AirAsia boss announces new airline for the super rich
AirAsia chief Tan Sri Tony Fernandes clearly didn’t read the memo about the Malaysian government wanting to reduce the country’s carbon footprint by 40 percent by 2020.
He is launching a new premium airline -- called Caterham Jet -- to compete with Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines as well as the recently announced RedQ premium airline from Qantas, aimed at high-flying executives traveling in Asia.
The Sun Daily reported that the regional airline will initially fly a Bombardier CRJ700, serving Bangkok, Jakarta and Singapore from Subang Airport outside Kuala Lumpur.
However, Caterham Jet is still waiting for its operating license from the Malaysian government.
RedQ, which according to Qantas is due to make its first flight in 2012, also aims to serve the ultra-premium market.
The announcement from Fernandes comes after weeks of troubles at Qantas, with worker strikes and staff protests disrupting hundreds of flights.
Meanwhile other Malaysian carriers such as MAS, Firefly and AirAsia X will also be keeping their eyes on developments.
"A new super-premium full-service carrier (FSC) would only add a new layer of competition, which may lead to too much fragmentation and I am not sure how that is going to go well in Malaysia," commented K. Ajith, a regional aviation analyst.
However, OSK Research aviation analyst Ahmad Maghfur Usman says that the new airline “will not compete directly with MAS and AirAsia as it caters to a very niche market of Malaysia's super-rich."