KUALALUMPUR: Next year, everybody can fly to the United States – at a cheaper price.
Ambitious AirAsia Bhd plans to fly to several destinations in the US, starting with Hawaii in the first half of 2017.
Its AirAsia X is also considering near-term plane additions to speed up the resumption of European flights, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
The report quoted an unnamed AirAsia X spokesman as saying it planned to begin flying to Hawaii in the first half of next year.
It had wanted to fly between Kuala Lumpur and Honolulu earlier, via a refueling stop in Osaka, Japan, but had to push back the start date as it had yet to receive approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration.
According to the report, AirAsia X also planned to fly its new Airbus Group SE A330neo planes to Europe once it starts taking delivery of the jetliners in 2018.
Airbus is still developing the A330neo, an upgraded model of the A330 with more-efficient engines made by Rolls Royce Holdings PLC.
The AirAsia X spokesman told the WSJ that it “is exploring the idea of finding other aircraft to commence Europe routes earlier.” However, a decision hasn’t been made yet.
AirAsia X abandoned flights between Kuala Lumpur and London and Paris in 2012 because of soaring fuel prices. At the time, it operated gas-guzzling four-engine Airbus A340 long-haul planes.
The WSJ report quoted industry officials as saying AirAsia X might rent Boeing 777 long-haul planes to jump-start the European service.
AirAsia X operates a fleet of 30 Airbus A330-300 planes and is the largest customer for the A330neo, with orders for 66 of the twin-engine planes.
The airline last month reported a RM11.03 million profit for the third quarter ended in September, from a RM288.19 million loss the year before. -FMT