AirAsia to expand fleet and raise capacity of Malaysian unit

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Low-cost carrier AirAsia will add 10 aircraft to its Malaysian unit's fleet this year and ramp up capacity, after years of holding back growth to allow for the expansion of its associates in the region.

This will allow AirAsia to start services on new routes and also, increase frequencies on popular ones such as those between east Malaysia and Johor, says its Malaysian unit's chief executive Aireen Omar.

"The objective this year is to maintain our market leadership through a number of strategies. We have been holding back on capacity expansion in the last couple of years to make room for our associates to grow," she adds.

The carrier will also look to keep cost "as low as possible" - its mantra since starting operations 11 years ago.

AirAsia's net profit more than tripled to ringgit (M$) 1.88 billion ($606 million) in 2012. Revenue for the 12-month period ended 31 December also grew by 11% to M$5 billion. Its load factor for the year remained unchanged at 80%.

AirAsia operates a fleet of 65 Airbus A320s.