Flying Cheap

SINGAPORE, Nov 10, 2006 (AFP) – Costs, not competition, worry Tony Fernandes of AirAsia Bhd, who said Friday he foresees continued expansion for the Malaysian-based lowcost pioneer. “The only thing that we worry about is our cost,” said Fernandes, the airline’s group chief executive.

“There can be a hundred low cost carriers out there. It doesn’t really matter as long as we have the lowest cost in the world… then we will have the lowest fares and there’s a huge market out there which we are after,” he said at the Aviation Outlook conference.

AirAsia began operation as a budget carrier in December 2001 with just two aircraft. It now offers more than 100 domestic and international flights to Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The carrier’s budget concept has since been imitated by numerous other carriers in Southeast Asia and India.

But Fernandes said the region-wide network built by AirAsia has given it a headstart on competitors.

He added that sticking to the basics of keeping costs as low as possible in order to sell the market’s lowest-priced air tickets has been key to the carrier’s success.

Fernandes said A