AirAsia X Thailand to spread wings

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AirAsia-flight-attendantsA new long-haul budget airline is about to take off from Thailand as a local arm of Malaysia-based AirAsia X, the long-haul affiliate of no-frills carrier AirAsia Group.

According to Tassapon Bijleveld, CEO of Thai AirAsia, the formation of the new airline called AirAsia X Thailand is currently subject to government approval. AirAsia, in a first step, has sought approval to operate regular flights from Bangkok to South Korea and Japan and intends to deploy two Airbus 330-300 on these routes starting October 2013.

The move is expected to intensify competition and surprise other carriers such as Thai Airways International, which already faces strong headwinds in the regional flight business through AirAsia. Reportedly, Thai Airways has over the years used all its influence to block the entry of AirAsia X to its home turf.

When approved, AirAsia X could extend its network to cover cities up to 11 hours in flight time from Bangkok, which is the major airport hub in Southeast Asia for the Middle East and Europe, but also an important destination for flights from Australia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China. With its move, AirAsia could form a first global multi-hub low-cost carrier network.

Thai AirAsia’s Bijleveld said he just sold around 20 per cent of his stock in Asia Aviation Plc, the holding firm of Thai AirAsia, to fund personal investment into AirAsia X Thailand.

Currently, AirAsia X flies from Kuala Lumpur to destinations to China, Australia, Taiwan, Iran, Korea and Japan and also offers haj flights to Jeddah. The company plans to raise up to $300 million in an initial public offering in Malaysia in June 2013 as the country’s stock market hovers near an all-time high to fund expansion and purchase new aircraft.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

A new long-haul budget airline is about to take off from Thailand as a local arm of Malaysia-based AirAsia X, the long-haul affiliate of no-frills carrier AirAsia Group.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

AirAsia-flight-attendantsA new long-haul budget airline is about to take off from Thailand as a local arm of Malaysia-based AirAsia X, the long-haul affiliate of no-frills carrier AirAsia Group.

According to Tassapon Bijleveld, CEO of Thai AirAsia, the formation of the new airline called AirAsia X Thailand is currently subject to government approval. AirAsia, in a first step, has sought approval to operate regular flights from Bangkok to South Korea and Japan and intends to deploy two Airbus 330-300 on these routes starting October 2013.

The move is expected to intensify competition and surprise other carriers such as Thai Airways International, which already faces strong headwinds in the regional flight business through AirAsia. Reportedly, Thai Airways has over the years used all its influence to block the entry of AirAsia X to its home turf.

When approved, AirAsia X could extend its network to cover cities up to 11 hours in flight time from Bangkok, which is the major airport hub in Southeast Asia for the Middle East and Europe, but also an important destination for flights from Australia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China. With its move, AirAsia could form a first global multi-hub low-cost carrier network.

Thai AirAsia’s Bijleveld said he just sold around 20 per cent of his stock in Asia Aviation Plc, the holding firm of Thai AirAsia, to fund personal investment into AirAsia X Thailand.

Currently, AirAsia X flies from Kuala Lumpur to destinations to China, Australia, Taiwan, Iran, Korea and Japan and also offers haj flights to Jeddah. The company plans to raise up to $300 million in an initial public offering in Malaysia in June 2013 as the country’s stock market hovers near an all-time high to fund expansion and purchase new aircraft.

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