AirAsia has said it welcomes the arrival of new low-cost rival Malindo Airways, which is expected to start operating from Kuala Lumpur next year.
Speaking to Malaysia’s Bernama news agency yesterday, AirAsia’s Group CEO Tony Fernandes said the new airline, which is a joint venture between Indonesia’s Lion Air and Malaysian aerospace firm NADI, marked a positive step for the Southeast Asian aviation industry.
“I welcome Malindo Airways’ establishment. AirAsia had always wanted ASEAN to be opened up. This is a good step,” Fernandes told Bernama. “We have competed in a country like Malaysia which has a strong airline in Malaysia Airlines,” he added.
Malindo Airways is expected to commence operations in May 2013, initially operating a fleet of 12 Boeing 737 aircraft on domestic and regional routes from the new budget terminal, KLIA 2. It expects to expand the fleet to 100 aircraft in the coming year, expanding its network to destinations in China, Southeast Asia and India.
Lion Air’s entry into the Malaysian market shortly follows AirAsia’s acquisition of Indonesia’s Batavia Air, and the establishment of its new regional headquarters in Jakarta.