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Malaysia’s AirAsia: resuming domestic expansion and eyeing MASwings routes

AirAsia is resuming domestic expansion in the Malaysian market with a focus on connecting more dots within its network of 15 domestic destinations. The LCC is launching or resuming three domestic routes from Johor Bahru in late Apr-2017 and has lodged applications for four more new domestic point-to-point routes.

By the end of 2017 AirAsia is also aiming to take over a few domestic routes within east Malaysia that are now exclusively operated by the Malaysia Airlines Group turboprop subsidiary MASwings. The routes are part of the Malaysian government’s subsidised rural air services (RAS) programme, but are potentially big enough to support larger aircraft on a commercial basis. The Malaysia Airlines Group is preparing to reduce its ATR 72 turboprop fleet further following anticipated changes to the RAS programme, which is coming up for renewal this year.  

AirAsia is the leading domestic airline in Malaysia and has 50% of its total seat capacity allocated to the domestic market. However, AirAsia’s domestic capacity has been flat the last three years as it has focused entirely on international expansion.

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