The low-cost Malaysian line has been building regional partnerships, but it will need to continue to deliver on its budget promises if it's to differentiate itself from competitors.
Source: The Star, Kuala Lumpur/Asia News Network
By Ng Bei Shan
AirAsia will work on five more joint ventures with regional airlines over the next two years to position itself as a global brand on top of the one that was signed with Japan’s All Nippon Airways.
“We need to pivot to a wider, regional lens from the first decade’s focus, which was largely domestic,” chief executive officer Tony Fernandes said yesterday.
“Shifting AirAsia’s emphasis to a regional strategy is not just good business, but also a move that will keep up ahead of the inevitable competition that is heading our way,” Fernandes said at a press conference.
He also said that the company was considering to add a fleet of 50 planes to meet its operations’ needs. The 75 aircraft that were ordered are expected to be delivered by 2016.
“Let me be very clear. AirAsia Malaysia’s headquarters is not moving to Jakarta. AirAsia Malaysia is a Malaysian-registered airline, with all its aircraft registered under the Malaysian flag. AirAsia is committed to upholding our pledge to Malaysians that Now Everyone Can Fly,” Fernandes said.
The people who are appointed to run this regional structure will be announced on Monday.
In response to why the regional office would be in Jakarta and not Malaysia, he explained that the management team would pay more attention to AirAsia Malaysia because of the sentiment of growing it as compared with a neutral location as the regional office.
Fernandes added that he would spend more time overseeing the regional operations.
“There will be a new CEO appointed for AirAsia Malaysia. But then, to be a true leader, he has to be independent.
“If I’m in the office, he may be overshadowed,” he said.
He said AirAsia wanted to be a major player in the Indonesian market.
“Locating our regional base in Jakarta is also likely to have the beneficial effect of helping raise the profile and branding of AirAsia Indonesia, which is heading for a listing on the Jakarta Stock Exchange by the end of the year,” he said.
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