AirAsia reports strong demand on London to Kuala Lumpur route one year after launch
This time last year AirAsia, Asia’s leading low cost airline, made headlines by launching a long-haul, low-cost service between London and Malaysia in the midst of a recession. One year on and the airline is today celebrating the success of the route, which has consistently achieved higher than 80% load factor and carried over 221,000 passengers so far.
Spurred on by tighter purse strings, Brits have been enjoying the low fares on AirAsia’s long haul route between Stansted and Kuala Lumpur, which are typically 40 per cent cheaper than most full service carriers.
The route out of Stansted has cemented Kuala Lumpur as a regional hub for Asia, with a strong trend of passengers connecting to AirAsia’s comprehensive route network. The top five destinations Brits are heading to with AirAsia are Bali , Bangkok , Phuket , Hong Kong and Singapore from as low as £5 and many more are flying on to Australia for as little as £30 one-way during promotional periods.
Unprecedented demand for the route will see the frequency of flights increase from seven times to nine times per week for its peak periods in summer 2010 – July, August and September and winter 2010 - December and January. Other developments include the introduction of lie flat seats in AirAsia’s premium cabin - a world first for a budget airline.
AirAsia X CEO, Azran Osman-Rani, said: “AirAsia has once again proved those who said it couldn’t be done wrong. We have seen surging demand on the London to Kuala Lumpur route despite 2009 being one the toughest years for the aviation industry. Consumers are switching on to the fact that they can take the holiday of their dreams in exotic destinations across South East Asia and Australia for much less than ever before.”
“We have noticed a strong trend in passengers connecting to multiple destinations in our route network via the Kuala Lumpur hub. Its part of a new trend in multi-destination holidays where Brits want to see as much as they can in that part of the world in the short space of time they have. For example, guests are starting at the bustling Kuala Lumpur for shopping, then on to a relaxing beach holiday in Phuket and finishing up in Angkor Wat (Seam Reap) for adventure activities. The kangaroo routes to Gold Coast, Perth, and Melbourne have also proved extremely popular.” added Azran.
AirAsia saw an incredible response from the British public a year ago when it launched its London – KL route, with the promotional fares it offered from as low as £99. Over 12,000 seats were sold out within the first 12 hours of the flights going on sale.
Last year was not the first time AirAsia has beaten the odds. Tony Fernandes, Group CEO of AirAsia, originally bought the airline for a token 25p from the Malaysian government back in 2001, taking on around £4m of its debt. The airline came with two old Boeing 737s, four routes and was losing about £500,000 a month. Even the collapse of the twin towers in 2001, which created a slow down in global air travel, did not deter the trail blazing airline. Now AirAsia has a fleet of 91 aircraft, over 130 routes, and has carried from 200,000 guests to over 85 million guests within a short span of 8 years.
Speaking about AirAsia’s boost to Stansted Airport, Nick Barton, London Stansted's Commercial & Development Director, said: "As we anticipated, the Stansted-Kuala Lumpur service has proved to be extremely popular with passengers, both in the UK and across Asia. They have helped revolutionise long-haul travel and we are very proud to have them with us here at Stansted.
"AirAsia is a multi-award winning airline with a superb reputation for service excellent and value for money, and with very ambitious growth plans for the future. We look forward to working with them for many years to come as they develop their services here at Stansted."
AirAsia has won a string of industry awards including Skytrax 2009 “World’s Best Low Cost Airline”, “Airline of The Year 2009” by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) and “Best Newcomer” at the 2008 Budgie World Low-Cost Airline Awards.
To date, AirAsia via its long haul affiliate AirAsia X offers international flights to Gold Coast, Perth and Melbourne in Australia, Hangzhou (Shanghai), Tianjin (Beijing), Taipei (Taiwan), Chengdu in China, Mumbai and Delhi in India covering destinations which are more than four hours in flight duration from Kuala Lumpur. The international network complements the AirAsia domestic network of over 130 routes throughout ASEAN, China, India and Bangladesh. Via AirAsia’s 9 major hubs in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Kota Kinabalu; Malaysia, Bangkok and Phuket; Thailand and Jakarta, Bandung, Bali and Surabaya; Indonesia, passengers can enjoy unparalleled access to destinations throughout Asia.