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ROUTES 2010: AirAsia X heads to Tokyo

Tokyo is to be the next destination for AirAsia X, taking the long-haul, low-fare airline’s total number of destinations to 12.

AirAsia X will begin flights to Haneda Airport International terminal, Tokyo on 9 December with three non-stop weekly services between Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

Announcing the service at Routes in Vancouver, Senthil Balan, the airline’s head of route planning and regulatory affairs, noted that although the route is expected to be very attractive, it could only begin with three services a week due to bilateral agreements. “When we launched our KL–Seoul route we sold 80,000 seats on the first day and expect Japan to be the same. We expect huge appeal but although Japan actually has an open skies policy, it does not include flights to Haneda and Narita,” Balan noted.

At Routes 2010, AirAsia X has had a busy time, taking three meeting tables, each full with appointments. Of routes already considered though, Balan expects two more to be announced by the year-end, “including a big one, the second European route”.

AirAsia X is planning to return to Abu Dhabi, having pulled off the route due to aircraft availability. “It’s a good route and we’ll go back there when we have some more new A330s.”

Meanwhile, the move to separate AirAsia X into a standalone entity has moved on and the airline has moved into offices separate from those of AirAsia, “though we’ll continue to work closely with them,” Balan noted.

Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/LARAnews.net

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