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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     12  October  2011                    

Air Asia venture derailed

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Asia’s biggest budget carrier AirAsia has called off a proposed joint venture with VietJet Aviation to launch a low-cost airline, citing a failure to obtain Vietnamese regulatory approvals.

In a filing with the Malaysian stock market late Tuesday, AirAsia said the venture had failed to gain government permission to employ the AirAsia brand across VietJet’s commercial operations, and other required approvals.

“As those conditions are fundamental for the successful conduct of the business model for the intended joint venture, the company has decided to allow the joint venture to lapse with immediate effect,” it said.

AirAsia said it would face no legal or financial impact from the move.

The Malaysia-based budget carrier, which has expanded rapidly through joint ventures in neighboring countries, announced in February it had bought a 30 percent stake in VietJet, intending to set up a Vietnam-based low-cost airline.

The carrier was to be known as VietJet AirAsia.

AirAsia has become one of the airline industry’s biggest success stories after former music industry executive Tony Fernandes acquired the then-failing company a decade ago.

Its 2010 full-year net profit nearly doubled to 1.07 billion ringgit (US$340 million) compared to 2009.

In July, AirAsia and Japan’s All Nippon Airways announced they would form a joint venture to establish a Tokyo-based low-cost airline. AirAsia already has similar joint ventures in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.


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By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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