Thursday, July 30, 2009

AirAsia X to launch hub in Middle East-31 July, 2009

AirAsia X to launch hub in Middle East

KUALA LUMPUR -Budget airline AirAsia X has raised the possibility of establishing a new hub in the Middle East, enabling its network to extend to north Africa and Europe.

The Age reports that AirAsia X's CEO Azran Osman-Rani said a location had already been chosen in a Gulf state but that it would not be disclosed for several weeks.

"This will open up completely new markets, and we won't always have to have the planes based in Kuala Lumpur, which limits us to an eight-hour radius," Azran told reporters.

"There will be many in the aviation industry who think this is crazy because the traditional low-cost model is to do only point-to-point flights... to keep it simple," he said.

Azran said AirAsia X would hire existing services for cargo, catering and maintenance.

Initially, the carrier will operate flights from Kuala Lumpur to the Middle East hub, before branching out next year by using it to jump to destinations that could include Morocco, Turkey, Spain or the Czech Republic.

Azran said the plan was also triggered by potential problems accommodating new aircraft, amid doubts that Malaysia's airports authority will complete a new low-cost carrier terminal in Kuala Lumpur by 2011 as scheduled.

"It will relieve the pressure of having all our planes in Kuala Lumpur, especially if the new airport is not finished and we do not have enough parking bays," he said.
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