12 December 2022, etc.venues Monument, London
Business Travel Show Europe, presented by The BTN
21 November, London Hilton Metropole
Air Asia X, the Kuala Lumpur-based long haul low cost carrier, confirmed today (November 11) that it plans to start flights to the UK next year.
Tim Claydon, the airline's commercial adviser, told at seminar at the World Travel Market in London that an official announcement will be made in the next few weeks.
He added: "We have said we will be coming into the UK by early 2009."
The carrier, a subsidiary of Air Asia, the largest LCC in the region, is expected to fly to either Manchester or Stansted.
Air Asia X was launched in January 2007 and flies to destinations in Australia, including a new service to Melbourne.
Mr Azran Osman-Rani, ceo of Air Asia X, speaking by video to the WTM forum, said he was "excited by Europe which is our next frontier."
He said he was "passionate" about proving the sceptics wrong about low cost long haul travel.
He said success in long haul was down to individual airlines and how they executed their business model.
He said it was critical to have a hub and feeder network and marketing to build up loads.
"It can only work if you fill up your plane day in, day out. That is why that is why you need a hub and spoke system and codesharing to create a continuous feed for your long haul services," he said.
He said that Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, was connected to all the country's tourist areas as well as the cosmopolitan cities of Asia.
"We are there fore not relying on point to point traffic for these services. `81% of Australians who fly into Kuala Lumpur with us, take onward flights," Mr Osman-Rani said.
"It is easy to stimulate point to point traffic but much harder for long haul. We can not just sit there and wait for people to come to us.
"We have got to go out and create new demand which it what we have done with Air Asia X."
This involved working with the destinations, with promoters of major events and concerts and with major sporting events.
"People need a reason to jump on a plane," he said.