(MENAFNEditorial) Malaysian and Indonesian airlines are racing through the skies at breakneck speed leading the charge to rule the Southeast Asia's Low Cost Carrier (LCC) market, translating into huge savings on airfares and a flurry of promotional offers for travellers.
With more than 30 individual Asian LCC partnerships options currently displayed on Wego (the leading travel metasearch site in the Asia Pacific and Middle East), Chief Flights Officer Dean Wicks weighs in on the record boom in Asia's LCC sector
"Malaysia appears to be edging ahead with Air Asia and its six regional carriers that operate under the Air Asia brand, each of which are among the ten largest individual LCCs in the Asia Pacific," said Wicks
"Air Asia currently own 520 aircraft (including orders) and are currently the largest, however they're about to be overtaken in fleet number by Indonesian operated Lion Air who have 721 aircraft (including orders)," he added. "While Lion Air is well known in Indonesia's domestic market, the carrier will require a huge investment commitment to grow its brand awareness and gain comparative market share in Air Asia's well established regions. It will be interesting to see who will get the lion share of air space in Asia.
Wicks says airlines are now expanding fast via an affiliate model, and full and partial subsidiary models. "Air Asia has done this so well with their six regional brands and now Lion Air is following the same path," he commented. "The latest kid on the block in Malaysia is Malindo Air which recently integrated with Wego through our distribution platform. We've been able to help them expand their reach rapidly in a low cost manner.
Malindo Air has big plans for Malaysia, already beginning its expansion announcing a host of destinations competing head to head with Air Asia. "Malindo currently owns 12 aircraft and plan to expand to 100 over the next decade," Wicks said. "Matching Air Asia's routes, the carrier is adding two strategic services from Kuala Lumpur to Ahmedabad and Chittagong. With a population in Bangladesh in excess of 150 million and no LCC service, you can imagine how popular this route will be.
Adding to the record number of Asia Pacific LCCs with a combined fleet at this time of almost 1,000 aircraft (with more than 1,500 additional aircraft on order), Singapore's Scoot are joining Thailand's LCC Nok Air and Tigerair has announced a joint venture with China Airlines to launch Tigerair Taiwan. The Philippines largest LCC Cebu Pacific just last week acquired Tigerair Philippines and VietJetAir are in discussions with affiliates in Thailand and Malaysia, all following Air Asia's affiliate model.
"Ten additional LCCs will launch during 2014 and with the planned expansion and additional aircraft by existing players, competition for South East Asian skies is about to become intense," observed Wicks. "All of which is very good news for the tourism and aviation industry in every region, and most of all, exciting times for the traveller as airlines battle it out to have you secure a seat on their new aircrafts.
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