Budget Airlines in Malaysia and Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia Budget Airlines

Budget Airlines in Malaysia and Southeast Asia are the current trend in the last five years with similar names such as Low-Cost Airlines and Cheap Airlines.

Many companies have resorted to creating these affordable airlines to suit all walks of life, and one of the most popular ones are AirAsia which has taken the region by storm.

Budget Airlines in Malaysia 

Below is a breakdown of the budget airlines operating out of each country in no particular order. Please note that there may be new airlines that have just started and not updated here. 


Asia’s leading airline was established with the dream of making flying possible for everyone. Since 2001, AirAsia has swiftly broken travel norms worldwide and has risen to become the world’s best budget carrier.

With a route network that spans more than 25 countries, the airline continues to pave the way for low-cost aviation through innovative solutions, efficient processes and a passionate approach to business.

Together with our associate companies, AirAsiaX, Thai AirAsia and Indonesia AirAsia, AirAsia Budget Airlines is set to take low-cost flying to an all-new high the catchy tagline - "Now Everyone Can Fly".

Website: AirAsia Website


AirAsia X
Focusing on the low-cost, long-haul segment - AirAsia X was established in 2007 to provide high-frequency and point-to-point networks to the long-haul business.

AirAsia X’s efficient and reliable operations are fully licensed and monitored by Malaysian and international regulators and adhere to full international standards.

The airline is also committed to offering X-citing low fares, X-exemplary levels of safety and care, and an X-extraordinary in-flight and service experience to all our guests - spreading the amazing experience to destinations in Australia, New Zealand, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, India, the Middle East, and Europe. 

Website: Same as the main AirAsia website.

Malindo Air
Launched in March 2013, this hybrid airline, a first of its kind, will be the next budget airline to take on AirAsia.

They currently serve KL-Sabah and Sarawak for their inaugural launch and are planning to expand to more cities around Borneo.

International destinations are planned for the year-end of 2013. Many travellers are anxious to see where they will fly too. MalindoAir also flies from KLIA and soon from KLIA2 by Q3 in 2013.

Website: Malindo Air

Launched on April 3, 2007, Firefly, your community airline, is a wholly-owned Malaysian subsidiary.  Airline System Berhad (MAS).

Operating out of the Penang and Subang hubs initially and now the Main Terminal Building of Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), Firefly provides connections to various points within Malaysia, Southern Thailand, Singapore and Sumatera of Indonesia, aligning itself with the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) agenda.

Currently, it flies to 22 cities in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand.

Website: FireFly

MASwings, Malaysia's first commuter airline, was officially launched on 1 October 2007. It caters to Sarawak and Sabah's travelling population's air travel needs by providing affordable fares, convenient schedule and connections within the two states in Malaysia Borneo.

The airline also serves 21 destinations in Sabah and Sarawak, with 451 weekly flights.

Website: MasWings

Berjaya Air
Berjaya Air was formerly known as Pacific Air Charter and was incorporated on the 15th August 1989 to meet the nation's booming economy's needs.

The company today has its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport (Subang). The airline also owns and operates the DeHavilland Dash 7 aircraft. The "Dash 7", as it is commonly known in the travel industry, has a capacity of 48 seats.

With short landing or take-off (STOL) capabilities, the Dash 7 is the most suitable aircraft for destinations with short airstrips such as the ones in Tioman and Pangkor islands. Incidentally, the Dash 7 is the biggest commercial aircraft to operate in Tioman and Pangkor islands.

Update: Berjaya Air has stopped commercial operations many years back.

Website: Berjaya Air

Sabah Air
Sabah Air Aviation provides air transportation of passengers, cargo and aviation-related services in Malaysia, with Kota Kinabalu as its headquarters, allowing you to discover and experience the magical, breathtaking islands in Sabah.

Fascinating sea life, Water Villages, and white sandy beaches are among the wonders of Sabah's hidden paradises. For those who enjoy sightseeing, take your passion to another level with Sabah Air.

The Sabah Air aircraft are modified to accommodate various kinds of services, including leisure for aerial sightseeing and joyrides, commercial services such as VIP charters and filming, and industrial work.

Website: Sabah Air


JetStar Asia
Jetstar is a Qantas-backed LCC currently flying from Singapore to Bangkok, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh, Manila, Phnom Penh, Phuket, Siem Reap, Taipei, Osaka, and Yangon.

Flights to India have been terminated. Jetstar's subsidiary brand Valuair flies to Jakarta, Surabaya, Medan and Denpasar (Bali). 

