AirAsia’s Cambodian unit is expected to commence operations in the middle of the year, six months later than originally planned, as the airline group mulls launching another carrier in the region. 

In brief remarks following the release of parent Capital A’s annual results, AirAsia Aviation did not say where it is intends to base its newest unit. The group has previously stated that it will focus on Southeast Asian countries. 

AirAsia A320 9M-RAO KLIA2

Source: Wikimedia Commons

It is not the first time the airline group has talked up new units in Southeast Asia. In February 2023, Capital A chief Tony Fernandes said the group was looking at at least two more airlines in the region, with details to emerge by end-2024. 

Meanwhile, AirAsia Cambodia – the group’s fifth airline unit – was originally to have launched operations by end-2023. Neither the carrier nor the AirAsia group indicated reasons for the delay. 

The AirAsia group holds a 51% shareholding in the new carrier, while Cambodian firm Sivilai Asia accounts for the remainder.

Separately, AirAsia, which has operating units in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, also expects to double down on expanding operations to India and China, taking advantage of strong demand, as well as visa-free arrangements. 

Malaysia and Thailand eased visa requirements for Chinese and Indian visitors in 2023, in a bid to lure travellers from the two mega-economies. AirAsia has been bullish about rebuilding capacity to Mainland China following the easing of ‘zero-Covid’ restrictions.

The group posted a positive full-year EBITDA of MYR1.8 billion ($381 million). In the quarter ended 31 December, it reported an EBITDA of MYR504 million, about 25% higher year on year.