Thursday, June 14, 2012

AirAsia makes Jakarta its regional base

AirAsia makes Jakarta its regional base

HQ REMAINS IN SEPANG: Key appointments, CEO for airline’s Malaysia ops to be announced June 18.

AIRASIA Bhd has made Jakarta its regional base, a move that means lesser role for its heaquarters in Kuala Lumpur.

It also ends weeks of speculation that the low-cost airline’s headquarters would move from Sepang in the wake of a failed share swap deal between AirAsia and Malaysian Airlines.

AirAsia yesterday said the Jakarta base, called AirAsia Asean, is to bolster its operations in Asean and regions nearby.

AirAsia chief executive officer (CEO) Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said AirAsia Asean will serve as its nerve centre to tap into “underserved market of some three billion people” in Asean, Northeast Asia and South Asia.

“To avoid any misinterpretation, let me be very clear: AirAsia Malaysia’s headquarters isnot moving to Jakarta.

“AirAsia Malaysia is a Malaysian-registered airline, with all its aircraft registered under the Malaysian flag and it is a company listed on Bursa Malaysia.

That will not change,” he said at a press conference on AirAsia Asean here yesterday.

The move will allow senior AirAsia managers to work in a neutral
environment free of the day-to-day pressures in its headquarters, he added.

AirAsia is currently in the process of restructuring its management to accommodate the shift in emphasis on its future
growth plans.

Fernandes said it will announce key personnel to run the regional structure as well as new AirAsia Malaysia CEO on Monday
(June 18).

Business Times reported last week, quoting Fernandes, that the new CEO will manage the operations in Malaysia, while he will be overseeing all AirAsia operations in Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Japan.

"Invariably, when you are running AirAsia Malaysia and the regional office your time is more spent on the Malaysian operation.

"So what we are trying to do is get a group of people that focuses across all the countries," he said.

Fernandes said AirAsia Asean will also help it engage closely with the Asean secretariat which is also based in Jakarta.

"AirAsia Asean will help us ensure that our voice, our concerns and our appeals are heard much more clearly in the corridors of power within Asean."

It will also help raise the profile and branding of AirAsia Indonesia, which is heading for a listing on the Jakarta Stock Exchange by year-end, he added.

"Indonesia is our big opportunity, along with the Philippines and Japan... it's a country of 250 million while we only have 17 planes in there while in Malaysia we have 55 planes with a population of 24 million," he said.

Meanwhile, AirAsia plans to have five new joint ventures over the next two years, Fernandes said, adding that there is huge potential for growth in South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, India and China.

Publish date: 14/06/12

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