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AirAsia Group Seeks Partners in Cambodia, China, Myanmar

After a brief halt, AirAsia Group has resumed its overtures to partners in Cambodia, China, and Myanmar as it seeks to found new franchise units in these countries. However, it has abandoned plans to launch a unit in Viet Nam, Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes told Nikkei in an interview.

Fernandes added that the airline was prioritising the lookout for a partner in Cambodia. Technically, Cambodia does not have foreign ownership limits on airlines and AirAsia Group could establish a unit in this country without a local partner.

Plans for a Chinese unit were more of a long-term idea, but Fernandes underlined that AirAsia needed to “stay relevant” in the country.

The low-cost group pulled the plug on new foreign ventures earlier this year, at that time saying that it would halt the establishment of new units for three years. In early 2018, it was reported to be in talks with now-defunct FMI Air (ND, Yangon) regarding the establishment of a Myanmarese unit. Plans to launch AirAsia Cambodia (Phnom Penh) were first reported by the local media in 2017 but never materialised. In turn, AirAsia China (Zhengzhou) was dropped in late 2018 after there was no progress in talks with the China Everbright Group and Henan Government Working Group, with whom AirAsia signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2017.

Fernandes underlined that the airline did not change its mind on AirAsia Vietnam (Da Nang), which was dropped in April 2019.

“I don’t have any plans in Vietnam for now after trying three times. We cannot find the right partner and now I think there are too many airlines there. Our time will come,” Fernandes said.

The stillborn Vietnamese unit was to be created together with Gumin Company Limited and Hai Au Aviation Joint Stock Company.

AirAsia Group currently has units in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, India, and Japan. In Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia it also operates long-haul “X” airlines, although the Indonesian one has transitioned to a charter carrier.

Fernandes also reiterated his commitment to launch an AirAsia-branded marketplace, which would also sell tickets of other carriers, as well as other travel products. The platform will be operated by Kiwi.com. Going forward, AirAsia plans to launch a separate online booking platform, Ikhlas, for Muslim-oriented travel. This would somehow mimic the move by rival Malaysia Airlines (MH, Kuala Lumpur Int’l), which set up a Hajj-focussed charter unit Amal by Malaysia Airlines.

Philippines AirAsia (Z2, Manila Ninoy Aquino Int’l) is contemplating a fleet roll-over from A320-200s to A321-200neo in the future as a means of coping with slot restrictions at the busiest gateways, Chief Executive Ricky P. Isla told the Manila Bulletin.

“AirAsia Philippines is still concretizing plans to purchase an A321neo. While we continue to achieve our operational goals with our existing twenty-four A320s, investing in newer additional aircraft will be advantageous for any airline in a slot-constrained environment,” he said.

AirAsia Group has recently taken delivery of its maiden A321neo, 9M-VAA (msn 9139). The unit was placed with AirAsia (AK, Kuala Lumpur Int’l) and started operating domestically in Malaysia on November 23, 2019, Flightradar24 ADS-B data shows. The group has firm orders for a further 352 A321neo, including 253 orders previously converted from A320-200neo.

“This aircraft will be rolled across all of our AOCs moving forward over the next few years. In the Philippines, we see a big potential because we see constraints in Manila Ninoy Aquino Int’l in…

AirAsia (AK, Kuala Lumpur Int’l) took delivery of its first A321-200neo in the form of 9M-VAA (msn 9139) on November 20, 2019, the low-cost carrier said in a press release.

The Airbus narrowbody was ferried from Hamburg Finkenwerder via Ashgabat to Kuala Lumpur Int’l over the course of November 20-21, Flightradar24 ADS-B data shows.

AirAsia said that the 236-seater A321neo will be initially used from its Kuala Lumpur hub to cities across Asia, with the first destinations including Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, Singapore Changi, Bangkok Don Mueang, and Shenzhen. The airline has yet to file schedules for the type.

The LCC said it will use the A321neo to gradually replace all existing A320-200s and A320-200neo. According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, the Malaysian airline currently operates sixty-four A320-200s and thirty-one A320neo. In terms of AirAsia Group narrowbody fleet, AirAsia India operates a further twenty-five A320-200s, AirAsia Japan – three A320s, Indonesia AirAsia – twenty-seven A320s, Philippines AirAsia -…

AirAsia X (D7, Kuala Lumpur Int’l) has inked a one-year Profit Share Agreement (PSA) with its parent AirAsia (AK, Kuala Lumpur Int’l) in relation to the transfer of two slots on the lucrative Kuala Lumpur Int’l to Singapore Changi route, following an investor announcement by the two airlines on November 11.

As part of the PSA, both airlines agree to share 50% of the net operating profit on the services for the duration of the deal. The net operating profit is derived by calculating the total ticket revenue plus total ancillary revenue plus any other income received in connection with the Kuala Lumpur to Singapore route minus total cost of sales, operating expenses, and any other expenses incurred in connection with the sector.

AirAsia X will also return to AirAsia all incentives or rebates from Changi Airport accrued prior to the effective date, as well as 50% of any incentives or rebates accrued during the term.

Based on the one-year projected forecast, the carriers believe that the transaction will generate an estimated…

AirAsia India (I5, Chennai) is planning to accelerate its growth and hopes to increase its fleet fourfold to 100 aircraft in the next five years, an unnamed company source told industry publication TravelBiz Monitor.

“We have firmed up plans to add 14-15 planes every year starting next year for the next five years. We have remained a small player in the Indian market till now with just 23 planes, which will increase to 29 planes by the end of December,” the executive said.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, the Indian LCC, a 51/49 joint venture between Tata Sons and AirAsia Group, currently operates twenty-three A320-200s and is in the process of adding the twenty-fourth unit.

The airline will be adding aircraft both transferred from other AirAsia Group units and directly from lessors. Out of its current 23-strong fleet, 11 aircraft were previously operated by AirAsia (AK, Kuala Lumpur Int’l), while the remaining 12 came from other carriers.

The carrier said earlier this year that its growth plans for…

Source: ch-aviation

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