HK listing and new plane orders for AirAsia?
AIRASIA is studying a dual listing in Hong Kong, part of plans to become a pan-Asian, low-cost airline player as it also moves towards setting up a joint venture in China, people familiar with the matter said on Sunday.
The Malaysia-based group is also looking for more aircraft to meet strong demand in North Asia and elsewhere, the sources added on the eve of Britain's Farnborough Airshow.
Asia's largest low-cost airline group, which has affiliates across South-east Asia, aims to form the venture with the backing of a Chinese state-owned enterprise to help capture traffic from fast-growing secondary and tertiary cities.
Co-founder and chief executive Tony Fernandes referred to the potential dual listing without naming a location and hinted at a potential new aircraft order in remarks posted on his Twitter account on Sunday.
The airline group is talking to Chinese banks and potential shareholders, including China Everbright Bank, a source said.
Expansion into the world's fastest growing aviation market comes as China edges towards overtaking mature Western air travel markets despite recent slowing economic growth.
It also comes as AirAsia rebounds from recent turbulence due to lower oil prices and as Mr Fernandes and his partner put in additional investment and take greater control of the business.
The share price fell sharply last year amid negative reports about its finances but has rallied sharply since then.
A Hong Kong listing could help to raise the company's profile, coming on the heels of the flotation there of aviation lessor BOC Aviation, and allow it to raise new capital.
Reporting a near six-fold jump in quarterly profit in May, Mr Fer-nandes said demand from Chinese travellers had recovered.
The airline also sees broad demand in markets like South Korea and Japan and has said it is bullish on India after the country recently eased regulations on the growth of young airlines.