Saturday, May 1, 2010

AirAsia X wins rights to Seoul

16 April 2010

It may launch inaugural flight in October to coincide with 50 years of diplomatic relations

PETALING JAYA: After a tough fight that lasted almost a year, AirAsia X won rights to fly seven times a week to Seoul, a core route that the airline had been pinning its hopes on for a long time.

AirAsia X has not decided on a firm date to begin mounting the flights as a lot of groundwork needs to be done but it may be looking to launch the inaugural flight sometime in October to coincide with when the South Korean premier is in Malaysia to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations between South Korea and Malaysia.

AirAsia X bosses are thrilled with the Government’s change of heart in acceding to their request and hope they will, in the same manner, one day be flying to Sydney.

»We will keep pushing for Sydney rights because there is a demand out there« AZRAN OSMAN-RANI

Seoul and Sydney are among the core routes that the airline hopes to secure besides Tokyo, Jeddah and several others.

“We will keep pushing for Sydney rights because there is a demand out there. It is sad that many Malaysians are still flying to Sydney via Singapore,” AirAsia X chief executive officer Azran Osman-Rani told StarBiz.

The long-haul low-cost carrier has rights to fly 34 non-core routes but Azran reckons flying to these destinations will not help the airline or the country bring in the passenger traffic that is needed for KL International Airport to stand out against its rivals in Bangkok and Singapore.

“We are not sure yet when we will fly to Seoul as there are so many details to be worked out,” Azran said.

Currently, Malaysia Airlines and Korean Air ply the KL-Seoul route with 12 weekly flights each and with AirAsia X’s new flights the connectivity increases to 31 flights each week, which is similar to the 31 flights mounted from Singapore to Seoul. From Bangkok there are 58 weekly flights to Seoul.

By B.K.Sidhu

The Star

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