Thursday, August 03, 2017

AirAsia helps Sabah’s connectivity

TRAVEL within Sabah is greatly enhanced and made affordable by air travels where its city and major towns are connected by air. Much time is saved compared to travelling by road plus the comfort during the journey and reaching its destination unruffled. With low cost airline such as AirAsia it will help making decision to fly even easier by air. Air travel is now available using Malaysia Airlines and or MasWings within Sabah and with AirAsia in the fray, travellers have now the luxury of more flights and choice of service providers.

AirAsia’s phenomenal growth continues with its cheap air travel in Asia being already ASEAN largest budget airline by fleet size after having leveraged its hub-and-spoke model to connect numerous cities. Now with the growth of the region’s middle class, the airline is eyeing new routes and markets, especially China.

AirAsia Bhd has launched three new international routes from Kota Kinabalu, Langkawi and Penang. It has also launched direct flights from Kota Kinabalu to Wuhan, Langkawi- Guangzhou and Penang-Ho Chi Minh.

“We saw ASEAN before ASEAN saw us,” quipped Tony Fernandes, the airline group’s chief executive. AirAsia’s modest start with just two aircraft in 2002 coincided with the region’s economic integration under the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement. AirAsia immediately saw the huge potential in an area with a population of over 600 million, with growing economies but poor connectivity.

AirAsia has associate companies in Asia Aviation Capital, an aircraft leasing company, which is 100 per cent owned, AirAsia Japan at 49 per cent, Thai AirAsia at 45 per cent, Indonesia AirAsia at 49 per cent, Phillipines AirAsia held 49 per cent stake through its associate company. It also owned long distance carriers in AirAsia X in Malaysia, Thai AirAsia X and Indonesia AirAsia Extra

Tan Sri Tony Fernandes noted that the timing was great, reckoning that the airline would not have taken off much earlier. Luck played a big part, but they took advantage of it. Marketing the airline under the banner “Now everyone can fly,” AirAsia enhanced air travel with its short-haul, no-frills service, charging for everything from baggage to meals in return for low fares. The theme reflects their focus on making travel available and affordable to everyone.