Your expectation of Osaka and the Kansai region
Thank you very much for welcoming me to Osaka. It's really great to be here.
The reason why we're coming here is we see so much potential and promise.
Osaka is one of the major cities in Asia-Pacific and I think it's got a big population that wants and needs more affordable air connectivity activity to connect Osaka to the world, whether it's for tourism, trade, business, students, as well as making it easier for people in Malaysia and Southeast Asia to come to Osaka and visit Osaka.
So we see there is a lot of promise, because the number of flights, for example, from Kuala Lampur to Osaka is very few compared to other places, and that's why we're very eager to start flying to Osaka.
Your plan for the future business outlook in Japan
AirAsia as a group is a big believer in the future promise and potential of Japan.
As you know, we recently even announced a major joint venture with ANA to set up AirAsia Japan.
In less than one year we have now opened up our second long-haul route up to Tokyo and Osaka.
We thought we would do it maybe one city every one to one-and-a-half years, but now we're accelerating it because we see so much potential.
And the main thing for us that's very interesting is how much people in Southeast Asia want to come and visit Japan.
You know, normally when airlines fly here mostly it's about connecting the Japanese people to go overseas.
But actually, from our flights, a majority of our passengers are people from Asia who want to come and visit Japan.
We also are getting quite a lot of people from Japan taking the opportunity to come and have a holiday in Malaysia more affordably. But it's very encouraging to see lots of first-time visitors to Japan, and so I think there's a lot of promise here in this market.
Impressions of Japan
I've been here many, many times, both for business and pleasure.
I take my family usually every winter to go skiing in Japan.
And also for the food – you've got some of the most amazing food culture here.
Japan's very interesting because it's a blend of very traditional values, historic architecture, but it also has the most modern cities in the world in terms of high-end fashion, latest technology,so you get the best of both worlds and it's truly a fascinating destination to visit.
Introduction of AirAsia
AirAsia is the largest low-cost airline, and that means we make fares more affordable for people to fly.
We do that by using brand-new airplanes that are a lot more reliable and using the internet as a means of selling because it's much more efficient and more convenient for passengers.
So basically, people fly with us because, number one, the fares tend to be lower, usually about 30% to 50% lower; they are brand-new planes, which means they're fuel-efficient, they're more reliable, comfortable seats; and the warm and friendly Asian service.
And that's reflected in us getting the World's Best Low-Cost Airline award for three years in a row now, because people find this simple formula makes sense.
We've grown from just two airplanes, 200,000 passengers a year just ten years ago.
Now, over 100 airplanes, 30 million passengers a year, so it's a very fast growth rate because it's something that's very popular, so we're excited to bring that product and service into Japan and now today in Osaka specifically.