6-May-2010 10:48 AM

AirAsia X says it would not compete with Malaysia Airlines on routes

AirAsia X CEO, Azran Osman-Rani, welcomed Malaysia Airlines Managing Director and CEO, Azmil Zaharuddin’s call for a “clear” aviation policy in Malaysia, as it will provide strategic benefits to the country, including increased tourist arrivals (The Star Online, 06-May-2010). Mr Osman-Rani also responded to Mr Zaharuddin’s comments that AirAsia X was only going after MAS’s routes, stating the two serve very different markets and thus whether the LCC wants to launch overlapping routes should not be an issue. As a result, if the LCC was able to operate on routes it has requested, for example Sydney. He also noted that the country’s biggest growth opportunity is on key trunk routes, not the 34 peripheral destinations it has been approved to operate to and the majority of its passengers are not transit passengers, as Mr Zaharuddin stated. 

AirAsia X: “With limited valuable aircraft capacity, Malaysia needs to smartly deploy it to the markets with the biggest unserved demand. Why does Changi have the biggest gains in passenger volumes compared with KLIA? There are more than double the flights flying to and from cities like Tokyo, Shanghai, Sydney, Beijing and Seoul, which results in over 3.2 million more passengers. In contrast, there is only a net gap of 224,000 from the 34 peripheral cities MAS is suggesting. Would Malaysians want more flights to Sydney or Jeddah, or would they want Almaty, Tashkent, Ashgabat, Sana’a, Peshawar, Mahe, Port Moresby, Darwin, Pyongyang, Dili, Changsha? Where is Malaysia realistically going to get the most economic benefit? MAS itself has withdrawn from several of the cities that it is now suggesting AirAsia X should operate … To be utterly frank: Indonesia allows Lion Air to compete with Garuda to fly to Jeddah to give more options for people to perform the Haj and Umrah; Singapore allows multiple airlines to fly the same routes and achieves success; and Malaysia has no issue with foreign-owned airlines such as Jetstar and Emirates operating the same routes as MAS to Australia. So, why is MAS creating a furore over a Malaysian-owned airline, AirAsia X, flying to Sydney?” Azran Osman-Rani, CEO. Source: The Star Online, 06-May-2010.

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