Even as Asia Pacific airlines survived a testing 2011, overcapacity as a result of increased fleet orders is still concerning investors, who are already less willing to finance procurements in the current debt-laden environment. This was the message from Sydney-based thinktank, the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) at the Low Cost Airlines Asia summit here in Singapore last week.
AirAsia X, long-haul subsidiary of Malaysia’s AirAsia, the largest Asian budget carrier, plans to withdraw 11 weekly services to Mumbai and Delhi in India and 10 weeklies to its only European destinations—Paris and London—from its Kuala Lumpur hub.
Asian air transport rebel Tony Fernandes, chief executive of low-cost pioneer AirAsia, will soon join the industry establishment, assuming his planned acquisition of a 20.5-percent stake in failing flag carrier Malaysian Airline System (MAS) proceeds. Last week, his Tune Group agreed to become a significant minority shareholder in MAS in return for Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional taking a 10-percent holding in AirAsia.
CAE and AirAsia have expanded a prior partnership into a joint venture to provide training for maintenance engineers, technicians, pilots, cabin crew and ground services personnel for airlines throughout the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region, including AirAsia’s.
CAE (Hall 3 C60) and Mitsui (Hall 4 F169) announced that they plan to establish a joint-venture training center in Japan for the new Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ).
Budget long-haul airline AirAsia X is eyeing a stock market listing and fleet expansion to spread its wings across the globe. The Malaysia-based carrier’s chief executive, Azran Osman Rani, has been in talks with institutional investors about a flotation in the next year or two to fund growth.
AirAsia pilot cadets are to train under a new multi-crew pilot license (MPL) program to be run by Canadian company CAE. The 56-week program will start in March and should lead to the award of Transport Canada MPL licenses to the cadets. They will also gain authorization from the Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia before entering AirAsia’s initial operating experience program for Airbus A320 first officers.
Low-cost carriers (LCCs) in the Asia-Pacific region have made “huge inroads in a relatively short time,” according to the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA). This market penetration has occurred despite somewhat restrictive regulations in some places and government tendencies to favor full-service flag carriers.
AirAsiaX has placed firm orders for 10 Airbus A350-900 airliners. The Malaysian carrier will use the new widebodys to connect its Asian hub in Kuala Lumpur with cities in Europe and Australia. The value of the deal was not confirmed but at list prices it would be approximately $2.4 billion.
Airbus is studying 10-abreast seating for its A350WXB following interest from low-cost airlines including AirAsia, which has inquired a potential 25-aircraft order.