AirAsia Berhad (MYX: 5099) is a Malaysian low-cost airline headquartered in Kuala Lumpur. It has been named as the world's best low-cost airline,and a pioneer of low-cost travel in Asia. AirAsia group operates scheduled domestic and international flights to 78 destinations spanning 25 countries. Its main hub is the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Its affiliate airlines Thai AirAsia, Indonesia AirAsia, AirAsia Philippines and AirAsia Japan have hubs in Don Mueang International Airport, Soekarno–Hatta International Airport, Clark International Airport and Narita International Airport respectively. AirAsia's registered office is in Petaling Jaya, Selangor while its head office is at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
AirAsia operates with the world's lowest unit cost of USD 0.023/ASK and a passenger break-even load factor of 52%. It has hedged 100% of its fuel requirements for the next three years, achieves an aircraft turnaround time of 25 minutes, has a crew productivity level that is triple that of Malaysia Airlines, and achieves an average aircraft utilisation rate of 13 hours a day. All scheduled AirAsia departures from Kuala Lumpur use the Low cost carrier terminal. AirAsia had abolished its fuel surcharges on November 2008, but, due to rising oil prices, the fuel surcharge was re-introduced in May 2011.
During 2007, passengers from 'The Barrier-Free Environment and Accessible Transport Group' protested against the airline over its refusal to fly passengers who were completely immobile. They claimed that the disabled were discriminated against when booking tickets online; the CEO of the airline denied that it turned away wheelchair-using passengers. In 2012, AirAsia was the subject of a boycot campaign in Vietnam when it mistook Chinese qipao as Vietnamese traditional clothes in a photo on Facebook. AirAsia later apologized for its mistake.
AirAsia was established in 1993 and began operations on 18 November 1996. It was originally founded by a government-owned conglomerate, DRB-Hicom. On 2 December 2001 the heavily-indebted airline was bought by former Time Warner executive Tony Fernandes's company Tune Air Sdn Bhd for the token sum of one ringgit (about USD 0.26 at the time) with USD 11 million (MYR 40 million) worth of debts. Fernandes turned the company around, producing a profit in 2002 and launching new routes from its hub in Kuala Lumpur, undercutting former monopoly operator Malaysia Airlines with promotional fares as low as MYR 1 (USD 0.27). In 2003, AirAsia opened a second hub at Senai International Airport in Johor Bahru near Singapore and launched its first international flight to Bangkok. AirAsia has since started a Thai subsidiary, added Singapore itself to the destination list, and started flights to Indonesia. Flights to Macau began in June 2004, and flights to mainland China (Xiamen) and the Philippines (Manila) in April 2005. Flights to Vietnam and Cambodia followed later in 2005 and to Brunei and Myanmar in 2006, the latter by Thai AirAsia. In August 2006, AirAsia took over Malaysia Airlines's Rural Air Service routes in Sabah and Sarawak, operating under the FlyAsianXpress brand. The routes were subsequently returned to MASwings a year later, citing commercial reasons. AirAsia's CEO Tony Fernandes subsequently unveiled a five-year plan to further enhance its presence in Asia. Under the plan, AirAsia proposes to strengthen and enhance its route network by connecting all the existing cities in the region and expanding further into Vietnam, Indonesia, Southern China (Kunming, Xiamen, Shenzhen) and India. The airline will focus on developing its hubs in Bangkok and Jakarta through its sister companies, Thai AirAsia and Indonesia AirAsia. With increase frequency and the addition of new routes, AirAsia expects passenger volume to reach 18 million by the end of 2007.
On 27 September 2008, the company had on its list 106 new routes to be added to its then-current list of 60. The number of old routes discontinued has not been publicly disclosed. On 2 April 2012 Air Asia had their first flight from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur. In August 2011, AirAsia agreed to form an alliance with Malaysia Airlines by means of a share swap. The alliance was struck down by the Malaysian government, in effect voiding the agreement of both airlines. By early 2013, AirAsia had seen a steep increase in its profitability. The year-on-year comparison had shown a 168% increase in profits as compared to 2012. For the quarter ending 31 December 2012, the airline's net profit stood at 350.65 million ringgit (US$114.08 million). Despite a 1% rise in the average fuel price, the airline had recorded profits of 1.88 billion ringgit for the full financial year 2012. In February 2013, AirAsia submitted an application to the Indian Foreign Investment Promotion Board, through its investment arm, AirAsia Investment Limited, to seek approval for commencing its operations in India. AirAsia wanted to take up a stake of 49% in the airline, which was the maximum allowed by the Indian government at that time. AirAsia initially invested an amount of 50 million United States dollars in the airline. The airline wished to begin operations from Chennai and expand it's network in South India, to where AirAsia already operated flights from Malaysia and Thailand.
