Jakarta, 07.08.2012 – AirAsia Asean, the regional base of the world’s best low-cost airline, was officially launched in Jakarta today. The launch reaffirms AirAsia’s commitment to the ASEAN region, which it considers home, and coincides with the eve of the 45th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
With its new regional base, AirAsia strengthens its position as the ASEAN airline. AirAsia Asean was set up as part of the regional expansion strategy of the group, which now includes six airlines, five of which are anchored in ASEAN: the short-haul carriers AirAsia Malaysia, AirAsia Thailand, AirAsia Indonesia, AirAsia Philippines and AirAsia Japan, and the long-haul carrier AirAsia X.
Tony Fernandes, Group CEO of AirAsia, and Dato’ Kamarudin Meranun, Deputy Group CEO of AirAsia, will be based at the AirAsia Asean office.
“The establishment of the AirAsia Asean office in Jakarta as our regional base is to help to more fully deliver on our pledge – Now everyone can fly – to all the people of ASEAN and beyond. We are blessed to be located in a part of the world where economic growth is expected to be sustained despite the chilly economic winds blowing through Europe and the United States. Shifting AirAsia’s emphasis to a regional strategy is, we believe, not just good business, but also a move that will keep us ahead of the inevitable competition that is heading our way,” Fernandes said.
AirAsia Asean, as the nerve center of the group’s regional expansion, will help ready the group for the implementation of the ASEAN Open Skies policy and the ASEAN Economic Community, initiatives that the ASEAN Secretariat is now actively pushing in its 10 member-countries.
“AirAsia Asean will help ensure that our voice, our concerns and our appeals are heard much more clearly in the corridors of power with ASEAN. One of the reasons for locating the office in Jakarta is to help us engage more closely with the ASEAN Secretariat, which is headquartered here,” Fernandes said.
By focusing on regional growth, AirAsia expands its market base to 600 million people and brings ASEAN closer – within four-hour flight radii – to mega populations in neighboring giants China and India as well as in Japan and Korea. The ASEAN region, Northeast Asia and South Asia have a combined population of 3 billion people, or 43% of the world’s population.
“No single domestic market in ASEAN, not even Indonesia, can match the potential of a regional ASEAN market of 600 million people,” he added.
AirAsia is supporting its regional growth with a fleet expansion program that includes firm orders for 375 Airbus A320, 25 Airbus A330 and 10 Airbus A350 aircraft. The group currently operates a fleet of 104 Airbus A320, nine Airbus A330 and two A340 Airbus aircraft. It operates more than 160 direct city-to-city links and flies to 85 destinations, of which 55 are in Asean.
AirAsia’s commitment to ASEAN goes beyond its network of destinations. It has provided employment to 10,000 individuals from across ASEAN and flown more than 140 million guests since its launch as a low-cost airline in 2001. It has championed the region in various projects, including in sports and youth development, on the global stage.
Last month, AirAsia Asean debuted Aseanita, a female ASEAN caricature, online to promote the region via popular social media channels and serve as a guide to the region. Aseanita has so far garnered more than 2,700 likes on Facebook (facebook.com/Aseanita), where she engages an average of 500 fans daily. Aseanita also encourages discussions regarding ASEAN on Twitter (@Aseanita), where she has close to 250 followers.
Also, to mark the launch of AirAsia Asean and to help celebrate the 45th ASEAN Day, AirAsia is offering all-in fares from as low as RM29 one-way to all the 55 destinations in ASEAN that AirAsia flies to. The promotional fares are available for booking from today to 12 August 2012 at www.airasia.com and are valid for flights from 1 November 2012 to 31 January 2013. Hotel deals of up to 50% in discount are also available at www.AirAsiaGo.com for the same booking and travel period.
Photo (left to right): Aireen Omar - CEO of AirAsia, Azran Osman-Rani -CEO of AirAsia X, Tassapon Bijleveld - CEO of AirAsia Thailand, Tony Fernandes-Group - CEO of AirAsia, Kazuyuki Iwakata - CEO of AirAsia Japan, Dato’ Aziz Bakar - Chairman of AirAsia Berhad.