AirAsia X reportedly received verbal approval from the Malaysian Transport Ministry last week to launch Kuala Lumpur-Incheon service (Business Times, 15-Apr-2010). CEO, Azran Osman-Rani, stated the carrier is yet to receive written approval for the route, which it plans to operate daily with A330 equipment.
- Sydney and Jeddah services: The LCC is also seeking to launch services to Sydney and Jeddah, although it is yet to receive rights. Saudi Government has stated it is willing to grant AirAsia X rights to operate five to six times weekly service. The carrier plans to take delivery of three A330s this year to expand to these destinations, with a further 17 to be delivered from 2011 to 2015;
- Other destinations: The carrier plans to launch further services to Europe in 2015, when it commences taking delivery of A350 aircraft.
AirAsia X: “We can help to redress the shrinkage of tourist arrivals from Seoul into Malaysia, which shrank by some 15 per cent last year over 2008… One of the reasons cited was since MAS [Malaysia Airlines] was asked to buy the A380 jets by the government, they need the Sydney route to be protected. Allegedly, we are also only bringing in transit passengers. However, tourist arrivals from Australia grew by 25% last year in comparison to the previous year based on the Tourism Ministry data. MAS did not add a single flight into Australia last year, but instead cut capacity. So how do you get such a stellar growth?” Azran Osman-Rani, CEO. Source: Business Times, 15-Apr-2010.