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- Lot 4, Level 2, Stesen Sentral Kuala Lumpur,
50470 Kuala Lumpur
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AirAsia is a low cost carrier based at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia. The carrier, which was formed out of Tune Air in 2002, is led by CEO Tony Fernandes and pioneered the cross-border joint venture in Asia, establishing Thai and Indonesian units with bases in Bangkok and Jakarta. The airline has also partnered with other airlines and investors to create ventures in the Philippines, India and Japan. AirAsia's extensive domestic and regional network includes services within Malaysia and to China, Southeast Asia and the Subcontinent.
Location of AirAsia main hub (Kuala Lumpur International Airport)
AirAsia share price
LCCs will continue to evolve into hybrids of the original core model. CAPA and OAG consider AirAsia fits the LCC profile and it is included in our reporting on this basis. Please note: when reporting for an airline is changed from or to LCC the historical data is not affected and it can lead to a distortion in the current reported data. Contact us if you have any queries.
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AirAsia 2016 outlook Part 4: Malaysia expansion focuses on international routes from secondary bases
Malaysia AirAsia (MAA) is focusing on expanding secondary bases in 2016 as its fleet grows by three aircraft. The Kuala Lumpur-based short haul LCC is adding four international routes from secondary cities in 1Q2016, giving it a total of 20 international routes from six secondary cities.
MAA is the largest airline in Malaysia and has been able to increase its market share over the last year while traffic in the overall Malaysian market has been flat. Growth should resume in 2016 in both the domestic and international markets, driven partially by MAA expansion, but competition is also intensifying as other Malaysian airlines expand.
China, particularly, is a fast-expanding market from Malaysia. Two of the four routes that MAA is launching are 1Q2016 are to China, while the other two are to Myanmar and Vietnam.
The AirAsia branded airlines, through their various entities, are pursuing rapid expansion in China as AirAsia seeks to leverage its position as the leading LCC brand in the booming Chinese international market. AirAsia has grown capacity to China by about 15% over the last year and is planning even faster growth in 2016, starting with three new Chinese routes over the next two weeks.
In Feb-2016 AirAsia will have 37 routes to China from nine bases across Southeast Asia. It has an approximate 61% share of Malaysia-China seat capacity and a 13% share of Malaysia-Thailand seat capacity, but strategically needs to accelerate expansion in both markets, as competitors have been growing at a faster rate.
This is Part 3 in a series of reports on AirAsia’s plans and outlook for 2016. The first report analysed AirAsia’s strategy and expansion plans for Australia, while the second was an analysis of the overall outlook for long haul LCC group AirAsia X.
AirAsia X 2016 outlook: turnaround predicted as Australia improves, China grows, 5th freedoms launch
Long haul low cost airline group AirAsia X is confident that it will be able to complete a turnaround in 2016, boosted by a more balanced network, improved conditions in its main markets, and lower fuel prices. AirAsia X was highly unprofitable in 2014 and most of 2015, prompting restructuring, along with a spate of aircraft deferrals and cancellations.
In its original home market of Malaysia, AirAsia X restructured its network and cut capacity in 2015. The parent airline is resuming growth in 2016, but a large portion of the additional capacity will be allocated to new fifth freedom routes, which wisely reduces its reliance on the challenging Malaysian market.
The affiliates in Indonesia and Thailand will undergo relatively modest growth as the group’s overall fleet expands by only three aircraft. A new, more disciplined approach to capacity expansion at AirAsia X has emerged, with a focus on new routes connecting existing AirAsia destinations and pursuing fifth freedom opportunities in markets underpenetrated by LCCs.
The AirAsia branded airlines, through their various entities, are resuming expansion in Australia and re-entering New Zealand with a new fifth freedom route connecting the Gold Coast with Auckland. Gold Coast-Auckland is a much bigger market, and less risky option, than the Kuala Lumpur-Christchurch route that AirAsia dropped in 2012, ending a highly unprofitable one year foray in the New Zealand market.
AirAsia cut back significantly in Australia in early 2015, erasing an earlier nearly 100% increase in seat capacity in the Malaysia-Australia market, which led to yield declines and heavy losses. Following the Gold Coast-Auckland launch, AirAsia will again be close to 2014 capacity levels in Australia, but with a much more rational approach, relying less on Malaysia.
AirAsia’s new, more balanced Australia operation with four routes from Australia to Malaysia, four to Indonesia, and one to New Zealand, gives the LCC group a stronger and more viable position in a strategically important market. Australia could potentially be subject to further expansion from AirAsia, but this is not likely to be in the Malaysia-Australia market.
Southeast Asia’s low cost carrier fleet has passed the 600 aircraft mark as the region’s 23 LCCs added about 70 aircraft in 2015, resulting in 13% growth. The region’s LCC fleet has expanded by 50% in only three years, from 400 to just over 600 aircraft.
Nevertheless, LCC capacity growth within Southeast Asia slowed significantly in 2015 for the second consecutive year, as several carriers made adjustments in response to challenging market conditions. For the first time since the birth of LCCs in Southeast Asia 15 years ago there was a drop in the LCC penetration rate within Southeast Asia.
There was faster LCC capacity growth in medium/long haul markets connecting Southeast Asia with other regions, driven by a 37% expansion of the Southeast Asian LCC widebody fleet. There are now seven LCCs in Southeast Asia operating widebody aircraft, compared with only seven in the rest of the world.
Indonesia's Lion Group continued to expand its fleet rapidly in 2015 as several of its competitors in Southeast Asia slowed growth or restructured. Lion added a remarkable 57 aircraft in 2015 – its highest figure ever – and ended the year with 236 aircraft.
In doing so Lion overtook AirAsia as the largest airline group in Southeast Asia, growing its fleet by 32% in 2015 while the AirAsia fleet shrank slightly. The Lion Group is expected to add a similar number of aircraft in 2016, further widening the gap with AirAsia.
All five Lion Group carriers grew their fleets in 2015 by at least seven aircraft. Lion currently has 191 aircraft in its home market of Indonesia, 27 in Malaysia and 18 in Thailand.