AirAsia X will be meeting with Middle East airports during Routes as it looks at potential destinations to fly from its new "virtual" Abu Dhabi base. The Malaysian long-haul low-cost carrier begins five-times-weekly flights from Kuala Lumpur to Abu Dhabi in November using Airbus A340s on the route. It marks the carrier's first service to the Middle East.
AirAsia X plans to make Abu Dhabi a virtual hub, where it will not base aircraft but operate onward flights to other cities. Chief executive Azran Osman-Rani says there are various options available. "Abu Dhabi has a lot of connectivity. We are looking to fly to other places in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe from there," he says.He points to fifth freedom rights that allow it to pick up revenue passengers from Abu Dhabi."The UAE has a very liberal air services regime, and other carriers are already flying on from there. It will not be a problem for us."