The world's leading long haul low cost carrier to touch down in Abu Dhabi in November
Abu Dhabi strengthens connections between Middle East and South East Asia
Abu Dhabi, UAE, 19 August 2009: Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) today welcomed AirAsia X's imminent arrival in the UAE capital, as the world's leading long haul low fare airline announced its new Kuala Lumpur - Abu Dhabi route.
Following industry rumours and press speculation surrounding AirAsia X's first destination in the Middle East, the carrier today confirmed its commitment to Abu Dhabi at a press conference in the UAE capital. The inaugural flight will touch down in Abu Dhabi on 23 November 2009 at 01:30, and depart for the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur again at 02:55 the same day.
The new route will enhance Abu Dhabi's already strong connectivity to South East Asia - one of the Emirate's largest markets- and beyond, with five flights per week. There is currently a Malaysian population of 3,200 in the UAE, and wider South East Asian and Oceanian population of 566,700, according to national embassies in the UAE. As expatriate residents in UAE are entitled to at least one return ticket to their country of origin, and many travel more frequently, there is a strong market for the low cost carrier.
Abu Dhabi is the airline's eighth long haul destination and its first destination in the Middle East. The route will be served by an Airbus A340-300 configured for 256 seats in economy cabin and 30 Premium seats on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
This new route, which is due to begin in mid-November this year, will help to enhance the Emirate's connectivity to the Far East and beyond.
ADAC is very focused on the resident population and on the needs of the local community, and it is apparent that there is a large market for this low cost carrier. South East Asia is one of our largest markets, with 2008 statistics showing a 24 per cent increase in origin and destination passengers from Abu Dhabi to this region. Kuala Lumpur is the third most popular destination and a convenient entry point to the rest of the South East Asia.
Mohammed Al Bulooki, Vice President of Airline Marketing and Aeronautical Revenue, ADAC
"Abu Dhabi aims to increase its reputation as the capitals' airport, and we continue to increase connectivity and the range and breadth of services we offer to our local community, as well as our customers from further afield.
"We are delighted with the AirAsia X business concept that stimulates travellers from Asia to visit the UAE, offering increased access to the culture and hospitality of Abu Dhabi, in particular opening up opportunities for Islamic tourism between our two nations. There is also the potential economic benefit to the Emirate that comes with passengers travelling at bargain rates, potentially having increased spending power as they experience the UAE".
AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman-Rani said:
"We are ecstatic with our first long haul route into the Middle East from Kuala Lumpur. This clearly indicates that our expansion plans are on track which represents our determination in providing truly low fares on our long-haul, low fare services across the globe. We believe our low fares will help to stimulate and trigger new travel demand, and will help to boost tourism potential on both ends. This is part of our overall strategy in expanding into the Middle East. We see an untapped market which has strong economic potential for the route. Abu Dhabi is the largest city in UAE, with a population of 2 million - in which more than 80% of the populations are frequent traveling expatriates. Hence, we foresee an increasing trend of UAE travelers flying to Malaysia for holidays; tapping into a very lucrative market. There will also be potential demand from Malaysian and ASEAN travelers who dream to experience the wonders of the Middle East for the first time, as it is now so affordable to do so."
"There is no better way than to have low fares to get travelers from Abu Dhabi and the region to see the multi-color cultures of Malaysia, exciting shopping and sample gastronomic cuisines. More importantly, many in the UAE can now come through Kuala Lumpur to connect and feed on AirAsia's incredible route network to ASEAN, India, China, Australia and Europe where we boast to have the biggest connections in South East Asia. AirAsia is committed and poised to position Malaysia as Asia's biggest low cost hub," concludes Azran.
Kuala Lumpur is currently the third largest origin and destination market in South East Asia for the UAE, and a popular entry point to the rest of the South East Asian region. The new route will support the strong demand in both countries for leisure, Islamic tourism and business travel.
AirAsia X launched in 2007 with four weekly flights between Kuala Lumpur and the Gold Coast in Australia. The airline has since extended its network to cover Perth and Melbourne in Australia, Tianjin (Beijing) and Hangzhou (Shanghai) in China, Taipei in Taiwan, and London, UK. It now operates a fleet of five aircraft: three Airbus A330-300 and two Airbus A340-300 with firm orders for another 33 aircraft.