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Although now designated a budget airline Air Asia is one of Asia's largest airlines with subsidiary airlines in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.
AirAsia began operations in November 1996. Originally founded by a government-owned conglomerate, it was bought in December 2001 by former Time Warner executive Tony Fernandes's company Tune Air Sdn Bhd for the token sum of one ringgit (about £0.15 at the time) due to large debts. Fernandes turned the company around by offering budget-priced flights, producing a profit in 2002 as well as launching new routes from its hub in Kuala Lumpur, undercutting former monopoly operator Malaysia Airlines with promotional fares as low as MYR 1 (£0.20).
AirAsia opened a second hub at Senai International Airport near Singapore in 2003 and launched its first international flight to Bangkok. It has since established a Thai subsidiary, added Singapore itself to the destination list and started flights to Indonesia. Flights to Macau began in June 2004, and flights to mainland China (Xiamen) and the Philippines (Manila) in April 2005. Shortly afterwards flights to Vietnam and Cambodia followed in the last quarter of 2005 and to Brunei and Myanmar in 2006, the latter by Thai AirAsia.
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