Home' Asian Aviation : AAV March 2010 Contents 26 Asia nAviation | MARCH 2010
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ith travel demand
picking up, increased
liberalization and a greater
emphasis than ever among
passeng ers on value for
money, Asian low-cost
carriers (LCCs) are expanding aggressively.
Kuala Lumpur-based AirAsia is leading the pack,
with plans to launch flights to three new destinations in
India on four routes, starting with a Penang-Chennai
ser vice on 28 April. This will be followed by services out
of Kuala Lumpur to Chennai on 17 May, Bangalore on
20 May and Hyderabad on 20 July, all using single-aisle
Airbus A320 aircraft.
Long-haul sister airline AirAsia X will introduce daily
flights to Mumbai on 6 May and New Delhi on 4 August
using Airbus A330-300 aircraft. AirAsia currently
operates to four Indian destinations, Tiruchirappalli,
Kolkata, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.
According to Chief Executive Officer Tony
Fernandes, the average passenger load for its Indian
routes is 80 percent. Fernandes said the airline is
planning to carry two million passengers to India by
the end of 2011 and plans to open up more routes.
AirAsia and AirAsia X are throwing down a new
challenge to competitors with their additional routes
to India . On the Chennai and Hyderabad services, the
Malaysian carrier will compete with Malaysia Airlines
(MAS), Jet Airways and Indian.
As competition stiffens, MAS is expe cted to cut fares
on its Mumbai and New Delhi routes and possibly
see a decline in its share of the leisure-travel market.
AirAsia X ’s entry into India could also see the airline
also eating into MAS’ revenue on services between
India and Australia.
AirAsia X is expected to add its fourth Australian
destination, Sydney, to its network in July. The other
three destinations are Perth, the Gold Coast and
Melbourne. In China, the carrier will add three weekly
flights on its Hangzhou route from 28 March, making
it a daily service. The carrier currently flies to eight
other destinations in China .
AirAsia X, which currently operates two Airbus
A340-300s and eight A330-300s will take delivery of
four A330-300s this year.
AirAsia will introduce flights from Kota Kinabalu
to Manila and Kaohsiung , Taiwan, in April. Launch
dates are yet to be confirmed. The carrier added
the Kota Kinabalu-Taipei route to its network on
1 February. These three routes are also operated by
Bangkok-based Thai AirAsia , which is 49 percent
owned by AirAsia, is also expanding in India. The
carrier will launch flights to Mumbai in April. New
Delhi, Kolkata and Hyderabad will be added to the
network later in the year.
Thai AirAsia is furthermore evaluating the possibility
of linking Phuket with several Indian destinations
either late this year or in 2011, as part of its plan to
strengthen the southern Thai tourist destination as its
second hub after Bangkok.
“ We plan to tap the Indian market aggressively, as
Thailand is popular with Indian tourists,” sa id Thai
AirAsia’s Chief Executive Officer Tassapon Bijleveld.
Tassapon is upbeat ab out the airline’s performance
in 2010. It is projecting a profit of 100 million baht
(US$3.5 million) as it raises capacity by 25 percent
over 2009. Thai AirAsia will phase out its aging fleet
of six Boeing 737-300s, which are to be replaced with
A320s. It currently operates 12 A320s.
Jakarta-based Lion Air, which along side its domestic
and regional network operates long-haul services to
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia , using two, widebody Boeing
747-400 aircraft, added three weekly flights on 7
February. The carrier now operates five-times a week on
the route, which is enjoying over whelming passenger
demand, according to an official of the airline.
Lion Air plans to start operating a daily service to
Jeddah from 2011. On its regional network, the carrier
has added an additional daily flight on the Jakarta-
Singapore route, bringing the frequency up to four
Jakarta-based Mandala Airlines, Indonesia’s third-
largest operator after flag carrier Garuda Indonesia and
Lion Air, is set to penetrate the international market
later this year, initially focusing on destinations in
Asian LCCs tap rising travel demand
As the industry begins to emerge from the global slump, Asia’s low-cost carriers have stepped up expansion plans
as returning – but still cautious – passengers seek the best travel deals on the market. William Dennis reports.
Indonesia’s Lion Air is planning more international services.
7/03/10 12:11 PM
7/03/10 12:11 PM
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