AirAsia now serves over 60 destinations from its main Kuala Lumpur base; almost 75% of flights compete directly with Malaysia Airlines

Last December Hyderabad Airport welcomed AirAsia’s inaugural flight from Kuala Lumpur, becoming the airline’s sixth destination in India. With the launch of services to Visakhapatnam during the last week, India is now AirAsia’s fourth biggest international country market from Kuala Lumpur with 66 weekly departures.

AirAsia as we know it today launched its no-frills operation from Kuala Lumpur’s main airport (KLIA) in early 2002. Just 13 years later, the airline is poised to overtake Malaysia Airlines as the biggest carrier (in terms of weekly seats) at the country’s busiest airport. Last week, AirAsia launched its latest new route from the airport, to Visakhapatnam in India, its 62nd destination in total, and seventh in India.

Chart - Top 12 airlines at Kuala Lumpur Airport Weekly departing seats in August 2015 (Change versus August 2014)

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser for w/c 4 August 2014 and w/c 3 August 2015.

AirAsia flights now account for just over one-third of all seat capacity at KLIA. In addition, other airlines which are part of the AirAsia Group of airlines account for another 11.4% of seat capacity at the airport, giving the group control over around 45% of all seats at KLIA.

Almost 300% growth in the last decade

Between 2005 and 2015, AirAsia’s seat capacity at KLIA has increased almost fourfold from just under three million departing seats per annum to almost 11.5 million. After annual growth of more than 20% up until 2009, capacity has grown at a slower rate in recent years and even experienced a tiny decline in 2014. Capacity growth is currently planned at around 5% for this year.

Chart - AirAsia at Kuala Lumpur 2005-2015 Annual departing seats (millions) and year-on-year growth

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser for w/c 4 August 2014 and w/c 3 August 2015.

The number of destinations served from KLIA virtually doubled between 2005 and 2009 from 27 to 52. Since then the rate of adding new destinations has slowed and by the end of this year it will have increased by just a dozen more to 64. Of these 35 will be served with at least twice-daily flights. Apart from Visakhapatnam, AirAsia plans to add two further new destinations this summer, to Manila in the Philippines and Malé in the Maldives. Relatively few routes have been abandoned over the last decade, but these do include Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (replaced by flights to Bangkok Don Mueang), Colombo (now operated by AirAsia X), Dhaka in Bangladesh, Haikou in China, Kuantan and Manado in Indonesia and Thiruvananthapuram in India.

Chart - AirAsia at Kuala Lumpur 2005-2015 Destinations served (not including AirAsia X)

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.

Domestic/international split is close to 50:50

Domestic routes account for just under 47% of all weekly seats this summer for AirAsia at KLIA, down slightly from just under 48% in the corresponding period last year. Indonesia and Thailand (where AirAsia is involved in joint ventures to create local carriers) are the two leading international markets, followed by Singapore, India and China. In total, AirAsia operates international flights from KLIA to 14 countries outside of Malaysia, the only new addition in 2015 being the Maldives. Service to Malé is scheduled to begin in July.

Chart - Top 12 AirAsia country markets from KUL Weekly departing seats in August 2015 (Change versus August 2014)

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser for w/c 4 August 2014 and w/c 3 August 2015.

Competition with Malaysia Airlines on almost three-quarters of all flights

Schedule data for this August shows that AirAsia will be serving 64 destinations non-stop from KLIA while Malaysia Airlines will be operating directly to 59 destinations. The number of destinations which both airlines serve is 32. While this is only half of all the routes flown by AirAsia, these 32 routes represent 74% of AirAsia’s seats and flights at KLIA. For Malaysia Airlines the corresponding figures are 70% of flights and 61% of seats. AirAsia’s next two new routes from KLIA, to Malé in the Maldives and Manila in the Philippines, are both currently served by Malaysia Airlines.

airAsia Taylor Swift

AirAsia founder and Group CEO Tony Fernandes worked for over a decade in the music industry and has been happy to use his aircraft as logojets for a variety of musical acts. Taylor Swift’s RED tour in 2014 included a number of Asian venues last June, including Kuala Lumpur, as well as Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila and Singapore.

New route? New airline? Email us! Let’s all celebrate your new routes. Contact us with photos and route details, and follow us on Instagram for our exclusive daily digest.


  1. Steven Dickson says:


    I don’t think you do the AirAsia Group justice with this article.

    You need to look at the Group holistically to be able to make sense of the capacity adjustments.

    You rightly recognise that some transfer of routes between AirAsia entities happened during the period to which the report refers (e.g. CMB from AK to D7). However, you fail to recognise that the AirAsia Group of airlines (including the A330 ops) is completely synchronised when it comes to capacity management.

    Operating openly in ASEAN is still limited by route rights, and so AirAsia will also need to maximise its opportunities to ensure a number of its carriers in many cases (KUL-CGK/KUL-HKT/CGK-DMK) are designated on single city pairs, allowing the Group to deploy the best AOC for the job…in the example above, AK/QZ, AK/FD, QZ/FD.

    With this – almost unique – ability in mind therefore, it is unfair for you to only look at at traffic and capacity changes affecting “AirAsia”, by which I’m guessing you mean only MAA/AK. You need to look at the overall picture when it comes to a Grouping of narrow-body and wide-body airlines, that strategically manage network capacity and deployment to the betterment of the Group (within the obvious regulatory requirement to retain effective control in their home markets).

    I would urge you to revisit this with a Group lens and see what the numbers and pax stats say then….bearing in mind, KL is just one of nearly 20 hubs across the region….

    Of course, if open skies in ASEAN existed today (ha ha ha), one would question the future requirement of individual AOCs to exist in the first place! Room for consolidation……??!!?

  2. syd says:

    airasia pay lower airport charges in malaysia than MAS as it uses low costs terminal. But the terminal itself have similar or even better facilties than the older main terminal at KL airport.

Comments are closed