Tuesday, November 24, 2009

AirAsia Expands In India


AirAsia Expands In India With Three New Routes
Aviation Daily Nov 24 , 2009 , p. 07
Neelam Mathews

AirAsia last week began daily flights to Kolkata from Kuala Lumpur, using an Airbus A320

Following the launch of Trichy flights last year, AirAsia maintained its commitment to expand its Indian network by launching three new routes from Kuala Lumpur — to Kolkata, Kochi and Trivandrum.

The airline is looking at flying to Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore)and Hyderabad from KL next year, and its associate AirAsia X will fly to Mumbai and New Delhi.

AirAsia is confident that the route will provide a positive boost for tourism activities and stimulate the local economies of India and Malaysia.

“With Kolkata added to our extensive network, AirAsia is unlocking the potential of international air travel from Kuala Lumpur to eastern India and its surrounding areas. With the commencement of the direct service to Kuala Lumpur, the people in West Bengal and India may now use Kolkata as a gateway to our extensive route network to ASEAN and beyond,” Kathleen Tan, regional head of Commercial Airasia, said.

AirAsia says it has sold 28,000 seats to date for the new route, a significant achievement for this market. It might consider adding further capacity.

AirAsia is currently the largest low-cost carrier in Asia and serves the most extensive route network in Southeast Asia with more than 70 destinations across 20 countries and nine major hubs in Malaysia. It has grown from a modest two aircraft to its current fleet of 85 and more than 130 routes in just seven years.

In September, the airline reported a successful third quarter with each of its short-haul airlines reporting profits on top of strong passenger numbers and revenue growth.

The Thai JV airlines performance did not match the highly positive results elsewhere, particularly those of the main Malaysian operation, which delivered an EBITDAR margin of 31.7% and an after-tax profit margin of 17.6%, said a report by Sydney-based think tank, Center Asia Pacific Aviation.

In a climate where most other airlines in the region are reporting their worst figures in history, this result suggests that AirAsia’s model is in the right place at this time, CAPA said.

AirAsia’s relentless focus on costs continues to deliver savings. “While fuel remains volatile, we have continued to drive up productivity gains through investments in technology, contain airport and handling costs while the current low interest rate environment helps us to reduce the cost of aircraft financing,” CEO Tony Fernandes said.


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