The origins of the airline can be tracked back to October 2012, when the airline's management said that they were keen to have more presence in India if the aviation environment and tax structure were conducive and friendly for low-cost airline operations. With the Indian government allowing a foreign direct investment of upto 49%, the airline CEO tweeted "Fantastic news that India has opened up investments to foreign airlines." He said that it was now easier for him to set up an airline in India. Tony Fernandes called the joint venture a marriage made in heaven. He said that that the Tatas know India very well and have a good reputation. A tie-up with the company would help AirAsia operate efficiently. Fernandes said that he would concentrate mainly on the one million south Indians who travel by rail. AirAsia announced its Indian low-cost subsidiary on 19 February 2013. The airline would be operated as a joint venture between Tata Sons and AirAsia, with AirAsia holding 49% of the airline. Lakshmi Mittal's son in law Amit Bhatia will take up 21% and Tata Sons will take up a stake of 30% in the airline. The joint venture would also mark Tata Sons' return to aviation industry after 60 years. AirAsia is also the first foreign airline to set up a subsidiary in India.
AirAsia and Japanese network airline All Nippon Airways announced their joint venture at a press conference in Tokyo on 21 July 2011. Following its formal establishment in August 2011, AirAsia Japan flew its first flight on August 2012. AirAsia Japan is the first low-cost airline to be based at Narita. Its formation was announced only months after ANA had announced the formation of Peach, a low-cost airline based at Kansai International Airport in Osaka, and alongside a concurrent effort by Japan Airlines to set up a low-cost affiliate. ANA elected to partner with an existing low-cost airline for efficiency and strategic advantage. It is the fifth subsidiary for AirAsia and the ninth for ANA. The airline is headquartered alongside ANA in Tokyo, with its main operating base at Narita International Airport, and initially serves domestic destinations with utilizing the brand and service model of AirAsia. Future planned international destinations will include the Philippines South Korea and Taiwan.
AirAsia Philippines is the Philippine affiliate of AirAsia. The airline is a joint venture between Filipino investors and AirAsia. The Filipino group include Antonio Cojuangco, Jr., former owner of Associated Broadcasting Company with flagship television station TV5, Micheal Romero, a real estate developer and port operator, and Marianne Hontiveros. The joint venture was approved on 7 December 2010 by the Board of Investments, an agency in the Philippines in charge of big ticket investments. AirAsia Philippines is on the list of air carriers banned in the European Union. On 15 August 2011, AirAsia Philippines took delivery of its first brand-new aircraft, an Airbus A320 which arrived at Clark International Airport in Clark, Angeles City, Pampanga. On 8 November 2011, AirAsia Philippines took delivery of its second A320. On 7 February 2012, the airline received its Air Operator Certificate from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines which gives the airline permission to fly on Philippine airspace.
AirAsia X is the international operation of the brand AirAsia, which is Asia's largest low-cost carrier. The franchise is able to keep costs down by using a common ticketing system, aircraft livery, employee uniforms, and management style. AirAsia X is also affiliated with Virgin Group and Air Canada. On 17 May 2007, Tony Fernandes announced plans to commence flights from Malaysia to Australia. Fernandes said he would be avoiding Sydney Airport due to its high fees. Instead the airline would concentrate on cheaper alternatives such as Melbourne's Avalon Airport, Williamtown Airport in Newcastle, and Adelaide Airport. Sustained fares were predicted to be around MYR 800 (A$285) for a return fare, plus taxes. Interest was also expressed in using Gold Coast Airport as another Australian destination. On 14 May 2007, AirAsia confirmed that it had ordered 15 Airbus A330-300 aircraft, 5 more than originally announced. The aircraft are scheduled for delivery from the fourth quarter of 2008. On 27 March 2008, AirAsia signed a firm contract for another 10 Airbus A330-300s bringing the airline's total order to 25. AirAsia X received its first A330 on 31 October 2008 in Toulouse, France. As of 14 February 2008, 48% of AirAsia X is owned by Aero Ventures; a venture of Tony Fernandes and other prominent Malaysians, as well as Air Canada's Robert Milton. Virgin Group own 16% and a further 16% is owned by AirAsia. Bahrain-based Manara Consortium, and Japan-based Orix Corp have taken a 20% stake in AirAsia X for RM250 million.
Indonesia AirAsia operates scheduled domestic, international services and is an Indonesian associate carrier of Malaysian low-fare airline AirAsia. Its main base is Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Jakarta. Until July 2010, Indonesia Air Asia, along with many Indonesian airlines, was banned from flying to the EU due to safety concerns. However the ban was lifted on July 2010. The airline was established as Awair in 1999 by Abdurrahman Wahid, former chairman of the Nahdlatul Ulama Muslim organisation. He had a 40% stake in the airline which he relinquished after being elected president of Indonesia in October 1999. On 1 December 2005, Awair changed its name to Indonesia AirAsia in line with the other AirAsia branded airlines in the region. AirAsia Berhad has a 49% share in the airline with Fersindo Nusaperkasa owning 51%. Indonesia's laws disallow majority foreign ownership on domestic civil aviation operations.
