Thursday, November 10, 2011
AirAsia chief executive officer Tony Fernandes is planning to start a new regional airline to compete with Australian carrier Qantas, a news report said Wednesday, 9th November 2011.
The Sun daily reported, quoting unnamed aviation sources, that the airline would be a super-premium full-service carrier to rival Qantas' upcoming carrier RedQ.
Plans are for the airline, likely to be called Caterham Jet, to be operating from an airport near the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur from May next year, the report said.
Proposed routes include Bangkok, Jakarta and Singapore, it said. The airline has yet to obtain an operating license from the government though several Bombardier CRJ have been secured, the report said.
Fernandes, who is also Formula One Team Lotus principal, bought British sports car company Caterham Cars earlier this year.
He is also the owner of Queens Park Rangers, the English Premier League outfit.
An AirAsia spokesman said the budget carrier could not immediately comment on the report. Fernandes, who was travelling in Tokyo, could not immediately be reached.
Malaysia-based AirAsia has become one of the airline industry's biggest success stories after Fernandes acquired the then-failing company a decade ago.
Its 2010 full-year net profit nearly doubled to 1.07 billion ringgit ($340 million) compared to 2009.
Embattled Australian carrier Qantas recently grounded its global fleet for two days to force an end to months of strike action by pilots, engineers and ground staff, leaving some 70,000 travellers stranded.