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The airline war has reached a new low, with AirAsia offering return flights to London for $217 from the Gold Coast or $240 from Melbourne.

If the booking confusion doesn’t deter your search for the ultimate fare (all legs need to be booked separately and through Kuala Lumpur), you may be rewarded with an unprecedented discount flight.

AirAsia has been a dominant player in the ultra-cheap flight sector, recently making headlines for offering free flights to Bangkok from Asian ports, to help restore tourism after the recent political unrest. Earlier last month, it excited travel enthusiasts with $378 Australia-London flights.

The current discount-basket fare is part of a sale which started at 2am this morning and will run for 48 hours, for travel only between October 11 and November 14, 2010.

Although the base flights are some of the cheapest in Australian history, don’t expect to indulge in the normally free benefits of international travel – the low-cost airline will charge you for meals, beverages, in-flight entertainment and extra baggage.

AirAsia recently reported a net profit after tax of $A81.23 million for the first quarter of the year. The airline sources 16 per cent of its revenue from their extra charges, referred to as the “unbundling of services”.

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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MUM and dad investors will receive generous concessions to park their savings with banks and building societies as part of sweeping tax reforms.

The Rudd Government is preparing to unveil a new savings scheme offering tax breaks similar to superannuation’s discount rate of 15 per cent, The Daily Telegraph reports.

It will encourage investors to deposit savings with the four major banks and other respected financial institutions.

But investors will have to “lock up” their savings — perhaps for between five and 10 years — to qualify for the special rate.

The new savings deal will be announced as part of the Government’s much-anticipated response to the Henry tax review.

It will be part of a suite of measures aimed at building a new savings culture in Australia.

But it is also hoped it will generate billions of dollars in bank deposits, cutting the need for finance houses to borrow from overseas.

The Government expects it will be popular with voters who currently face punishing tax rates on savings. Some taxpayers can pay up to 50 per cent on interest earned from their bank deposits.

Australia is one of the few countries in the world to tax bank savings at the full rate.

Among key reforms, taxpayers will be able to lodge their annual tax returns with a few clicks of a mouse.

And Australia’s antiquated tax system — containing 125 different taxes — will be streamlined to simplify arrangements.

It is understood the Reserve Bank and other financial authorities have raised concerns about the steady decline in deposits.

Bank CEOs have been lobbying Canberra for changes to taxation on ordinary bank deposits, claiming the superannuation industry gets a huge advantage.

And they have a strong ally in Treasury boss Dr Ken Henry, who has also raised concerns over the punitive rates faced by those who save with banks.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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Skytrax World’s Best Low Cost airline, AirAsia welcomes 2010 with a BIG Regional Sale! The leading airline makes flying more affordable by offering airfares from as low as *RM19 for its domestic and international routes (excluding Thailand domestic routes and London).

The sale will run from 19 – 25 October 2009 for the travel period from 11 January 2010 – 30 April 2010. The incredible low fares offered by AirAsia are available to all of its Asia destinations including the Middle East departing from its hub from Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Bangkok, Bandung, Jakarta, Surabaya and Bali including Penang and Johor.

To make the deal sweeter, Go Holiday, AirAsia’s own online travel portal is also offering attractive holiday packages in conjunction with the 2010 Sale Campaign. Guests can book their packages via http://goholiday.airasia.com, from as low as RM112 per person for domestic packages (with flight, 3 days 2 nights hotel stay inclusive of breakfast) and from as low as RM199 per person for international packages (with flight, 3 days 2 nights hotel stay).

Exciting holiday packages on offer under the heritage sights include destinations to Seam Reap, Hanoi, Guilin, Yogyakarta, and Hangzhou. Those opting for a domestic vacation may book holiday packages to Langkawi, Penang, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and Johor Bahru. For our shopaholic enthusiast, guests may opt for a shopping spree holiday package deals in Bandung, Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taipei and those who are all for city sights, Dhaka, Tianjin, Perth, Melbourne and Abu Dhabi package deals are on offer.

For the Sun-Sand-Sea lovers, dream no more as holiday packages to Bali, Phuket, Krabi and Colombo are also available. Check out our online travel portal as there are more exciting holiday packages to many exciting destinations available.

Promotional seats are limited and available on first-come, first-served basis and made exclusively available online via www.airasia.com and mobile.airasia.com.

Source  :  www.etravelblackboardasia.com

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Some of WA’s finest restaurants are offering five-star meals at cafe prices in a bid to ensure cash-strapped customers still enjoy their pleasures despite the recession.

Top chefs and restaurant owners say they are keen to show punters top food is not only for special occasions.

Margaret River’s Vasse Felix and Must Wine Bar, Bistro Felix in Subiaco and Villa D’Este in West Perth are some of the hotspots offering set menus where customers can enjoy two or three-course meals, sometimes with wine, for $37-$55 a head.

Vasse Felix proprietor Paul Holmes a Court said the winery had made the decision to offer a standard set menu – two courses for $45 and three for $55 – for the first time this winter and it had worked so well it would be continued through spring.

