Neelam MathewsAug 7, 2012
AirAsia Asean, the regional base of AirAsia, was officially launched in Jakarta today.
The launch coincides with the eve of the 45th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). AirAsia Asean was set up as part of the regional expansion strategy of the group, which now includes six airlines, five of which are anchored in Asean: the short-haul carriers AirAsia Malaysia, AirAsia Thailand, AirAsia Indonesia, AirAsia Philippines and AirAsia Japan, and the long-haul carrier AirAsia X.
Tony Fernandes, Group CEO of AirAsia, and Kamarudin Meranun, Deputy Group CEO of AirAsia, will be based at the AirAsia Asean office.
“The establishment of the AirAsia Asean office in Jakarta as our regional base is to help to more fully deliver on our pledge – Now everyone can fly – to all the people of Asean and beyond. We are blessed to be located in a part of the world where economic growth is expected to be sustained despite the chilly economic winds blowing through Europe and the United States. Shifting AirAsia’s emphasis to a regional strategy is, we believe, not just good business, but also a move that will keep us ahead of the inevitable competition that is heading our way,” Fernandes said.
AirAsia Asean, as the nerve center of the group’s regional expansion, will help ready the group for the implementation of the ASEAN Open Skies policy and the ASEAN Economic Community, initiatives that the ASEAN Secretariat is now actively pushing in its 10 member-countries.
Locating the office in Jakarta will help engage more closely with the ASEAN Secretariat, which is headquartered there.
By focusing on regional growth, AirAsia expands its market base to 600 million people and brings Asean closer – within four-hour flight radii – to mega populations in neighboring giants China and India as well as in Japan and Korea. The Asean region, Northeast Asia and South Asia have a combined population of 3 billion people, or 43% of the world’s population.
“No single domestic market in Asean, not even Indonesia, can match the potential of a regional ASEAN market of 600 million people,” he added.
AirAsia is supporting its regional growth with a fleet expansion program that includes firm orders for 375 Airbus A320, 25 Airbus A330 and 10 Airbus A350 aircraft. The group currently operates a fleet of 104 Airbus A320, nine Airbus A330 and two A340 Airbus aircraft. It operates more than 160 direct city-to-city links and flies to 85 destinations, of which 55 are in Asean.