17 May 2010
The AirAsia group is due to launch a new airfare war to Asia tomorrow with one-way fares expected to be just $99 or less to Bali and Kuala Lumpur.
It is understood there will be several million seats available Asia-wide for travel later this year and in 2011 to all the group's 65 destinations.
Previous sales by AirAsia have sold out in hours and the airline expects the seats to be snapped up.
After AirAsia started offering flights from Perth to Kuala Lumpur in late 2008 air travel to Kuala Lumpur leapt by 38 per cent in 2009, and is up another 34 per cent this year.
The airline started Bali services from Perth in 2009 and air travel to Bali has skyrocketed - climbing 46 per cent last year, while early figures point to another 50 per cent increase this year.
AirAsia will increase its Bali services to three times daily from June 1 and Kuala Lumpur to twice a day from August 1.
Last month, AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes promised West Australians "more flights and more bargains".
"Unlike other airlines we don't put fares up when our planes are full, we add more flights," Mr Fernandes said.
And unlike other airlines that were haemorrhaging red ink last year as passengers stayed away, AirAsia recorded a $183 million net profit with a 24 per cent growth in passengers to 22.7 million, making it the fastest-growing and most successful airline in the Asia-Pacific region.
The airline has 82 aircraft making 627 flights a day on 136 routes to 18 countries throughout Asia, Australia and India.
Those numbers are more extraordinary given that seven years ago the airline had just two aircraft and six routes and founder Mr Fernandes rarely, if ever, received an audience with regulators or politicians, let alone a cup of coffee from a banker.Now the red carpet is there wherever he goes as airports build new terminals to accommodate his airline's expansion and politicians scramble to be seen at the airline's ever increasing occasions of ordering more aircraft or making new route announcements.
GEOFFREY THOMAS AVIATION EDITOR