“The idea stuck when I was in France with my family,” he said. “There were set menus everywhere we went and it worked well.” Mr Holmes a Court said he was keen to ensure as many people as possible could enjoy the world famous winery’s restaurant, without compromising high standards.

He said the decision to cap prices was also driven by a belief that top food should be affordable.

Vasse Felix executive chef Aaron Carr said the new spring menu boasted Asian and Indian influences, with highlights including roasted barramundi with sweet potato dhal and hot and sour soup with shredded chicken and coconut.

Bistro Felix owner Jeremy Cariss said although his set menu was dubbed the “recession concession”, it had been on offer for more than two years and was enormously popular.

Villa D’Este owner Enrico Morichetti said his business lunch menu allowed people to enjoy three courses for $36.80. He said it encouraged people to come out for lunch and enjoy the delights of the restaurant.

Source  :   www.thewest.com.au

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AIRASIA recently launched its Big Sale promotion by offering three million seats for both domestic and international destinations.

The booking period for both sectors during the Big Sale campaign is only until Sunday.

Bookings are for the travel period from Jan 11 to July 31 next year. The flights are available from its eight hubs – Kuala Lumpur, Johor Baru, Penang, Kota Kinabalu, Bangkok, Jakarta, Bali and Bandung.

Guests can fly from Kuala Lumpur to domestic destinations such as Penang, Johor Baru from as low as RM9. Popular international destinations such as Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Bangkok, Phuket are offered from as low as RM49.

Ho Chi Minh, Phnom Penh, Bali and Bandung are offered from RM69 and the highly in demand “Kangaroo Routes” in Australia such as Gold Coast, Melbourne and Perth are offered from RM149.

The airline is also extending the promotion to its recently launched routes such as Colombo, Taipei, and London from RM89, RM99 and RM479 respectively.

“This ‘Big Sale’ promises to be the sale of the year for AirAsia,” said AirAsia Group regional head of commercial Kathleen Tan.

“I dare say that it is even better than the free seats offered in the past as guests now save on administration fees and fuel surcharges as we have abolished both charges,” she said, adding that guests can now enjoy greater savings of up to 70% from the Big Sale.

“For example, with the past free seat offer, guests paid RM53.50 for Penang now they only pay RM9, Kuching was RM78.50, now RM29.  For international sectors, guests paid RM142.50 for Bali, now RM69. Singapore used to be RM122.50, now it’s RM29, Gold Coast was RM354, now RM149,” said Tan.

Promotional seats are limited and available exclusively online via www.airasia.com and mobile.airasia.com.

Source  :  www.thesundaily.com

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pet airwaysPEOPLE love their pets, sometimes more than they love other people.

So it is not a surprise that a start-up company, Pet Airways, has had a massive response since offering to transport dogs and cats in a much more caring way.

Precious pets won’t be left to fend for themselves in cages in a freezing cargo hold – an experience that so scared a Jack Russell terrier owned by husband-and-wife team Alysa Binder and Dan Wiesel that they decided to launch Pet Airways.

All of the passengers using the new airline’s cargo plane get to travel in the front of the plane in special carriers installed instead of seats.

They are escorted to the plane by pet-loving attendants who check on their precious cargo every 15 minutes.

The pets are given pre-boarding walks and bathroom breaks and also have access to a “Pet Lounge” where future fliers can wait and sniff the furniture before flights.

The demand for the service has been staggering, with flights rapidly booked out for the first two months.

Operating between regional airports in New York, Washington, Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles, Pet Airways charges about $315 per trip, which is comparable with charges on less pet-friendly airlines.

The company is already looking to add more flights and cities soon, and hopes to fly to 25 destinations within three years.

Betsy Saul, co-founder of Petfinder.com which ranks the pet-friendliness of various airlines, said she was excited about the expected impact Pet Airways would have on pet travel across major airlines.

”The entire industry will stretch because of Pet Airways,” Betsy told the Associated Press.

Source : www.news.com.au

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The residential construction industry has been assisted by growth in the first time home-buyer activity along with the low interest rate.mvc-construction-workers-blog

Home builders are offering some competitive priced housing, and in the last few months things have started to pick up as we see with the display homes traffic which has increased by around 1000 more visitors a week compared to the same period last year.

With the growing concerns of the recession, some homebuyers are investing in the single storey home which is allowing them to lower their debt, rather than building the two storey home.

The Commercial developments throughout Perth have slowed down, but the ones with less financial risk attached to them are still going ahead.

What is happening is there is a  big demand for the first home buyer homes, therfore a lot of  houses being sold are at this price range therefore bringing down the median house price. 

There are also alternative financing options in WA such as the WA Governments Keystart Home Loans which has helped a lot of new home owners get on the property ladder.

Activity in the residential construction is providing  jobs at time when needed.

The first homebuyer’s stimulus is moving through two stages this year  :

From now until October 1, 2009  $21,000 on a house and land package, or a new house built that  has not been lived in.

$14,000 for an established home.

From October 1 until December 31, 2009 the boost will be lowered to  :

$14,000 for a house and land package, or a new built house that has not been lived in.

$10,500 for an established home.

From January 1, 2010 is to be confirmed.

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