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Malaysia Airlines defends government's position on AirAsia X's new routes

3-May-2010 11:02 AM

Malaysia Airlines Managing Director and CEO, Azmil Zahruddin, defended the Malaysian Government’s decision to delay the approval of rights for AirAsia X to operate to Sydney and other destinations, stating the LCC is only interested in Malaysia Airlines’ routes, rather than launching new routes (The Star Online, 01-May-2010). Mr Zahruddin stated AirAsia X has received rights from the government to operate to a number of new destinations, but is yet to launch these services as it recognises that it takes some time for a route to become profitable. According to MAS, destinations AirAsia X has rights to operate to include Amritsar, Bahrain, Berlin, Busan, Cheongju, Dublin, Manchester, Moscow, Paris, Sharjah, Tianjin, Vienna and Xian. Mr Zahruddin also argued against the LCC's claims it generates significant inbound tourism to the country, stating the majority of its passengers are transit passengers. The CEO also called for a clear framework for the country’s aviation sector, to ensure Kuala Lumpur International Airport becomes a regional hub.

Malaysia Airlines:
“If AirAsia X is serious about providing customers “with choices”, it should fly to new destinations. There are 34 or more new destinations that currently do not have direct flights from KL. All these destinations are within the range of AirAsia X’s A330-300s. AirAsia X has been lobbying the Malaysian Government saying that it deserves to get the rights to fly to any destination because it has bought so many aircraft. Yet, it is not willing to consider any of these 34 cities because it claims that these cities do not make economic sense…AirAsia X is not keen to operate to these new destinations as it is well aware that it takes years of investment to make a route profitable…In the long run, it is good for the country and gives consumers more choice…If AirAsia X is really serious about “choices for the people”, it will fly to destinations where it has the rights to. But the reality is that AirAsia X is only interested in MAS’ routes. Is this then in the best interest of the country?,” Azmil Zahruddin, Managing Director and CEO. Source: The Star Online, 01-May-2010.