Lion Air plans to expand its network to the north following its order of 230 Boeing aircraft, announced on 17-Nov-2011 (Bloomberg/AP, 20-Nov-2011). President director Rusdi Kirana plans to add services to cities in China, South Korea and Taiwan. Lion Air will take delivery of the aircraft, which include 201 B737 MAXs and 29 B737-900s, from 2017 to 2025. The carrier will mostly use loans, including ones from Export-Import Bank, to fund the new aircraft (Asia News Net/Reuters, 20-Nov-2011). [more - original PR]
Lion Air to expand north with Boeing aircraft
You may also be interested in the following articles...
AirAsia exploring future opportunities in Northeast Asia: Chinese affiliate enticing, but difficult
AirAsia is doubling down its focus on North Asia with a regional office in Hong Kong overseen by former AirAsia executive Kathleen Tan, who is widely credited for AirAsia's strong Chinese relations and growth in China: AirAsia is the largest non-greater China airline company in the country. Across North Asia the opportunities are large, but the challenges equally big. A China-based AirAsia affiliate would appear to be a long term ambition.
More immediately, AirAsia is regaining a local Northeast Asia presence with the launch of AirAsia Japan Mk II in 2017. Although delayed from initial 2015 start-up projections, AirAsia Japan gives the group relevance in a large domestic market and significantly growing short haul international market.
Elsewhere in Northeast Asia the opportunities are mixed. Korea and Hong Kong are becoming saturated and remain protectionist. Macau and Taiwan are unlikely to be big enough to support a local AirAsia unit.
Hainan Airlines to Las Vegas: more international flights to follow as Southwest starts partnerships
Hainan Airlines' Beijing-Las Vegas 787 service commencing in Dec-2016 will end Korean Air's tenure as the only Asian airline in Las Vegas. Las Vegas is arguably the largest feasible unserved North American market for Hainan. Delivery of over 30 787-9s in coming years means that Hainan will need to establish new markets. The route tests the booking data that airlines and airports rely on: Las Vegas believes airlines have shied away from serving the city and that this is misguided – because Las Vegas' international visitors are not represented, since they often take multi-city itineraries and thus do not appear as a Las Vegas international passenger. Las Vegas wants to prise its international passengers away from transit hubs.
Hainan's presence will initially be about half of Korean Air's, which was upped days prior to Hainan's announcement. Yet this may be the best outcome for Korean. A Chinese service was inevitable, but Las Vegas had to wait for political sensitivities to cool since Las Vegas flights would not have been timely as China's anti-corruption and austerity campaigns unfolded. Hainan brings enough presence to deter more competition in the short term, yet its narrow focus on the outbound Beijing market leaves Korean Air with many opportunities around Asia. Further international growth for Las Vegas is likely after McCarran airport's largest operator, Southwest Airlines, is ready to partner with other airlines in 2018.