AirAsia celebrates inaugural flight

11th Mar 2009

AirAsia today celebrates the inaugural London (Stansted) - Kuala Lumpur flight, making history by being the first low-cost, long haul service connecting the UK to Asia. The new service initially operating five direct flights per week, provides guests with access via AirAsia’s Kuala Lumpur international hub, to 64 destinations such as Bangkok, Phuket, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City and Bali for as little as £10, and on to Australia for under £100.  The flight, operated by AirAsia’s associate, AirAsia X, is a major step in AirAsia realizing its European aspirations, and strengthens Kuala Lumpur as the regional aviation hub and gateway to Asia.

AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes, said, “Since Sir Freddie Laker’s Skytrain, no airline has ever managed to carry passengers this far at such low fares. With this global platform, we are making the world much smaller and cheaper for everyone to connect to each other. This is a revolutionary moment for the aviation industry and a great day for passengers, who can have an amazing Asian experience for the price of travelling to Europe. Our sales have proved this business model not only works, but is flourishing in a tough market. Long-haul legacy carriers have charged too much for too long to millions and millions of passengers, and today we have made the sky a fairer place to fly”

“We are at the very beginning of realising our ambitions in Europe. We will aim to add more frequency to create a daily shuttle to Asia and lower our fares even further.” Tony concludes.

The economy promo fare offered at £99 were all snapped up within 48 hours after it opened for sale last November. Other regular fares offered at £149 and £199 one way were also sold very fast, indicative of the demand for this new sector.

The Stansted - Kuala Lumpur route has been very popular amongst travellers between Australia and Europe. Dubbed the ‘Kangaroo Route’, AirAsia X provides a very affordable connectivity from London to Australian cities of Perth, Melbourne and the Gold Coast, with Kuala Lumpur as the hub.


AirAsia X Chief Executive Officer, Azran Osman-Rani, said, “Stansted connects practically all of Europe to AirAsia X, allowing us to open up an amazing range of exotic, tropical, cultural and cosmopolitan destinations across Asia Pacific to suit everyone’s pocket. With the strength of the Euro, its a great time for everyone across Europe to fly further than ever before for less money and in real style on AirAsia X,”

“Not only are our guests flying low-cost, but they are flying in real comfort, with great food, and entertainment in a cool environment. Our XL seats offer presents a mini-revolution in itself, enabling corporate and leisure travellers to stretch out and enjoy the luxury of business class for a traditional economy class fare,” he added.

Azran also noted that in support of sustainable development and bridging communities through low fares, AirAsia X has partnered the National University of Malaysia (Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia - UKM) through its UKM-Global Student Mobility Partnerships student exchange programme. At least 10 students from the UK have signed up for the programme and will fly AirAsia X to Kuala Lumpur in June.

The route will be serviced by an Airbus A340-300, which holds 286 seats including 30 XL seats which have an impressive 60-inch pitch.

Commercial & Development director BAA Stansted, Nick Barton said “The touchdown today of our first low-cost, long-haul flights to the Asian air travel markets and beyond is a significant milestone for Stansted and for long-haul air travel around the world. Stansted has become Europe’s point to point airport of choice for the low cost market, so it was fitting that AirAsia X selected us as the gateway through which to connect their expansive route network out of Kuala Lumpur into the UK,” 

“Advance bookings on this new non-stop service prove how popular it is set to be, particularly with business and leisure passengers seeking affordable long-haul travel options.  We’re delighted to officially welcome AirAsia X into Stansted today and look forward to supporting the airline as they develop their services here at Stansted,” he concludes.

AirAsia X has won a string of industry awards including New Airline of The Year 2008 by the Centre for Pacific Aviation (CAPA) and Best Newcomer at the 2008 Budgie World Low Cost Airline Awards.

To date, AirAsia X offers flights to Gold Coast, Perth and Melbourne in Australia, Hangzhou (Shanghai) and Tianjin (Beijing) in China, and now London, bringing the well known brand on to a global stage.

AirAsia X covers destinations which are more than four hours in flight duration from Kuala Lumpur, complementing the existing AirAsia network of over 122 routes throughout ASEAN, China, India and Bangladesh. Via AirAsia’s major hubs in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Bangkok, Thailand and Jakarta, Indonesia, passengers can enjoy unparalleled access to destinations throughout Asia.


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