AirAsia Aviation Group on Friday announced a joint venture with Cambodia-based Sivilai Asia to launch a new low-cost carrier — AirAsia Cambodia.
The airline, in which AirAsia will be the majority partner, expects to commence operations in late 2023.
Cambodia is the fifth Southeast Asian destination that AirAsia will be foraying into after Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.
Speaking to the media, Tony Fernandes, CEO of Capital A, AirAsia’s parent company, said all of the group’s future airlines would be based in the region as this is an area they know best and have a strong brand presence.
In 2020, the aviation group shut down operations of AirAsia Japan and last month the company announced that it has sold off its remaining 16.67 percent stake in AirAsia India to Tatas-owned Air India.
AirAsia plans to touch pre-Covid levels by the second quarter of 2023 and in true Tony Fernandes style the Capital A CEO said he’s confident AirAsia Cambodia would be profitable “from the get go.”
“Cambodia is a market that is familiar to us and where we have deep infrastructure in place,” Fernandes said.
AirAsia Aviation Group is the largest foreign airline and the second largest airline group overall operating into Cambodia in terms of capacity, according to group CEO Bo Lingam.
Pre-pandemic, AirAsia operated 90 weekly flights from Malaysia and Thailand to Cambodia and is currently flying about 49 weekly flights.
“The value of AirAsia’s network is an insurmountable asset; it will be another flag of extensive connectivity in Cambodia and into the region, namely China, India and North Asia,” Fernandes said.
Currently, there are no direct flights between India and Cambodia.
Reacting to earlier reports of a proposed merger of AirAsia and AirAsia X, Fernandes had clarified on Monday that the group proposed to form a separate aviation group comprising all its airlines.