AirAsia X to go public

Thursday, April 28, 2011, 19:54 by Aviation Correspondent

AirAsia X, long-haul partner of AirAsia, the Malaysian budget carrier plans to list its shares by next year. The company said that this would pave the way to gather more funds for expansion. The decision to soon bring the airline to public domain was announced in Singapore. The announcement is after Air Asia’s Thailand and Indonesian affiliates Thai AirAsia and PT Indonesia AirAsia later this month proposed plans to offer public shares by this year end.

The possible time from which AirAsia X’s shares will be listed is still unknown. AirAsia X currently operates from Malaysia to China, Australia, Taiwan, India, Iran, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, France and Britain. The airline is in the final stages of getting the green light from the Government to fly to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Sydney.

In February, the company placed an order for Airbus A330-200 aircrafts, which would bring the total to 28.

AirAsia X promotes direct-online or call-center marketing to Korean customers via Twitter and Facebook, while only 5 to 10 percent of its promotions are done through travel agencies. Although it relies on different marketing strategies than traditional airlines, its business in Korea has grown since it began flying the Seoul route on Nov. 1.

AirAsia earlier on Tuesday announced a link-up with the world’s largest online travel booking company, U.S.-based Expedia Inc, to sell flights, hotels and holiday packages in the Asia-Pacific region. As per the US $20 million agreement a new company is to be formed to handle Expedia’s businesses in Japan, India, Southeast Asia and other East Asian markets, as well as AirAsia’s AirAsiaGo and GoRooms services.

The move will provide Expedia with exclusive rights to sell AirAsia tickets online, while Asian travel sites such as Asiatravel.com and Zuji do so under the banner of Sabre Holdings.

Asia is by far the fastest growing aviation and tourism market in the world, the said partnership has every chance to bloom and benefit both.

AirAsia has further plans to launch AirAsia Philippines by August and a Vietnam affiliate afterwards.

AirAsia is Asia’s largest low-fare, no-frills airline and a pioneer of low-cost travel in Asia. AirAsia group operates scheduled domestic and international flights to over 400 destinations spanning 25 countries. AirAsia has a fleet of 103 aircrafts and an additional 121 orders.