KUALA LUMPUR - LONG-HAUL budget airline AirAsia X on Sunday said it hoped to launch flights to at least three destinations in Japan by year-end after Tokyo relaxed its tough visa requirements for Malaysians.
'With our new A330-300 being delivered, I hope to mount flights by end of the year to at least three destination in Japan,' chief executive officer Azran Osman-Rani told AFP.
Mr Azran said since October, Japanese officials had dropped the requirement for Malaysian travellers to show a confirmed ticket and accommodation before a visa was issued.
'We explained to the Japanese authorities how our ticket booking model works and they accepted it,' he said.
Mr Azran last July said AirAsia had to delay flying to Japan due to the tough visa rules. AirAsia was concerned over what would happen if a passenger bought a ticket online but was then refused a visa.
The three destinations are to the north (Hokkaido), Osaka and Fukuoka, he said.
An affiliate of regional low-cost carrier AirAsia and Virgin Group, AirAsia X was launched in January 2007. AirAsia and AirAsia X have common shareholders, including AirAsia founder and CEO Tony Fernandes.Richard Branson's Virgin Group has taken a 20 percent stake in the airline and the British billionaire has vowed to ensure that the project turns a profit.