings Before Interest and Tax (“EBIT”) dropped from RM46.0 million to –RM168.5 million. AAX recorded a Loss After Tax (“LAT”) of –RM140.1 million for 1H14 compared to a Profit After Tax of RM17.9 million in the first-half of 2013.

The Company continues to maintain positive operating cashflow in 2Q14 of +RM81.2 million, and +RM212.8 million for 1H14. Net Cash Flow was also positive at +RM12.8 million in 2Q14, as there were no capital expenditure incurred from financing aircraft on-balance sheet (the additional aircraft was on operating lease), no material new pre-delivery-payment financing for future aircraft, and no further capital investments in Associates. The Company expects to maintain positive operating cashflow and positive net cash flow for the full year, on the back on an expected stronger performance in the second-half of 2014.

Azran Osman-Rani, CEO of AirAsia X said, “Although our capacity expansion has put short-term pressure on earnings performance, the long-term strategic advantages are very compelling. We now have our strongest route network, with multiple cities in each of our markets, and strong frequencies that lead to convenient transfer connections. As we now have achieved overall market leadership, we have stablised our network, with quarter-on-quarter ASK growth slowing down to single-digit rates. Coupled with our position as the lowest unit-cost airline operator and leveraging on the strength of the AirAsia global brand and customer base, we have an unrivalled strong position for the future.”

“As we approach the end of the year after twelve months since we added a lot of new capacity in 4Q13, we expect RASK yields to return to positive growth and reach the levels recorded before the expansion. This in turn will return us back to profitability, particularly as global fuel prices are expected to soften, while Asian currencies are expected to stabilise. We are already seeing yields catch up in Taipei, the first route to have a doubling of capacity to twice-weekly services that commenced in July 2013.”

“Thai AirAsia X has been off on a great start, achieving a record 88% average passenger load factor in its first 3 months of operations on its inaugural Bangkok-Seoul route. The investments in international associates gives us more room for further growth and strengthens our market position in each of our destinations as customers have multiple direct flight options to choose from.”

“The 50 next-generation A330-900neo aircraft ordered will give us a huge lead over other players in this space, and ensure that we can fully realise our growth potential from the two new hubs that we have invested in, as well as other future hubs once the opportunity materialises”, concluded Azran.





Defence Min. launching the DGR Twitter handle

19082014

Defence Min., Shri launching the DGR Twitter handle at inauguration of the DGR Corporate Conclave – 2014

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