The airline said the new regional base would help strengthens its position in a market which accounts for 3% of the Earth’s landmass and 600 million people.
With the launch of AirAsia ASEAN under Fernandes’ personal supervision, means the AirAsia group 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.
“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 centre 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.