AirAsia aims at creating airport hubs in Southeast Asia

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AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes

Southeast Asia’s biggest budget airline group AirAsia appears eager to invest or become a joint-venture partner in airport development to serve its burgeoning traffic and drive overall air travel demand. Group chief Tony Fernandes on September 16 at the CAPA LCC Airports Congress in Bangkok organised by the Center for Asia-Pacific Aviation (CAPA) said that he made the suggestion as he urged airport authorities in ASEAN to change their mindset to support low-cost carriers by lowering airport-related charges.

“We’re big enough, and I don’t see why we should not have our own [passenger] terminals,” Fernandes said.

The airline has long been keen to have its own terminals, but bids in recent years to invest in such facilities in Malaysia and Indonesia were foiled by authorities.

At the conference, Fernandes criticised ASEAN airports for lagging behind airports in Japan, China and Europe in supporting budget carriers in driving traffic through airports by offering incentives.

“For airports to overcome the challenges of the 21st century and prepare for ASEAN Open Skies, we need a mindset change with regard to aviation policy,” he said.

He also suggested that his group can build “a new Dubai” in Southeast Asia with its “Fly-Thru” transfer product. Fernandes said the product represents a huge opportunity for AirAsia to replicate Dubai’s airline Emirates and for the development of hubs in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.

At the conference it turned out that Bangkok’s Don Mueang International is the world’s busiest low-cost-carrier airport in terms of passenger traffic, ahead of Las Vegas and Kuala Lumpur, according to CAPA.

Nitinai Sirismatthakarn, president of Airports of Thailand (AOT), operator of six international airports, said Don Mueang served 22.5 million passengers between January and August although the airport’s official capacity is 18.5 million per year.

In detail, Don Mueang now serves more budget passengers than Las Vegas McCarren International Airport in the US (13.3 million in the first half), Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia (12.6 million), Barcelona El Prat Airport in Spain (12 million) and Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Indonesia (12 million).

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes

Southeast Asia’s biggest budget airline group AirAsia appears eager to invest or become a joint-venture partner in airport development to serve its burgeoning traffic and drive overall air travel demand. Group chief Tony Fernandes on September 16 at the CAPA LCC Airports Congress in Bangkok organised by the Center for Asia-Pacific Aviation (CAPA) said that he made the suggestion as he urged airport authorities in ASEAN to change their mindset to support low-cost carriers by lowering airport-related charges.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes

Southeast Asia’s biggest budget airline group AirAsia appears eager to invest or become a joint-venture partner in airport development to serve its burgeoning traffic and drive overall air travel demand. Group chief Tony Fernandes on September 16 at the CAPA LCC Airports Congress in Bangkok organised by the Center for Asia-Pacific Aviation (CAPA) said that he made the suggestion as he urged airport authorities in ASEAN to change their mindset to support low-cost carriers by lowering airport-related charges.

“We’re big enough, and I don’t see why we should not have our own [passenger] terminals,” Fernandes said.

The airline has long been keen to have its own terminals, but bids in recent years to invest in such facilities in Malaysia and Indonesia were foiled by authorities.

At the conference, Fernandes criticised ASEAN airports for lagging behind airports in Japan, China and Europe in supporting budget carriers in driving traffic through airports by offering incentives.

“For airports to overcome the challenges of the 21st century and prepare for ASEAN Open Skies, we need a mindset change with regard to aviation policy,” he said.

He also suggested that his group can build “a new Dubai” in Southeast Asia with its “Fly-Thru” transfer product. Fernandes said the product represents a huge opportunity for AirAsia to replicate Dubai’s airline Emirates and for the development of hubs in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.

At the conference it turned out that Bangkok’s Don Mueang International is the world’s busiest low-cost-carrier airport in terms of passenger traffic, ahead of Las Vegas and Kuala Lumpur, according to CAPA.

Nitinai Sirismatthakarn, president of Airports of Thailand (AOT), operator of six international airports, said Don Mueang served 22.5 million passengers between January and August although the airport’s official capacity is 18.5 million per year.

In detail, Don Mueang now serves more budget passengers than Las Vegas McCarren International Airport in the US (13.3 million in the first half), Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia (12.6 million), Barcelona El Prat Airport in Spain (12 million) and Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Indonesia (12 million).

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