OSAKA (JAPAN): Hawaii is the next stop for AirAsia X Bhd with its maiden service set for launch on June 28.
There will be a four times weekly service from Kuala Lumpur to Honolulu, Hawaii via Osaka, Japan.
Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kamarudin Meranun said in conjunction with the launch, the airline was offering promotional fares from as low as RM499 (one-way all-in fare inclusive of fees and taxes) for economy class, and the premium flatbed from RM2,999 from Feb 11-26 this year, for travel from June 28, 2017 to Feb 6, 2018.
“This is the game-changing destination we have all been waiting for. By connecting Asean and North Asia to the US with our world-class low fares offering, we will make it possible for those who could only dream of a vacation across the Pacific.
“We wish to thank all relevant authorities and governments concerned for their support.
“Their vote of confidence has made today’s unique route launch possible. We will continue to work closely with all parties to ensure connectivity for more people through this flagship intercontinental route,” he told reporters at the launch of the route here today
Also present at the press conference were AirAsia X Bhd CEO Benyamin Ismail, Representative Director and Co-CEO of Kansai Airports, Emmanuel Menanteau, Hawaii Tourism Japan Vice President Mitsue Varley and the reigning Miss Hawaii, Allison Chu.
In a statement, AirAsia X said guests transiting in Osaka do not require a Japanese visa during the two-hour stopover, and can return to their seats on the flight after clearing security with any carry-on luggage or belongings.
Passengers who want more flexibility in travel planning can opt for the multi-city option, which allows them to spend a few days in Osaka before travelling onwards to Honolulu.
However, non-Malaysian passengers may need to apply for a Japanese visa.
It added that guests can also make use of AirAsia’s Fly-Thru service to connect seamlessly to Honolulu from other cities within AirAsia and AirAsia X’s extensive flight network with just one additional stop.
Meanwhile, Benyamin said travelling to Honolulu from Kuala Lumpur via Osaka would take about 14 hours including transit time in Osaka.
Flights are scheduled on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, with departure at 2pm and from Osaka at 11.25pm.
He said AirAsia X expected the average passenger load on the flight to be more than 80% with the majority being Japanese, and the rest from Kuala Lumpur and Asean.
“Our focus is always to provide for the underserved market in Asia, Malaysia and Asean.
“It has been a while since there was any flight to Hawaii from Asia and it is a milestone for us and low cost carriers,” he added.
Benyamin said Kansai International Airport was chosen over other airports in Japan, as Osaka was still underserved in comparison to those in Tokyo.
He added that demand for flights to Hawaii was very high among Japanese and expressed confidence that the low cost airline would be able to attract the market with its low fare offering.
On another note, Kamarudin said it took almost two years of negotiations with US authorities to fly the low cost airline to Hawaii.
He also said that for the near term, AirAsia X did not have any other US destination in the pipeline. -FMT