Some good news for Indonesia’s travel industry this morning, although possibly at Malaysia’s expense: Low-cost carrier AirAsia announced it would move its regional headquarters from Kuala Lumpur to Jakarta this year, looking to capitalize on Indonesia’s much larger and increasingly wealthy consumer base.

The airline said its move won’t impact Malaysian operations, but it does challenge Malaysia’s ambitions to be a regional transit hub. AirAsia is also busy recruiting staff for its new AirAsia Singapore operation, and CEO Tony Fernandes said they would be ‘night-stopping’ aircraft in the city to meet early morning flights.

Business has been pretty good for AirAsia this year. It has 49% stakes in Thailand and Indonesia, both set to go public in 2011, and has begun a joint venture to start AirAsia Philippines. It made a RM1.1 billion (US$364 million) net profit last year, doubling that of the previous year and beating analysts’ projections of RM822 million ($272 million). It operates 105 aircraft with another 122 on order and options for 63 more. Passenger demand also continues to increase, filling 82% of available spaces.

source & article: The Malaysian Insider