Ever since this Malaysian airline retreated from Europe in 2012 it has mooted on several occasions that it would return.
Today Reuters reports that a return could be on the cards in just a few months.
No definite start date has been announced but this time Air Asia X would operate Kuala Lumpur to London Gatwick via Dubai.
It would deploy an A330 and, as previously, it’s likely to be two-class (economy and ‘business’ class).
Reuters reports Air Air Asia X wants to take advantage of “growing demand as travel curbs are lifted.”
When this low-cost carrier (LCC) last served Europe (London Gatwick and Paris Orly) it operated non-stop.
So why the Dubai stop now?
Former Air Asia X CEO Azran Osman-Rani stated in 2012 (at the time his airline abandoned Europe) that the “sweet spot” for long-haul flying was a sector or around eight hours.
Therefore it will not have escaped readers’ attention that sectors London-Dubai and Dubai-Kuala Lumpur are roughly the same flight length.
It also means Air Asia X would be able to tap two traffic flows (KL-Dubai and Dubai-London) assuming regulatory approval is granted.
It is understood that the airline has already gained slots at London Gatwick this winter for a daily service.
Current CEO Benyamin Ismail told Reuters:
“We remain confident. We want to go back to pre-Covid capacity.
“It will take time. We have to be profitable first.”
Air Asia X will have a tough job on its hands especially as it will not be flying non-stop London-SE Asia.
Yes I realise it’s a LCC and its fares will be keen. But Air Asia X is no-frills product in economy class and it will be competing against those powerful Gulf airlines.
The latter offer a full service product, usually at competitive fares, and from additional departure points.
Besides London Air Asia X is also looking to fly Kuala Lumpur-Istanbul.