Low-cost carrier AirAsia X is withdrawing services from its Kuala Lumpur hub to Mumbai and New Delhi in India, and Paris and London in Europe, in order to increase its focus on “core markets”.
The four-weekly flights to Mumbai will end on January 31, whereas the daily services to New Delhi will be reduced in March to four times a week, with eventual suspension of all operations to the destination on March 22.
Flights to Paris which currently run four times a week will conclude on March 30, and the six-weekly operations to London are to end on March 31.
Azran Osman-Rani, the airline’s CEO, commented: “We intend to concentrate capacity in our core markets of Australasia, China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea, where we have built up stable, profitable routes with an infrastructure that supports low-cost services.”
He explained that new routes would be opened in these markets and that the expansion plans would be released in the near future. It is hoped that the changes will improve operating cost efficiencies and consolidate the carrier’s network to focus on markets where it can build a “leadership position” in the coming year.
High jet fuel prices and a weakening demand for air travel in Europe contributed to the decision said Mr Osman-Rani, who added: “The implementation of the Emissions Trading Scheme and the escalating Air Passenger Duty taxes in the UK, which will rise yet again in April 2012, has forced our decision to withdraw our services from Europe.”
London’s Gatwick Airport, which welcomed AirAsia X in October 2011, released a statement saying it was disappointed with the airline’s decision. It said: “[The decision by] AirAsia X is clear evidence that the burden of additional taxation in all its forms is a material consideration for long-haul airlines flying to the UK.”