What is Air Asia X playing at?

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  • Anonymous


    After reading the story on BT today about Air Asia X withdrawing London and Paris services, I think I have an idea why.

    MAS also operates those routes!

    Well done Malaysia for destroying all competition and customer choice. But actually the fares weren’t great either, Emirates is consistently cheaper than both Air Asia and Malaysian Airlines on the same route.

    If they end routes to Europe, it may well be the beginning of the end for them. But frankly, with such high fares I did not see them succeeding against the full service Heathrow based competition. Bring on Scoot!


    Whilst I have not flown them long-haul from LON- KUL, I have used them when hopping around Europe and generally a good (low cost) airline. I have been hoping that they would improve/encourage competition on the LON – KUL route.


    How can you compete when you own its shares and have a say in corporate decisions?

    Hello Hengli123,

    Glad you found the news item of interest. We just wanted to point out that Air Asia X has not officially confirmed it will cease flying to London Gatwick and Paris Orly. But we thought the news coming out of Malaysia was important enough to be brought to the attention of our readers, some of whom may have been intending to visit Malaysia next year.

    We must stress that Air Asia X handles the long-haul routes while Air Asia operates the shorter regional flights within the region. Each airline has its own fleet of planes. Air Asia itself is a large and flourishing carrier, rather like the Easyjet we know in Europe.

    By the way, “Danwolf” refers to having used Air Asia X “when hopping around Europe.” We guess he or she is referring to Air Asia’s regional flights within Asia itself.

    We will bring you more information when it becomes available.

    Alex McWhirter


    I think that if this news is indeed confirmed it goes to show that low cost just doesn’t work for long haul.

    Anyone remember Hong Kong based Oasis?

    Low cost airlines typically are able to charge low fares and turn a profit by literally squeezing all the juice out of its resources. By resources I mean the aircraft and crew.

    An airline is only profitable while its planes are in the air. And the locos exploit this. For example Ryanair and Easyjet are able to fit in an extra two to three sectors per day with each aircraft versus BA shorthaul. Thats an extra 400-600 fares per day plus all the auxillary charges and profits from sarnies and coffee they earn from said fares. How? They have 15-20minute turn around times. They do not operate from congested airports where holding and waiting for the gate is the main. They don’t have to wait for cleaners to come on board at each port to clean the aircraft. Same with caterers. They don’t have to time their schedules to feed long haul flights at hubs, often incurring poor aircraft utilization. They literally touch down in quiet airports, scram onto a parking stand, steps/jetty attached, pax off, pax on, push back, take off. The same applies to their crew. Where as a BA shorthaul crewmember typically flies 2-4 sectors per day Ryanair and Easyjet can fly six.

    So what does this have to do with Low Cost longhaul?

    Well, none of the above cost savings are achieved with long haul flights. Air Asia X can not squeeze in any more longhaul sectors with fare paying punters than MH can. They cannot squeeze any more working hours out of their crews on a daily basis as legal minimum rest periods are required. At each destination the aircraft has to be cleaned and catered. The only real cost benefit they are achieving is lower cost staff, more bums on seats due to denser aircraft configurations and auxillary charges such as baggage and meals on board.

    Air Asia X obviously doesn’t make a penny on the ridiculously low economy promotion fares they sometimes offer. They were obviously hopeful that their flat bed Premium product would bring in the beans. And while Air Asia X has a GREAT premium product, the value just isn’t there. The typical advance purchased Premium fare is around £700-£900 each way to KUL out of LGW. It is not much more expensive or indeed sometimes cheaper to be pampered with lounges and superior on board service as well as FF miles and fly via the middle east on the Gulf carriers.


    For the past few years Air Asia X has been talking about restarting Kuala Lumpur-London services.

    But, rather like Ryanair’s previous transatlantic ambitions, nothing happened.

    In January it was revealed by aviation consultancy CAPA and by the Swiss website CH-Aviation that a June launch was a possibility. The plan was for AirAsiaX to operate the London route with a couple of leased B777-300ERs.


    Its current aircraft do not have the ability to fly nonstop to London with a full load of passengers.

    But this plan has again been postponed.

    Quoted today by industry publication ATW, AirAsiaX CEO Benyamin Ismail said that the carrier would see if Airbus could advance delivery of new A350s which it had on order.


    Even that were possible any long-haul route launch would still be over a year away.


    Maybe they retained the traffic rights and all permissions and even slots, because they stopped the London flights themselves ‘though probably only get A350s early if another airline has delayed their order?

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