Wednesday, September 19, 2007

AirAsia X going to London

Long-haul low-cost carrier, AirAsia X, is expected to launch its maiden flight to Standsted, London, by end of next year, says its chief executive officer Azran Osman Rani.

Speaking to reporters after the welcoming reception for AirAsia’s Airbus A330-300 here yesterday, he said the company had already secured the landing rights for the London destination and would fly on a daily basis using the A340.

“If all goes well, we should be ready to launch the UK route by end-2008 and commence sales and bookings in February,” he said, adding that the two A340 aircraft would arrive in October and November next year.

Azran said the company planned to fly to Australia and China by end of next month with the arrival of its first leased long-haul A330-300 aircraft at the KL International Airport’s low-cost carrier terminal last Sunday.

Flying start: AirAsia’s first leased Airbus A330-300 will be used to service the Australia and China routes as early as next month.
The aircraft, named Semangat Sir Freddie, is a tribute to the pioneer of the low-cost model, the late Sir Freddie Laker. It is on six-year lease from Ansett Worldwide Services.

It complements AirAsia X’s purchase of 15 A330s announced earlier. The aircraft will be delivered over five years starting from September 2008.

Azran said the A330-300 delivered yesterday would alternate between Australia and China.

“We plan to have at least five flights to China a week and four a week to Australia,” he said, adding that the landing rights for China and Australia had been secured.

He said AirAsia X was also poised to extend services to India, South Korea, West Asia and Japan with fares on average 50% lower than full-service carriers.

He said the company was considering listing on Bursa Malaysia within three years.

Meanwhile, founder director of AirAsia and group chief executive officer of AirAsia Bhd, Datuk Tony Fernandes, said AirAsia X was also looking to buy Boeing 787s or Airbus 350s for its long-haul routes.

“B787 is real. I’m going to Seattle to talk with the Boeing chief executive officer next week.

“We will be foolish not to talk to Boeing. But the A350 is an obvious choice. The Airbus has an advantage but the question is, ‘when can we get the planes?’,” he said

Source : STAR
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