Website: JetStar Asia

Silk Air
Silk Air is an airline based in Singapore. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore Airlines and operates scheduled passenger services from Singapore to 31 cities in Southeast Asia, South Asia and the People's Republic of China.

It has its head office on the fifth story of SIA Superhub. As the regional wing of Singapore Airlines, it serves 31 out of 50 short-haul destinations in the Singapore Airlines Group network.

Website: Silk Air


Bangkok Airways
Bangkok Air promotes itself as a boutique airline; it flies routes not normally covered by other airlines such as Phuket to Ko Samui, Bangkok to Ko Samui, its prices are high compared to a budget airline.

Tickets are priced around US$100 and above, but it provides services more typical of major airlines, including free beverages and snacks at the airport lounges. 

Website: Bangkok Air

Orient Thai Airways
Orient Thai flies domestic flights in Thailand and international flights to Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Seoul from both Bangkok and Phuket. They stopped flying for a while in 2008, but as of March 2009 are flying again.

Update: This airline is no longer available. 

Nok Air
Thai Airlines low-cost spinoff Nok Air took to the skies in 2004 sporting a lurid purple paint scheme with a bird's beak painted on the nose and employing a price scheme similar to that of Air Asia.

Currently, Nok Air flies from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, Phuket, Nakhon.  Si Thammarat, Udon Thani, Trang, and Loei, from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, Udon Thani, Pai, and Mae Hong Son.

Website: Nok Air

Thai Smile 
Thai Smile will start flying in July next year. The airline is characterized as a light-premium airline segmented between full-service and low-cost.

Thai Smile will operate using THAI's TG airline code with 11 Airbus A320 planes in its fleet, four slated for delivery next year.

In the first year of operation, Thai Smile will fly to Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, Khon Kaen, Chiang Rai, and Surat Thani. In 2013, the airline will begin operating short-haul international routes within Asean and to India and China.

Website: Thai Smile Airways


Merpati Air 
Merpati Nusantara flies to many destinations missed by those listed above including Nusa Tenggara, Kuala Lumpur, Papua, Maluku, and East Timor.

Merpati, like Jetstar, is technically not a discount airline, but due to its large number of short-haul routes, it must compete and therefore offers competitive pricing. 

Merpati Air sized operations on February 1, 2014.

Batavia Air (No longer in service)
Batavia Air is a low-cost airline operating an extensive domestic route network in Indonesia from their main hub in Jakarta. Currently, offer services to four international destinations - Guangzhou, Singapore, Kuching and Jeddah.

Lion Air
Lion Air flies from Jakarta to domestic destinations and Ho Chi Minh.  City, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and Singapore.

Payment can be made via many popular Indonesian ATMs. Wings Abadi Airlines are the regional feeder airline to the Lion Air national trunk routes.

Website: Lion Air

CitiLink Garuda
Garuda Citilink operates a domestic route network in Indonesia. Fares start from 125,000 Indonesian Rupiah ($15).

This subsidiary of Garuda Airlines accepts credit card purchases online or at its call centre, as well as payment via a limited number of ATMs in Indonesia or directly at their office in Jakarta.
Website: CitiLink Airline

Sriwijaya Air
Sriwijaya Air is one of the Indonesian domestic leading airlines. It carries over 500,000 passengers per month, from its hub at Soekarno Hatta International Airport to more than 35 destinations in 2 regional countries, including extraordinary and popular tourism spots in Indonesia.

Sriwijaya Air serves 37 destinations: 35 domestic destinations and 2 international destinations (Penang and Singapore). At the recent Paris Air Show 2011, the airline announced that they agreed to buy 20 Embraer 190 jets, with purchase rights of 10 more.

Website: Sriwijaya Air


The above are various low-cost airlines that service most sectors in the region. Some of them fly in from long haul flights while most of the service the less popular towns in each country.

Though many other new airlines may have started, they have not been included in this list.

For those backpackers looking for cheap flights in Southeast Asia, this list will come in handy. At the same time, most general travellers will usually take advantage of these Budget Airlines' promotional fares in Malaysia and Southeast Asia.

Malaysia Asia

Blogging since 2007, but writing online since 1997. I belong to the 1st generation of worldwide bloggers, which is of course old-school. Since 2008, I created Malaysia Asia and this travel, flood, gadget and lifestyle blog has won numerous physical awards from tourism boards around Malaysia. (Not those online awards). After 12 years of blogging, I have semi-retired and now blog about things I like, do product reviews and enjoy life. My work has been featured in Lonely Planet, CNN Travel, Yahoo Travel, Wall Street Journal, and many other international publications. Find out more about me and thank you.


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