Air Asia Berhad is a low-cost airline based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It operates scheduled domestic and international flights and is Asia's largest low fare, no frills airline. AirAsia pioneered low cost travelling in Asia. It is also the first airline in the region to implement fully ticketless travel and unassigned seats. Its main base is the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Its affliate airlines Thai AirAsia and Indonesia AirAsia fly from Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand and Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Indonesia, respectively.
The airline was established in 1993 and started operations on 18 November 1996. It was originally founded by a government-owned conglomerate DRB-Hicom. On December 2, 2001, the heavily-indebted airline was purchased by former Time Warner executive Tony Fernandes's company Tune Air Sdn Bhd for the token sum of one ringgit. Fernandes proceeded to engineer a remarkable turnaround, turning a profit in 2002 and launching new routes from its hub in Kuala Lumpur International Airport at breakneck speed, undercutting former monopoly operator Malaysia Airlines with promotional fares as low as RM1 (US $0.27).
On 27 March 2006, the Government of Malaysia announced that AirAsia will take over 96 non-trunk routes, in addition to 19 domestic trunk routes. This was part of Malaysia Airlines route rationalization programme which saw a large number of its domestic sectors being transferred to AirAsia from 1 August 2006.
On September 2007, AirAsia's Kuala Lumpur hub is fully operated with A320s while Thai AirAsia received its first Airbus A320 in October 2007. Indonesia AirAsia will receive its first Airbus by January 2008.
On April 5, 2007, AirAsia announced a three-year partnership with the British Formula One team AT&T Williams. The airline brand is displayed on the helmets of Nico Rosberg and Alexander Wurz, and on the bargeboards and nose of the cars.
Another Malaysia-based low-cost airline is Malaysian Airlines wholly-owned subsidiary,Firefly . Established in 2007, it operates a fleet of Fokker Friendship F50s and ATR 72s, the latter meant to replace the former.