Wednesday, July 29, 2009

AirAsia X to name new flight destinations

29 July 2009

PETALING JAYA: AirAsia X will today announce some new destinations it will be flying to in the coming months in its quest to expand.

“We are not going to slow down just because we have not get approval yet to fly into Sydney and Seoul. We will add more flights and services and continue with our expansion,’’ AirAsia X chief executive officer Azran Osman-Rani told StarBiz yesterday.

Several weeks ago, AirAsia X had asked for rights from the Government to fly into Sydney and Seoul as these markets offered good growth potential for the carrier.

However, in an interview with StarBiz which was published yesterday, Azran said “the Government decided to defer granting us the approval. They want (AirAsia) to settle (its) dues with Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB).’’

“It is unfortunate that we are brought into the AirAsia issue but we have written (to the Government) and explained that our accounts are all current,’’ he had said. AirAsia owes MAHB RM65mil in airport service charges. AirAsia and AirAsia X have common shareholders.

Maybank Investment Bank senior analyst Khair Mirza said it was unusual for the Government to withhold approval for the reasons quoted.

“It suggests that there may be more issues than those quoted and there could be reciprocation issues as well,’’ Khair said.

Another analyst said AirAsia X should just go ahead with its expansion into other markets as there were many more destinations that offered equally exciting opportunities as Seoul and Sydney.

The likely markets that AirAsia X will fly to with the three new aircraft it will be taking delivery of this year are speculated to be the Middle East, particularly Abu Dhabi, and China. It is likely to increase frequency on its flights to Melbourne, Perth, Gold Coast, Taipei and Hangzhou.

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