Thai AirAsia confirmed the launch of base operations in Phuket from Nov-2009 (eTN, 02-Sep-09). The carrier plans to base one aircraft in Phuket, to increased to three/four in the future, and launch two international routes, including Hong Kong. Reports suggest the other route may be Denpasar. Other services being considered from Phuket include Ho Chi Minh City, Siem Reap, Vientiane, Jakarta, Medan and Surabaya.
Thai AirAsia to establish Phuket base from Nov-2009
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Cathay Pacific to Christchurch: contentious Air New Zealand JV as Cathay seeks greater "agility"
As Cathay Pacific is being forced to undergo a competitive metamorphosis it is exploring all options. The latest example is an expected announcement of a new Cathay Pacific route from Hong Kong to Christchurch in New Zealand's South Island. The service is expected to be seasonal (for the New Zealand summer), and is only Cathay's second seasonal long haul route after the Jan-2017 announcement of northern summer service to Barcelona.
New Zealand is a small network component for Cathay but one of its last strongholds, due to a joint venture with Air New Zealand. The New Zealand government reluctantly extended approval for the JV despite Cathay and Air NZ reneging on an offer to use it to link Hong Kong with Christchurch, as well as Auckland. This would thereby have extended the JV to benefit more of New Zealand – a sensitive local matter based on the assertion that Auckland was receiving disproportionate air service benefit.
Air NZ's JV with Cathay arch rival Singapore Airlines has resulted in SIA growing its presence in Christchurch. Cathay has been more frugal, and the NZ government determined that although the JV reduced competition, there was no prospective third competitor, so no harm done.
But now that Hong Kong Airlines has entered Auckland, and then expanded, the Cathay-Air NZ JV faces disbanding. By finally committing to a Christchurch route Cathay appears to be bidding to keep the JV in play. But the New Zealand government will still probably withdraw approval of the Air NZ-Cathay JV.
AirAsia Group 2017 outlook: faster expansion across portfolio as Japan & potentially Vietnam launch
The AirAsia Group is accelerating expansion at all five of its existing airlines in 2017 following a decision to acquire 22 more aircraft than originally planned. The group is confident it is now in a position to pursue faster – and strategically important – growth following significant improvements to its bottom line in 2016. However, such expansion could pressure yields and profitability, particularly as 2017 is shaping up to be a year of intensifying competition and increasing fuel prices.
AirAsia’s original operation in Malaysia is accelerating growth in 2017 with at least eight additional aircraft, in a strategic response to intensifying competition. Thai AirAsia is now planning to add six aircraft in 2017, despite challenging market conditions in Thailand. The group’s affiliates in Indonesia and the Philippines, which have shrunk their fleets the last two years as part of restructuring initiatives, are planning to resume growth with two and four additional aircraft respectively.
The group’s youngest affiliate, AirAsia India, is also accelerating expansion in response to policy changes in India, and now plans to add six aircraft in 2017, for a total of 14. The newest affiliate, AirAsia Japan, finally aims to launch services in 1Q2017 and end the year with five aircraft. AirAsia is also considering launching an affiliate in Vietnam by the end of 2017, although no new JVs have yet been allocated any aircraft from the group’s 400 strong order book.