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Boasting one of the finest transportation networks in Asia, Malaysia has five world-class international airports. The Malaysian government is heavily involved in the domestic aviation sector and is the owner-operator of the nation’s flagship carrier, Malaysia Airlines (IATA: MH), which operates domestic and international services. Two subsidiaries of MH, Firefly and MASwings, operate domestic and regional flights. The Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia is the government agency responsible for providing Air Traffic Services, enforcing airport standards, planning and supervising the development of Air Traffic Control Systems and airport facilities. Malaysia Airports Holdings is the publicly listed company responsible for the development, management, operation and maintenance of most of Malaysia’s airports, including all international gateways.
In an effort to diversify the economy and make Malaysia’s economy less dependent on exports the government has pushed to increase tourism in Malaysia with the aim of making the tourism industry a prime contributor to the socio-economic development of the nation.
Airports in Malaysia
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There are 103 A380s in service as of early May-2013. Emirates has 33 and Singapore Airlines has 19, so when assessing network scheduling, these two and their hubs predominate: of the 1,048 weekly A380 flights, 402 are from Emirates alone. Dubai and Singapore airport see the most A380 flights.
But there are some less predictable statistics. The airport to see the most A380 operators is Hong Kong followed by Paris and Los Angeles. The largest A380 destination that is not (yet) an A380-hub is London Heathrow. The UK and USA are the most common A380 destinations after Australia, Singapore and the UAE. Asia, not the Middle East, sees the most A380 flights; South America sees none. Guangzhou-Shanghai Pudong is the shortest A380 route at 1,202km while Los Angeles-Melbourne is the longest at 12,751km. Qantas and Lufthansa have the highest average sector length while Thai Airways is placing the most number of cycles – about two – on its aircraft per day. Qantas and Air France are placing the least (just over one).
This is the third report in a three-part series on Jetstar’s Singapore-based operations, which includes Jetstar Asia, Jetstar Airways and Valuair. The first two reports analysed Jetstar’s position in two key markets, Singapore-Indonesia and Singapore-China. This report looks at other markets and Jetstar’s overall outlook in Singapore.
Over the last year Jetstar has slowed down fleet and ASK expansion from Singapore after a period of rapid capacity growth for all of the country’s major LCCs, intensifying competition and impacting profitability. Seat capacity, however, has continued to grow rapidly as Jetstar Asia has increased its focus on short-haul Southeast Asian markets, particularly Malaysia, while decreasing its focus on medium-haul flights to North Asia, particularly mainland China.
In the coming months Jetstar Asia/Valuair will take two more A320s for a total of 20 aircraft, with the additional capacity once again being allocated to short-haul markets, primarily neighbouring Malaysia and Indonesia.
This is the second of a series of articles on Australia’s need to urgently negotiate expanded bilateral agreements. The first part looked at bilateral constraints in some key North Asian markets, in particular mainland China and Hong Kong, as well as with the United Arab Emirates. This part looks at constraints in Australia currently facing carriers from Southeast Asia, particularly Malaysia and the Philippines.
Australia is an important and generally profitable market for airlines from Malaysia and the Philippines, as well as other Southeast Asian countries that have fewer or no limitations on expansion. Australia needs to negotiate new air service agreements with Malaysia and the Philippines or risk having their airlines focus expansion on other destinations.
Passenger growth at Singapore is slowing significantly, making it very unlikely Changi will expand in 2013 its current streak of three consecutive years of double-digit expansion. Growth in the low to mid single digits will provide some breathing space for authorities to tackle increasing congestion problems. But Singapore authorities should still accelerate airport expansion, particularly the opening of a third runway, because the current congestion has already become an impediment to growth.
In the latest blow to Changi, AirAsia has decided to close its Singapore base. Shifting back to Malaysia the group’s small contingent of Singapore-based crews will have a very slight impact on total passenger figures at Changi. But it signals the challenges Changi faces as its LCC growth figures start to slow down while other airports in the region continue to record rapid increases.
The AirAsia decision follows Qantas moving its transit hub for European services from Singapore to Dubai, leading to a reduction in total Changi capacity of more than 2%.
Nepalese start-up BB Airways aims to pursue significant expansion of its international network following a restructuring which will see the carrier replace a wet-leased Boeing 757 with two dry-leased Airbus A320s. The carrier, which launched services in Sep-2012, has had a relatively slow initial seven months but has an ambitious plan to exploit the expected rapid growth of the Nepalese international market with a focus on migrant worker traffic.
Nepal is a small but underserved market with huge potential. Foreign carriers dominate the market, exploiting the weakness of flag carrier Nepal Airlines, which recently committed to renewing its small fleet in 2015 but is unlikely to grow significantly. If it succeeds at rapidly expanding and overcoming initial challenges, BB could soon become Nepal’s largest carrier.
Scoot selects Nanjing, capping a busy first year of operations for the Singapore Airlines subsidiary
Singapore Airlines' (SIA) low-cost long-haul subsidiary Scoot has completed the last phase of its initial network development, announcing on 8-Apr-2013 the selection of Nanjing as its 11th destination and fourth in mainland China. Scoot will be the only foreign LCC at Nanjing, which like most secondary cities in China is underserved from an international perspective.
Singapore-Nanjing will be launched on 3-Jun-2013 and give Scoot a total of eight routes by its first year anniversary on 4-Jun-2013. After celebrating its first year anniversary the start-up is expected to take a hiatus from fleet and network and expansion for at least 18 months. The hiatus will allow the carrier to focus on improving profitability as its initial network and business model beds down.
The hiatus also gives Scoot ample time to prepare for the delivery of the first of at least 20 787s in late 2014. The 787 will usher in a new era of growth and improved profitability for the carrier. But while Scoot waits for its mix of 787-9s and 787-8s, competitors could pursue faster expansion, leaving Scoot with a smaller slice of Asia’s emerging low-cost medium/long-haul market.