Its reach covers many countries and a fleet of almost 200 aircraft operates across a variety of different brands under the one banner. We thought we’d take a look at this inspirational airline to help you get to know all about AirAsia.
AirAsia was founded in 1993, but didn’t commence operations until November 1996. It initially operated leased Boeing 737-300 aircraft from its Kuala Lumpur International Airport base to domestic and regional destinations around the Far East, modelling itself on the growing importance of low cost “no frills” carriers which were emerging in the USA and Europe.
The first subsidiaries of the airline emerged in 2004 when Thai AirAsia began operating from Bangkok to various international destinations.
A long haul subsidiary, AirAsia X was also opened in 2007, offering low cost long-haul travel using Airbus A340-300 aircraft, which flew to Australia, France and the United Kingdom.
Today AirAsia has transitioned to an all-Airbus A320 fleet after retiring its Boeing 737-300s. At present, there are 188 A320s in the fleet, split across the different brands.
AirAsia placed an order in 2011 for the new Airbus A320neo. The first of 300 on order will arrive in 2016, boosting the fleet and replacing older A320s. It also operates Airbus A330s with its X subsidiaries.
There are nine affiliated airlines which operate under the AirAsia brand in addition to the parent Malaysian airline. These are:
Starting operations in June 2014, AirAsia India operates five A320s from two bases – Delhi Indira Gandhi International, and Bengaluru Kempegowda. All of its flights are domestic routes.
The original long-haul arm still operates despite a few ups and downs. Today its fleet consists of Airbus A330-300s, and it has a number of A330-900neos and A350-900s on order. The latter is due to enter the fleet next year.
Its base is Kuala Lumpur International, with destinations in Australia, South Korea, China, United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Japan and Taiwan. It is planned to reinstate services to Paris, London and Honolulu as new aircraft arrive.
The first offshoot from the original AirAsia. Thai AirAsia is based at Bangkok Don Mueang Airport with over 40 A320s in service and more on order. It has a heavy domestic presence within Thailand, but also operates to all neighbouring countries.
Thai AirAsia X
Another long-haul subsidiary, operating two A330-300s from Bangkok Don Mueang to Osaka, Tokyo Narita and Seoul Incheon at present.
Created from Zest Air and Asian Spirit, two low cost airlines, in the Philippines. Its main operating base is Manila Ninoy Aquino, but it is a regular at other main airports in the country as well as at international destinations. The airline works in close cooperation with Philippines AirAsia, also based at Manila. It operates 13 Airbus A320s, with more on order.
Formed from Awair in 2005, Indonesia AirAsia is now one of the biggest international carriers in the country, seriously challenging Garuda and Lion Air. It operates 30 A320s, with 30 more on order. This subsidiary suffered the airline’s greatest tragedy in December 2014 when one of its A320s crashed into the sea killing 162 people.
The airline is based at Jakarta, Surabaya and Medan. Its primary destinations are in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
Indonesia AirAsia X
Two Airbus A330-300s are operated by the spin-off from the main AirAsia X. They are flown from Bali to Australia, Taiwan and Saudi Arabia. This carrier will grow as the long-haul fleet is added to.
As with AirAsia Zest, Philippines AirAsia is based at Manila Ninoy Aquino and operates 10 A320s, with plans to treble its fleet in the coming years. It primarily operates domestic services on trunk routes in the country.
Originally operated from 2012 until 2013. AirAsia Japan will be re-launched in early 2016 from its Nagoya Chubu Centrair base.
It will operate four A320s to domestic destinations, and to South Korea and Taiwan.
AirAsia for the spotter
Any spotters visiting airports in the Far East, India and Australasia are likely to see AirAsia aircraft in abundance. Like all large low cost carriers, it excels at making its business work by operating a single aircraft type fleet in large numbers. So for the number crunchers, AirAsia is a good bet, even if you do find modern airliners a little bland.
The AirAsia, you get the added bonus of its different subsidiaries, so registrations and titling do differ from location to location, adding a bit of variety.
You’ve also got the bonus of Airbus A330s operating on the long-haul routes under the ‘X’ brand.
The main hub airports that you’ll see a lot of AirAsia aircraft are:
- Bangkok Dun Mueang, Thailand
- Bengaluru, India
- Delhi Indira Gandhi, India
- Jakarta Soekarno Hatta, Indonesia
- Kuala Lumpur International, Malaysia
- Manila Ninoy Aquino, Philippines
Other popular destinations are Bali, Cebu, Kota Kinabalu, Macau, Penang, Phuket, Seoul Incheon, Singapore Changi, and Taipei Taoyuan
One other plus point for the spotter is the airline’s logojets. Many of its A320s bear full or partial schemes to advertise different companies, sports teams and travel brands.
Here’s a list of current AirAsia logojets and their registration:
9M-AFA – The Apprentice
9M-AFB – Junior Jet
9M-AFC – World’s Best Low Cost Airline
9M-AFD – Allstar
9M-AFE – ASEAN Basketball League
9M-AFG – Expedia
9M-AFI – Malaysian National Football Team
9M-AFL – SkyRider Club
9M-AFM – Hats off to Dato Pahamin
9M-AFP – 1 Malaysia
9M-AFT – mface
9M-AFV – Queens Park Rangers
9M-AFW – AirAsia mobile app
9M-AHD – Tune Insure
9M-AHE – Tune Talk
9M-AHG – ninetology
9M-AHJ – BIG Loyalty Scheme
9M-AHL – Prince Lubricants
9M-AHM – Taylor Swift
9M-AHR – LINE
9M-AHX – Connecting ASEAN
9M-AQH – 100th Awesome Plane
9M-XXT (A330) – Xcintillating PhoeniX
HS-ABC – Thailand Womens Volleyball
HS-ABE – Truly ASEAN
HS-ABG – Thailand Post
HS-ABJ – Carabao Concert
HS-ABK – Thai Fight
HS-ABW – World’s Best Low Cost Airline
HS-ABX – Amazing Thailand
RP-C8974 – Solaire Resort
RP-C8988 – Manny Pacquiao
VT-JRT – The Pioneer Tribute to JRD Tata
To see our Pinterest page of AirAsia logojets, click here: https://www.pinterest.com/airportspotting/airasia-logojets/