AirAsia X Inaugurates Jeddah Service

Asian long-haul, low-cost carrier AirAsia X inaugurated flights between its Kuala Lumpur International Airport base and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia on February 16, 2013 to meet the growing demand for capacity between the two destinations.  Although AirAsia X has recently cut its network into Europe and the Middle East it is confident this new service will be sustainable due to the strong ethnic traffic between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, supported by religious travel requirements.

AirAsia X is initially operating a three times weekly schedule on the route but has already outlined growth plans to introduce a fourth weekly frequency from May 1, 2013.  Moving forward it says it may adjust future frequencies based on seasonality, but anticipates a strong uptake of passengers from its home market, taking advantage of its affordable low-fares to visit the major urban centre of western Saudi Arabia and its historical surroundings.

“AirAsia X is delighted to announce the launch of Jeddah, which is the fourteenth destination in our network,” said Azran Osman-Rani, Chief Executive Officer, AirAsia X.  “With Jeddah being the gateway to holy cities of Madinah and Makkah, we are delighted that our services will provide more affordable travel for our Muslim guests in Malaysia and throughout the region to perform the holy pilgrimage of Hajj and Umrah.”

“We believe that AirAsia‚Äôs wide network and favourable fare structures make cultural, heritage, recreational and shopping destinations across Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Australia and other countries in the Asia Pacific Region more accessible to guests and thus will create new travel demand from Saudi Arabia.”

Azran Osman-Rani
Chief, Executive Officer, AirAsia X

“Similarly, guests from Saudi Arabia will have the opportunity to travel across our extensive network in South East Asia and beyond. We believe that AirAsia’s wide network and favourable fare structures make cultural, heritage, recreational and shopping destinations across Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Australia and other countries in the Asia Pacific Region more accessible to guests and thus will create new travel demand from Saudi Arabia,” he added.

The market between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia has been served for many years by national carriers Malaysia Airlines and Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia).  Malaysia Airlines has served the Kuala Lumpur – Jeddah route continuously for the past four decades, while Saudia entered the Malaysian market in November 1987 and presently offers direct links to both Jeddah and Riyadh.  The arrival of AirAsia X will boost monthly capacity on the Kuala Lumpur – Jeddah city pair by 30.8 per cent and overall capacity between the two countries by 19.5 per cent.

In the table below we highlight annual capacity development between Malaysia and Saudia Arabia and the market share of the two national carriers.  The analysis shows that since 2000 there has been a 126.3 per cent increase in annual departures between the countries from 251 to 568 and a 139.0 per cent growth in capacity from 85,000 seats to over 200,000 per annum.  Malaysia Airlines had been the larger carrier on the route for much of the first half of the 2000s but since 2008 Saudia has become the dominant carrier, not more so than in 2012 when it held a 78.8 per cent share of the available seats.

SCHEDULED AIR SERVICES BETWEEN MALAYSIA AND SAUDI ARABIA (non-stop annual departures)

Year

Departures

% Change

Seat Capacity

% Change

Market Share

2000

251

-

85,241

-

Malaysia Airlines (51.4%), Saudia (48.6%)

2001

283

12.7 %

94,260

10.6 %

Malaysia Airlines (56.1%), Saudia (43.9%)

2002

342

20.8 %

110,390

17.1 %

Saudia (54.0%), Malaysia Airlines (46.0%)

2003

270

(-21.1) %

88,698

(-19.7) %

Malaysia Airlines (61.0%), Saudia (39.0%)

2004

297

10.0 %

106,935

20.6 %

Malaysia Airlines (53.3%), Saudia (46.7%)

2005

280

(-5.7) %

102,173

(-4.5) %

Malaysia Airlines (58.2%), Saudia (41.8%)

2006

299

6.8 %

106,860

4.6 %

Malaysia Airlines (54.4%), Saudia (45.6%)

2007

315

5.4 %

97,516

(-8.7) %

Malaysia Airlines (57.0%), Saudia (43.0%)

2008

398

26.3 %

120,932

24.0 %

Saudia (50.7%), Malaysia Airlines (49.3%)

2009

467

17.3 %

145,010

19.9 %

Saudia (65.3%), Malaysia Airlines (34.7%)

2010

464

(-0.6) %

142,775

(-1.5) %

Saudia (65.9%), Malaysia Airlines (34.1%)

2011

627

35.1 %

197,420

38.3 %

Saudia (58.2%), Malaysia Airlines (41.8%)

2012

568

(-9.4) %

203,758

3.2 %

Saudia (78.8%), Malaysia Airlines (21.2%)


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