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Air Asia X launches Stansted-KL flights

Published: 25/11/2008 - Filed under: News »

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Low-cost long-haul carrier Air Asia X has finally announced the launch of flights from London Stansted to Kuala Lumpur, with lead-in fares starting from £99 one-way including taxes.

Announcing what Tony Fernandes, the ebullient founder of Air Asia X called “the worst kept secret in the airline industry” (see online news July 30), the Malaysia-based airline will commence five-times weekly flights on March 11, using Airbus A340-300 aircraft configured for 286 passengers.

The carrier says it will look to increase this to a daily service “in the near future”, and indeed Fernandes said he believed the carrier could eventually serve the route with “five to seven daily flights”.

Tickets will start from £99 each way inclusive of taxes and charges, and when Business Traveller checked today “Promo” economy fares were available at this price on most days in March and April next year. This compares with a return fare in the region of £650 with Malaysia Airlines during the same period.

To enable it to charge such low prices, Air Asia X charges for “extras” including in-flight food, amenity kits, checked baggage and advanced seat selection. The A340-300 aircraft will be configured with 256 economy seats (with a seat pitch of 32 inches) and 30 “XL” seats (60-inch pitch), which the carrier says will offer “the spaciousness and comfort equivalent to business class seat[s] on legacy carriers' without the extra frills like check-in desks and airport lounges”. Fares for the XL seats will start from £549 each way, and Fernandes said he was “keen on putting in flat beds” in the future.

Fernandes said that Air Asia X would offer travellers onward connections across Asia with its established sister short-haul airline Air Asia, although through checking of baggage would not be possible until the carrier moves to the forthcoming Low Cost Carrier Terminal at Kuala Lumpur International airport  (KLIA) later next year. He added that while no formal links have been established with low-cost carriers such as Ryanair to offer onward travel for European-bound travellers, Stansted was picked “because of its great low-cost connectivity across Europe”.

Asked why he believed the low-cost, long-haul concept would work, following the demise of no-frills carrier Oasis Hong Kong Airlines earlier this year (see online news April 9), Fernandes said that (unlike Oasis), Air Asia was an established brand with 86 planes and a hub at KLIA. He added that Air Asia X’s routes to Australia’s Gold Coast airport (commenced in November 2007) disproved the theory that “you can’t charge for food on long-haul flights”, and said that one of the major differences between the carrier and other unsuccessful low-cost long-haul airlines would be the ability to feed into the short-haul network at KLIA.

London is the carrier’s fifth long-haul destination, after the Gold Coast, Perth, Melbourne and Hangzhou (around 100 miles southwest of Shanghai). For more information visit airasia.com.

Report by Mark Caswell

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COMMENTS » 

Derrick - 28/11/2008 09:40

Interested in flights to Perth Australia in July / August 2009

AMcWhirter - 29/11/2008 18:06

What you must remember is that Air Asia is a budget airline and, just like Easyjet and Ryanair, it does not through-check passengers and baggage.

In other words for a trip to Perth you will have to book two separate tickets, one ticket for London-KL and the other ticket for KL-Perth.

Connections may not be convenient so you may have to allow for a stopover in KL.

Whether the cost of both Air Asia tickets will be less than what the likes of BA, QF or SIA charge will depend on factors like, a) the dates when you travel, b) whether or not the afore-mentioned carriers are running a seat sale at the time and c) whether or not you need a one-way or return trip.

Gebucolin - 02/12/2008 11:41

I have been trying to Book a Cheap flight to KL on Air Asia (£99!!) now its £220 O.W. plus charges --so the £99 was just a come on for a few seats its seems-hope I am wrong Can anyone advise me? If you ca -- thanks (Tues 2nd Dec)

maxynews - 14/03/2009 02:42

Its great that Air Asia are offering competition on this sector. I still have problems with their customer service. Its lacking. They need some help to encourage repeat business. There are only so many people they can disappoint.

http://airasiareviews.blogspot.com/

BristolBabe - 22/04/2009 14:15

Great price but It'll be better when / if they get the planned flatbeds - I hope this goes ahead. KL is a long way from Stanstead without a decent night's sleep.

fortis10 - 15/10/2009 01:42

Their 60-inch pitch seats caused me a slipped disc. I won't travel again until they offer flatbed.

mahzan69 - 01/04/2010 03:37

I considered myself as a low income person, a Malaysian Government servant with a salary of RM 4 thousands monthly. Through air asia (thanks to Mr Tony Fernandez), I'm able to bring 12 my family members to visit London from 14 March to 19 March 2010. I just want to give suggestion for Air Asia to provide flight route during the flight especially from Standstedt to LCCT because especially Muslim Passengers we have to do our prayer even inside the plane. But we can't because there is no flight route available. For Mr Tony information, muslim has to pray when the time comes eventhough we are above the land. If we know flight route, we can predicted the prayer time example if we are above Turkey we will observe the praying time of Turkey.Hope my recommendation is fulfilled, we don't mind to pay extra charges for flight route and if possible you also can provide us the praying time of each nation that we cross.

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