Malaysia's big company, Capital A, announced a big change for its airline business on Monday. They plan to combine their low-cost airline, AirAsia, with another airline, AirAsia X. This move aims to simplify things and improve their operations.
AirAsia to Merge with AirAsia X, Plans for Expansion
The change will bring together AirAsia operations in Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, with AirAsia X. Tony Fernandes, the CEO of Capital A, shared this news with reporters. According to The Manila Times, he explained that the new, larger airline would manage all kinds of flights - short, medium, and long trips. This step allows Capital A to focus more on its other businesses that are not about flying.
Fernandes said this merger would help double their passengers. They expect to go from around 80 to 90 million passengers annually to 200 million. Currently, AirAsia has 166 smaller planes (A320 and A321), and AirAsia X operates 17 bigger ones (A330s).
The big news also includes plans for the merged airline to start flying to new places. In 2025, they want to add flights to India, Africa, Kazakhstan, and North and South America. Fernandes, who has led the company for 22 years, also announced his retirement plans. He will step down from his role at Capital A in 2028.
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An expert from Singapore, Shukor Yusof of Endau Analytics, told AFP that this merger is a normal step. However, he also thinks it might show some challenges in the airline business in this region.
AirAsia started in 2001 and changed the airline business in Southeast Asia by offering low-cost flights. AirAsia X began in 2007, focusing on longer flights, including to Europe. But they had to stop flights to London and Paris in 2012 due to high costs. Since then, they have focused on places like Australia, Japan, and China.
AirAsia Plans Growth in the Philippines, Eyes US Flights
AirAsia announced big plans for growth, focusing on the Philippines. The airline sees a lot of potential for tourism in the country. They also aim to start flights to the United States next year.
GMA News reported that Fernandes mentioned that the Philippines and Indonesia are key areas for growth because of their large populations and tourism possibilities. Besides airlines, Capital A is involved in various other sectors like logistics, maintenance, and digital services. AAX, on the other hand, focuses on longer flights in the Asia-Pacific region.
The merger of the aviation businesses into AAX should be complete in about five months. Fernandes says this will allow AirAsia to offer more exciting flight routes in countries like Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand.
Additionally, AirAsia announced two new leadership roles to help guide the company. Datuk Captain Chester Voo will lead airline operations, and Farouk Kamal will oversee corporate functions. This move aims to strengthen AirAsia's position in the market and focus on digital innovation and growth.
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