Monday, January 30

AirAsia grows cargo, aims new markets

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KUCHING: Regional low-cost carrier AirAsia Bhd (AirAsia) is aggressively growing its markets and utilising ‘Special Prorate Agreements’ (SPA) with various airlines to achieve its revenue target for this year, it said in a statement yesterday.The airline is tying up with more cargo agents and large export-import firms in the markets that it flies to, while also reaching markets beyond its current route network through other airlines, with which it has SPA agreements. These major airlines will extend AirAsia’s reach to more cities in south and east Asia, the Middle East, Africa as well as Europe.

AirAsia, which considers cargo as a major area of growth for this year, expects its cargo revenue to grow by more than 40 per cent over last year’s performance.

According to its regional head for cargo Sathis Manoharen, the airline has been signing up more key players in the cargo industry.

“Demand for our cargo space is picking up and with AirAsia now up there among the world’s most recognisable brands and with the expanded reach that we have with our airline partners, more large companies are interested in our cargo services. Our competitive prices have allowed us to also increase business with individual senders.

“AirAsia is growing in many markets, but south Asia is of particular interest because of our rapid expansion there. In November last year, AirAsia started flying to three Indian cities of Kolkata, Trivandrum and Kochi. These are in addition to our other destinations in the region-Tiruchirappalli, Dhaka and Colombo. Interest from businesses there is picking up, and this should intensify when we begin flights to even more south Asian cities this year,” he added.

AirAsia has operations based in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. It operates both short- and long-haul flights on 132 routes to Asean countries namely Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei and the Philippines, as well as to mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taipei, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates, Australia and the UK.

Domestic cargo operations are also expected to get a boost from increased demand for cargo services for perishables, including seafood from West Malaysia.  Seafood and other perishables are now among AirAsia’s significant cargo revenue sources, in which it is seeing a sizeable demand for cargo services between East and Peninsular Malaysia as well as from East Malaysia to Macau, Hong Kong and China mostly via Kuala Lumpur.

With its frequent daily flights between East and Peninsular Malaysia, AirAsia is able to deliver perishables within time frames required by exporters and importers.  As part of an agreement with the cargo terminal operator, the airline also utilises usage of the airport’s cold room facility within a fixed period.

Apart from seafood and perishables, AirAsia’s other usual cargo items are machinery and car parts, electronics, food items, as well as shoes and apparels.