Tuesday, January 24, 2017

AirAsia X wins approval for US flights

AirAsia X has been granted final approval to begin operating to the US, likely opening the way for the Malaysia-based low-cost carrier (LCC) to launch Hawaii flights.

The airline stressed the clearances from US regulators allow it to “operate to any destination” there. AirAsia X said it is “currently considering flights to several US states, including Hawaii, as part of its route expansion plans.”

AirAsia X Group CEO Kamarudin Meranun described the development as a “major milestone” for the LCC. “Our expansion until now has concentrated on Asia, Australasia and the Middle East, and we are excited about our first foray into an entirely new market as we look beyond [the] Asia-Pacific [region],” he said.

The carrier has previously stated its intention to serve Hawaii. In September, the airline confirmed that it planned to launch flights from Kuala Lumpur to Honolulu in the first quarter of 2017, assuming it gained the necessary approvals. At that time, the airline said it intended to use Osaka, Japan, as a stopover for this service.

AirAsia X operates Airbus A330s.

Philippine carrier Cebu Pacific is another Asian LCC that is interested in serving Hawaii. Both Cebu and AirAsia X originally planned to begin Honolulu flights in 2016, but delayed their plans. Cebu already serves the US territory of Guam.

AirAsia X also stated it is looking to resume flights to London and is “working towards securing the necessary approvals” for such a flight. AirAsia group executives have previously said AirAsia X could either wait until late 2018, when it begins receiving A330neos, or operate a one-stop route to London using its existing fleet.

AirAsia X previously flew to two European destinations (London and Paris) using Airbus A340s, before discontinuing the routes in 2012.

(Adrian Schofield - ATWOnline News)

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