Air Asia, one of the first airlines to pioneer budget flights throughout Asia, expects to carry up to 1 billion passengers on its flights by 2025, according to a recent piece in the Bangkok Post.
LCCs Dominate in Asia
LCCs Dominate in Asia
The no-frills budget carrier hopes to join the ranks of the world's top airlines when it comes to passenger numbers, and recently celebrated the milestone of having transported 300 million passengers on its flights since the airline's inception.
We carry 50-60 million passengers a year, so we aim to get to 500 million in two or three years, then to one billion in 10 years, said Tony Fernandes, group chief executive of the airline.
In terms of passenger figures, the world's most popular airlines are mainly based in the USA. American Airlines currently holds the number one spot, having flown 129.43 million passengers in 2014. In the same year, Southwest Airlines flew 129.08 million passengers, China Southern Airlines flew 100 million, United Airlines flew 90 million and Delta Airlines flew 87 million.
Air Asia now boasts eight subsidiaries, with Thai Air Asia contributing 22 percent of the group's total passenger volume and Malaysia contributing 55 percent. Tassapoon Bijleveld, chief executive of Thai Air Asia, believes his branch will contribute close to the same number as Malaysia in the next few years, and the fleet will be increased from 45 to 60 aircraft.
Thai Air Asia has carried 66 million passengers so far, with this year's total expected to hit 14 million. Domestic flights have made travelling across the Kingdom particularly easy, with one hour hops now reducing travel time for visitors who once had to take trains or buses. Locations such as Koh Samui and Phuket are seeing most of their passengers enter on domestic flights, and Phuket's airport is being extended to cope with the increased demand.
Meanwhile, Fernandes believes it is the booming intra-ASEAN market that will fuel the airline's growth over the coming decade. When we started Air Asia 14 years ago, we merely had two aircraft in operation supported by 250 staff across give destinations across Malaysia, he told the press. Today, we have established operations in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and India, with more than 17,000 staff. We paint the sky red every day, with 199 aircraft flying to more than 100 destinations in 22 countries.
Back in Thailand, Thai Air Asia is not the only local airline focusing on expansion. In addition to consolidating its domestic coverage, Thai Lion Air (TLA) is also expanding its overseas routes. The airline recently launched a new flight from Bangkok to Singapore, which will operate daily. According to Aswin Yangkirativorn, chief executive of TLA, China would be the next priority market for the airline's renewed expansion plans.
by MAX VEE