KUALA LUMPUR, July 7:
AirAsia X is acting fast towards an expected launch of flights – possibly as early as later next year – from Japan to Vancouver and other US Pacific coast cities.
In a statement today, AirAsia X said there will be two Tokyo flights from KLIA from Nov 21 on four days weekly and will now connect Narita airport as well. AirAsia X now flies only to Haneda airport. Both Narita and Haneda handle international flights for Tokyo.
With the new flights, AirAsia X flies to Haneda daily from KLIA while Narita will be served on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Narita will have daily links with KLIA from May next year.
Thai AirAsia X is also finally adding Japan to its network, with daily flights from Bangkok to Narita starting from Sept 1. The Thai budget carrier is also flying the Bangkok-Osaka route five times weekly from Sept 1.
The launch timing of these new flights from Southeast Asia ties in well to the expected operations start of AirAsia Japan by June 2015, with both domestic and international routes.
AirAsia group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes had hinted last week in Tokyo that links to Japan is also being looked into by other regional partnerships it has in Indonesia and the Philippines.
Travellers from India keen to go on to Japan and beyond will eventually have multiple transit choices, with Kuala Lumpur expected to be the main hub, Fernandes had said.
Tokyo and Osaka are expected to become main hubs for AirAsia Japan to serve the East Asian region and beyond. Fernandes had said that Hawaii and Guam are among the destinations AirAsia is seriously looking at for budget travellers.
To promote the latest flights to Japan, both AirAsia X and its Thai counterpart are offering one-way airfares from ¥9,900 (RM299), said AirAsia X chief executive officer Azran Osman-Rani.
“Guests from our long haul network and that of the AirAsia Group may connect seamlessly to over 90 destinations across our combined networks.
“Overall, the airline has carried over one million passengers to and from its Japan routes and Japan contributes over 12% of the airline’s total revenue to date.”