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AirAsia says it will resume Europe flights with A350-900 in 2015

Tony Fernandes in Toulouse for his 100th A320: photo Australian Aviation magazine

Air Asia founder and CEO Tony Fernandes said in Toulouse today (Thursday)  that he would reconnect Australia to Europe with long haul flights by his Air Asia X brand in 2015 as an early user of the yet to fly Airbus A350-900.

Fernandes was at the Airbus multiplex to take delivery of his 100th A320, and hinted that before the day was over he might have lifted his total orders for the jet from its present tallyof 375.

Earlier this year Air Asia X discontinued its A340 flights to Paris and London from Kuala Lumpur, but expanded its A330-300 flights within SE Asia, including opening a new service between Sydney and the Malaysia capital in April.

The A350s will fit economy passengers into a cabin with 10 across seating, one more per row than standard A350s, just as his A330s fit in nine across seating where the standard is eight across. A premium cabin with sleepers would undercut whatever price for a similar product was being asked by legacy carriers.

Asked about the end of discussions with Qantas for a proposed premium single aisle carrier based in Malaysia  involving the participation of Air Asia and Malaysia Airlines, Fernandes said he had very good relations with Qantas CEO Alan Joyce but “I will no longer have a 20% stake in Malaysia Airlines.”

Airbus graphic of an A350-900 in Air Asia X livery

Fernandes was upbeat about his prolonged pursuit of permissions to set up a new Singapore hub and division to compete directly with Jetstar Asia, Tiger Airways and Scoot.

“I would love to set up a hub in Singapore but the government there won’t allow it,” he said.

“However it took me seven years to get Singapore-Kuala Lumpur flights allowed, and I will keep pressing for the Singapore hub until I get it.”

Fernandes said  Air Asia was already the second largest airline by numbers of flights in Singapore after Singapore Airlines, which he said in apparent jest that he intended to buy one day, and emphasised was larger than Jetstar, Tiger and SilkAir.

Fernandes said Air Asia would remain profitable until oil reached $US 150 per barrel.

He said he believed the broad spectrum approach to service standards by traditional carriers like Singapore Airlines was failing and that the market will polarise around the opposites of a premium carriers and low cost carriers with very little inbetween.

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  • 1
    Rebecca Dunstan
    Posted May 25, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Looking forward to bringing back Europe flights through Air Asia. We took advantage of $900 return flights to London in 2011, opening up a world that would be unknown to us otherwise.

  • 2
    Last name First name
    Posted May 27, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Spare a thought for the tens of thousands of people who AirAsia have left stranded. Why does the Australian government allow a Malaysian airline that is clearly lacking funds to meet operational expenses and/or refund thousands of passengers after cancelling its French, Indian, UK and NZ routes – and leaving passengers stranded – to continue to operate in this country? Only a month or so back, it cut its NZ routes and stated that passengers must get to Australia out of their own pocket if they wish to get the continued flight to KL. And we are welcoming this broken down operator into Australia? http://airasiaannus.blogspot.com/2012/03/airasia-trading-while-insolvent-govt.html Lastly, how good do you think their safety/maintenance can be when they are clearly broke? I’m sure Mr Ben could cast some light on that.

    Kind regards, Adilah

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