CAPA LCC Airports Congress - Asia
3rd week of Sep 2015
Thai AirAsia CEO Tassapon Bijleveld discusses the rationale for opening the new base at Pattaya and two more new bases which are planned for 2016. Thai AirAsia is pursuing rapid growth to China and India as conditions in Thailand’s domestic market have become challenging. Long-haul sister carrier Thai AirAsia X also plans to open a new route in China and is looking at potential new routes to Australia and Europe. About 30% of Thai AirAsia X passengers on its existing routes to Korea and Japan now connect to Thai AirAsia flights within Southeast Asia.
Since founding AirAsia, Tony Fernandes has kept a keen ear out for airports that are proactive and understand the needs of his growing airline business. What are the hallmarks of a ‘proactive airport’ and what does the AirAsia Group look for from airports in shaping its network? AirAsia, Group CEO, Tony Fernandes
AirAsia Berhad CEO Aireen Omar discusses the upcoming opening of the Malaysian carrier’s fifth hub at Langkawi, which will initially be linked with Guangzhou, Hong Kong and international destinations within Southeast Asia. Malaysia AirAsia is also planning to launch over the next few months multiple destinations in China and India as well as several new point to point international routes connecting secondary Malaysian cities with regional destinations. The LCC plans to add at least three more A320s in 2016 and continue growing at a clip of 7% to 10% per annum.
AirAsia X Acting CEO Benyamin Ismail discusses initial sales on the new Kuala Lumpur-Sapporo route and provides an update on securing approvals for Kuala Lumpur-Osaka-Honolulu, which the long-haul low-cost carrier now aims to launch in Dec-2015. AirAsia X has slowed down expansion, including at its new affiliates in Indonesia and Thailand, and will now only expand the group fleet by one aircraft in 4Q2015 and one aircraft in 2016. But AirAsia X sees improving market conditions and will be able to add capacity for the peak season in key markets as three aircraft which have been wet leased out are returned to the Malaysian scheduled operation.
- Will ASEAN open skies unleash the expected next phase of growth, or will the agenda be delayed?
- Asian LCCs have swollen aircraft order books - is the faith in open skies misguided?
- What is the status of ASEAN economic integration?
- Do recent incidents necessitate a requirement for technical integration?
- Will protectionism rear its head in Asia, reversing the gains of the past decade?
- Where to now for the Single Market?
• What kind of airport/terminal developments does Asia need, when and who will finance it? • What do LCCs need and how does it differ from the type of hard and soft airport infrastructure that governments like to build in Asia? • What is a 'fair price' for an LCCT now? • Is Asia too difficult an investment market for western investors? • The slowdown in LCC growth, among other factors, has reduced the attractiveness of Europe’s LCAs to private investors compared to 15 years ago. Does this apply to Asia? Moderator: Citigroup, Managing Director, Asia Head | Aviation, Power & Utilities, Investment Banking Division, Anup Mysoor Panellists: • AviAlliance GmbH, Director, Philip Petit • Cambodia Airports, CEO, Emmanuel Menanteau • Jetstar Asia, CEO, Barathan Pasupathi • PwC Strategy&, Partner, Andreas Hilz
Jetstar Asia CEO Barathan Pasupathi discusses the improvement in market conditions in Singapore, which has led to a return to profitability for Jetstar Asia, but is concerned competitors are starting to again behave irrationally. Jetstar Asia plans to continue taking a hiatus from expanding its fleet. However the Singapore-based LCC sees opportunities to expand in new underserved secondary markets, starting with the upcoming new destinations of Da Nang in Vietnam and Pekanbaru and Palembang in Indonesia. Growing feed from codeshare and interline partners and proactive relationship with airports are key drivers to making such new routes viable.
Philippines AirAsia CEO Josephine Caneba discusses market conditions in the Philippines and opportunities for growth, particularly in the Chinese market. Philippines AirAsia and sister carrier AirAsia Zest recently transitioned to a single air operators’ certificate and will soon be consolidated under the Philippines AirAsia brand. The fleet has been reduced to 12 A320s but growth is expected to resume in 2016 with three deliveries. Philippines AirAsia has been highly unprofitable since it launched in 2012 but is about to complete a recapitalisation and is optimistic it will be in the black for the first time in 2016.
HK Express CEO Andrew Cowen discusses the challenges of securing slots at its home base of Hong Kong International Airport. Its all-A320 fleet will be supplemented by A321s, enabling capacity growth where slot growth is not necessarily permissible. The carrier's cutover to Navitaire is improving commercial opportunities, although the usually strong summer season in Hong Kong had a setback with Korea's MERS outbreak stunting travel demand.
Copenhagen Airport has a dedicated low-cost facility that permits 25-minute turnarounds and boarding through front and rear doors on aircraft. Copenhagen's low-cost facility is one of a handful around Europe, perhaps spurred by consolidation and greater LCC size requiring innovation from airlines. On the full-service, long-haul side, Copenhagen recently received flights from Beijing Capital Airlines. Their Beijing-Copenhagen and Hangzhou-Copenhagen flights are their first long-haul services. The next largest opportunity for Copenhagen in Asia is a service to Hong Kong, which is the biggest unserved market for the airport. Cathay Pacific has mooted a possible Hong Kong-Copenhagen route.
Some airports offer a mix of facilities and services that are ideal for LCCs, and they range in size. • What are the secrets for success in the LCC space and how can an airport create the best fit? • Redefining airport hubs: self-connectivity and the implications for airports, IT providers and government regulators • Do airports have sound strategies for dealing with self-connecting passengers? • Are LCCs now repositioning towards a model that favours primary airports? Moderator: Sandeep Bahl, Experienced Airline Executive Panellists: • HK Express, CEO, Andrew Cowen • Thai AirAsia, CEO, Tassapon Bijleveld • Tigerair Taiwan, CEO, Kwan Yue
The AirAsia group plans to re-enter Japan in 2016 with its second attempt at AirAsia Japan. Its base at Nagoya will permit curfew-free operations with its initial fleet of A320 aircraft. AirAsia Japan could work with other AirAsia units flying into Japan. AirAsia X discontinued Kuala Lumpur-Nagoya service but could re-launch it.
LCCs now account for more than one in four airline seats worldwide, whereas within Southeast Asia close to three in every five seats are now produced by LCCs. In virtually every region worldwide, LCCs are the growth engine within the airline business. But the airports they serve were often built in a very different era. As a result, there is commonly a mismatch between airport infrastructure, technology and services and the contemporary needs of LCCs. Airport managers and government regulators can also lack insight into the drivers of the LCC business model. Meanwhile, there are different types of LCCs, as many adopt the features of their full service counterparts and ‘hybridise’. This one-day Summit aimed to help bridge the gaps in awareness that exist between the stakeholders - to help create the conditions for a win-win in Asian aviation and beyond.