Thai AirAsia is a joint venture between AirAsia and Thailand's Asia Aviation. Thai AirAsia launched domestic operations on February 2004. It serves AirAsia's regularly scheduled domestic and international flights from Bangkok and other cities in Thailand. Thai AirAsia was the only low-cost airline operating both domestic and international flights from the Suvarnabhumi Airport. The airline shifted all operations from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Don Mueang International Airport effective 1 October 2012. Today, Thai AirAsia is 55% owned by Asia Aviation, 45% owned by AirAsia International. The airline sponsors the Thai football teams Buriram United, SCG Muangthong United, Chonburi, Osotspa Saraburi, BEC Tero Sasana, Chiangrai UTD, Esan United, Chainat, Samut Prakan CUTD, Bangkok United, FC Phuket, Krabi, Air Force United, Nakhon Phanom, Loei City, Trang and The referee of FAT.
AirAsia currently operates more than 142 routes to 78 destinations, with over 400 daily flights covering Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand and with domestic and international routes, primarily from Kuala Lumpur, to Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, People's Republic of China, India, Japan, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Vietnam.
The total AirAsia fleet (excluding AirAsia X) consists of the following aircraft (as of February 2013):
|Airbus A320-200||123||88||180||Aircraft are distributed as follows:
As 2013 and toward Airasia will receive A320-200 equipped with sharklet
|Airbus A320neo||0||264||180||Entering into Service in 2016|
AirAsia began a gradual conversion of its fleet from the Boeing 737–300 to the Airbus A320-200. The first order, for 40 Airbus A320 aircraft and 40 more on option, was made in a Memorandum of Understanding on 17 December 2004. When the contract was signed on 25 March 2005, the order was increased to 60 firm orders with 40 on option. The first six Airbus A320s were delivered on 9 December 2005, the remaining 54 aircraft from the 2005 order to be delivered by June 2009. On 19 July 2006, the airline exercised its options on 40 Airbus A320-200s to increase its total firm orders to 100 aircraft, with another 30 on option. It made a third firm order of 50 A320-200s and increased the options to 50 on 8 January 2007, for delivery by December 2013. The Airbus A320-200 was expected to completely replace the Boeing 737–300 fleet at the Kuala Lumpur base by July 2007. The airline made its latest order of 25 firm orders on 25 November 2007, bringing its total orders for Airbus aircraft to 175 with 50 on option.
In August 2009, AirAsia signed an amendment agreement with Airbus to defer the delivery dates for 8 of its A320s aircraft by four years to 2014 due to "infrastructural constraints" at the existing low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) in Sepang as it cannot accommodate its fleet expansion. The rationale to scale down the delivery of aircraft in 2010 and possibly 2011 is to enable AirAsia to optimise its fleet and avoid the costs associated with leaving aircraft idle or under-used due to infrastructural limitations, avoiding having to incur depreciation, interest payments and other costs without earning revenue. The infrastructural constraints will continue at the current airport until the new low-cost carrier terminal is built. Earlier, in February 2009, the Malaysian government vetoed an ambitious plan by AirAsia to build a USD 460 million airport nearby as KLIA East @ Labu.
In June 2011 AirAsia ordered 200 Airbus A320neos at the Paris Air Show. The planes are due to become available in 2015, and the deal is one of the largest ever for commercial aircraft in a single order. The deal was worth USD 18 billion at list prices, although it is likely that AirAsia obtained a substantial discount from those prices. Singapore-based analyst Shukor Yusof said the deal had the potential to rival American Southwest Airlines and make Air Asia the world's biggest low-cost airline. The deal makes AirAsia Airbus' single biggest customer. On 13 December 2012, AirAsia placed an order for additional 100 Airbus A320 jets, splitting it between 64 A320neo and 36 A320ceo. With this, the total number of orders that AirAsia had placed for the Airbus A320 had gone up to 475.
AirAsia offers "Snack Attack," a buy on board programme offering food and drinks for purchase. Air Asia is accredited by the KL Syariah Index, and in accordance with Shariah law it does not serve alcohol or pork. However, this applies only to the regional AirAsia group flights, and not to the AirAsia X flights, which do sell wine and beer on board.
AirAsia is taking the first steps towards starting its own frequent-flyer programme. The airline has signed an agreement to start a joint venture with financial services firm Tune Money to launch a programme called "BIG". Under this programme it will issue loyalty points to AirAsia customers and third-party merchants. Points can then be used to redeem AirAsia flights.
- AirAsia Group destinations
- List of companies of Malaysia
- List of airlines of Malaysia
- List of airports in Malaysia
- Transport in Malaysia
- Tune Ventures
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