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Malaysia-India air capacity surges as AirAsia, Malindo Air/Lion Group circumvent bilateral limits

The AirAsia and Lion groups are pursuing significant expansion in the Malaysia-India market by taking advantage of available fifth freedom rights for Indonesian airlines. Malaysian carriers are currently not able to expand to Indian metros due to bilateral constraints, but two competitors have cleverly seized the opportunity to add flights to three Indian metros using sister airlines in Indonesia.

The AirAsia Group has been able to resume services from Kuala Lumpur to Mumbai using A330s operated by Indonesia AirAsia X, and is planning to add capacity on the Kuala Lumpur-Kolkata route using A320s operated by Indonesia AirAsia. The Lion Air Group has been able to launch services in the Kuala Lumpur-Chennai market using 737-900ERs operated by Batik Air.

AirAsia Group’s Malaysia-India capacity is increasing by more than 20%, to nearly 20,000 weekly seats, as flights operated by Malaysia based AirAsia and AirAsia X are supplemented by the new flights operated by Indonesia AirAsia and Indonesia AirAsia X.

At the same time, Lion Group’s capacity in the Malaysia-India market is increasing by nearly 30%, to more than 11,000 weekly seats as flights operated by Malindo are supplemented by the new Batik flights. The Malaysia Airlines Group, which is the only other competitor in the Malaysia-India market and is also keen to expand, loses out as it does not have an Indonesian affiliate.

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