AirAsia X plans to increase capacity in the Malaysia-Australia market by 40% over the next five months from about 26,400 currently to 37,000 weekly seats in Dec-2013. AirAsia X typically adds capacity to Australia for the peak season but its Dec-2013 schedule also represents a 40% increase compared to Dec-2012 capacity levels. For the first time, AirAsia X will have more seats to Australia than rival Malaysia Airlines. Based on current Dec-2013 schedules, AirAsia X will account for 49% of total nonstop capacity in the Malaysia-Australia market compared to 44% for MAS and 7% for Emirates, which serves the Kuala Lumpur-Melbourne route with Qantas as a codeshare partner. [more - CAPA Analysis]
AirAsia X to have more seats to Australia than Malayisa Airlines based on Dec-2013 schedules
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AirAsia X had been planning to wait until it receives A330-900neos before relaunching London and commencing other European routes. However the airline prefers not to wait until 2H2018, when its A330-900neo deliveries are slated to begin, and using another aircraft type in the interim mitigates the impact of a potential delay with the A330neo variant required for Kuala Lumpur-London.
AirAsia X could also use a new aircraft type – most likely A350-900s – to support new routes to the US. It plans to launch services from Japan to Hawaii in Jun-2017 using A330ceos, but also has longer-term plans for longer routes from Japan to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco – and potentially ultra-long haul routes from Malaysia to the US.
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.