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The low-cost carriers have revolutionized the world of aviation and piled enormous pressure on the shoulders of legacy carriers. So far most of this competition has been focused on short-haul routes, with budget airlines being able to take advantage of the economies delivered by aircraft such as the Boeing 737, and Airbus A320. Long-haul travel has remained mostly the protected domain of legacy carriers, but even that has been changing. WOW and Norwegian have started to make a significant impact on flights from the US to Europe. Now, routes to Asia are coming into the sights of low-cost carries, with AirAsia X getting approval to start operating flights to and from the US.

Air Asia X

Possible Routes

Although nothing has been announced yet, it remains unclear how exactly AirAsia X will offer flights to the US with its current fleet configuration. The company currently owns 22 Airbus A330-300 with a range of 6,350 nautical miles. This range is insufficient for the airline to operate flights to the continental US, with the only possible routes being from its hub in Kuala Lumpur to Honolulu or Alaska.

The possible solution for this is the new aircraft AirAsia X is acquiring since the airline is taking delivery of 10 Airbus A350-900 starting in 2018. With their range of 8,100 nautical miles, these aircraft would bring most US west coast destinations within the flight envelope of aircraft departing from AirAsia X’s main hubs.

A350 Landing

Premium Cabin

AirAsia X does offer Premium cabin with fully lie-flat seat, which is currently available on long-haul flights within Asia. The cost of these seats is relatively inexpensive in comparison to other offerings from legacy carriers. We hope AirAsia X will bring this Premium cabin for a budget price experience on its new long-haul destinations in the US.

Overall

With no real low-cost carrier operating a transpacific service, this is great news and should result in cheaper flights. Although no start dates have been announced, it should be some time before all the logistics and operational issues are sorted out and put in place. Nevertheless, the initial approval to begin its low-cost operations is an excellent step in the right direction.

Source: The Points Guy/JT Genter

AirAsia X Gains Approval to Operate Flights to the US
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Comments

  • Increased competition can only bring good things for us consumers.

  • Yaay. This is good news!

  • Do they have carry-on fees etc.?

  • Will be interesting to see how this shakes up TPAC fares.

  • I’m looking forward to the Routes Asia to Germany – thats going to mix the Market again…

  • Here’s hoping this actually does help the consumer in reducing trans-Pacific fares. But the note about the lack of suitable aircraft is interesting. I know MH was at one point trying to sell some its fleet… possible opportunity there?

  • This is really great news. Right now Air Asia is a great choice for intra-Asia flights. I’ve used it many times, and it provides good value and good service. I would welcome a chance to try their premium service from the US to Asia.

  • Even though I will never fly Air Asia, their presence in the market would bring much needed competition.

  • ADAM PARSONS says:

    Great news for the routes, more competition should bring better standards from other providers.

  • This is great news and I really look forward to Air Asia’s expension. Norwegian did it and I hope Air Asia will be successful too!

  • Thanks for the update – fun to see how well this works out politically.

  • Either this will really help make other big airlines cheaper or this will make them offer some extremely low end service. Hopefully its the first

  • Hopefully they start flying in the not too distant future. Current TPAC fares are too high, especially nonstops to Japan.

  • I’ve flown them, their model is very similar to Jet blue, charge for preassigned seats in the front, meals, baggage but the fees are reasonable when paying in advance. on board meals are as little as 4 usd for example with a pretty wide selection, but only available when you book in advance

  • I haven’t flown Air Asia, but looking forward to the increased competition.

  • I wonder its the plan to fly direct though, or might it involve a stop somewhere in Europe.

  • wish they flew to abs.

  • AirAsia has often very sweet promos in Asia and Australia.
    If it gets approved and they start flying to US, it would be a great carrier to serve Asia for less then the current airlines.

  • I wish they use Haneda, Tokyo as their hub towards USA. I am little skeptic about how long they ll continue the route. In 2013 probably, Air Asia X used to operate to London and Paris, but for less than a year!

  • Wondering if there will be any IFE or connectivity on these budget flights. Also, the seat comfortability will be a factor to the success of these long haul flights.

  • Given that budget airlines in Asia are already operating to European cities, would be interesting to see that them expanding their routes to US too.

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