Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Airlines

AirAsia to Now Launch a Low-Cost Carrier in Cambodia

2 months ago

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.

Airlines

Tony Fernandes Steps Down as Acting Group CEO of AirAsia X

3 months ago

Tony Fernandes has stepped down as the acting group CEO of Capital A’s long-haul budget carrier AirAsia X citing “other commitments,” the airline announced in a note to investors on Monday.

“I’m now going to focus on delivering significant value to shareholders of Capital A, including the AirAsia Aviation Group, aviation services, logistics, travel, fintech and the e-commerce lifestyle platform,” Fernandes said in a press statement.

Having served as the non-independent non-executive director of AirAsia X, Fernandes stepped in to the role of acting group CEO in July this year.

Mahmood Fawzy has now been appointed as the independent non-executive director of Thai AirAsia X.

AirAsia X had entered a court-overseen debt restructuring process during the pandemic. The airline completed the debt restructuring in March.

Fernandes, in a press statement, mentioned that his job had been to restart AirAsia X and bring it back to profitability and growth after the hibernation. “I am happy that this has been accomplished with a very edifying plan for 20 aircraft for the AirAsia XGroup — 13 aircraft for AirAsia X and seven for Thai AirAsia X.”

He went on to note that following the restructuring the airline has improved the cost structure, and created a cargo business, which has contributed about 20 percent to the airline’s revenue during the pandemic and will continue to play a vital role in its recovery.

The airline in a statement in August had noted that it would be ramping up flight frequencies and would return to daily services to most destinations before 2023, with optimised aircraft utilisation of 15 hours by December.

Transport

Southeast Asian Destinations Steer Tourists Towards Road Trip Holidays

4 months ago

In a bid to encourage tourists to explore the region by road, the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have come up with a driving tourism manual.

The guidebook contains information on driving in Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam and also includes a list of suggested tour routes.

Available for free download, the guidebook is an initiative under the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan 2016-2025, with Thailand’s Department of Tourism as its main coordinator.

The ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan 2016-2025, sought to implement the agreement on the recognition of domestic driving licenses issued by ASEAN members states to promote drive/overland tourism across the region.

The information in the manual has been collated to help make the self-drive journey a seamless one among destinations in the region, based on connectivity, openness and mutual sharing of tourism experiences.

Designed to help driving tourists create their own itineraries, the guidebook contains information to help tourists traveling to Southeast Asia by land, including visa and entry requirements, vehicle permits, cross-border procedures, required documents, speed limits as well as emergency contact numbers.

A map also indicates the countries that drive on the left side of the road and those that drive on the right side.

To encourage tourists to explore lesser-known destinations, the guidebook also recommends self-drive routes for each country covering major highlights and second-tier destinations, and cross-border routes combining different countries.

The self-drive tourism manual is meant for travellers coming from within Southeast Asia as well as for international tourists coming from other continents, Yuthasak Supasorn, the governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand said in a press statement on Monday.

“International travelers could, for example, combine a visit to Thailand with visits to Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, or Malaysia to be enjoyed at their own pace, along their own routes while exploring the many diverse cultures, attractions, and landscapes of this fascinating region,” Supasorn said.

Tourism

SE Asia Dominates for Muslim Travelers Globally; Under-40s Driving Halal Tourism

8 months ago

South East Asia and Middle East regions continue to dominate in the ranking of Muslim-friendly destinations, according to the latest research and rankings by Muslim travel consultancy Crescent Rating along with its partner Mastercard.

The report dives into how the under-40s global Muslim population is now driving the next phase of growth of what many in the industry call “halal tourism.” Gen Z and women travelers amongst the Muslim population will drive the growth from here on, according to the report.

From the report: “This year’s ranking reflects those efforts by the destination. Malaysia continues to maintain its top position in the GMTI 2022. However, the gap between Malaysia and other top Muslim-friendly destinations is narrowing.Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey share second place. Uzbekistan has again shown significant improvement in the ranking, climbing 7 positions to be ranked no. 9 this year. Singapore is still the only non-OIC country to make it to the top 20 of the GMTI 2022 rankings.”

These four charts from the report are most instructive on the state of the market:

The overall Muslim travel market globally
South East Asia and other Muslim majority countries dominate as destinations Muslims like to go to.
Amongst the non-Muslim majority countries, Singapore is a huge market, while other Asian countries dominate.
Fascinating chart on the outbound Muslim market from muslim-majority vs other countries where muslims have large populations.

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