According to Reuters, Malaysia’s AirAsia X Bhd said it had become Asia’s first low-cost carrier to receive approval to operate scheduled passenger flights to any destination within the United States. So far only Cebu Pacific in Asia has been granted flights to serve Guam and still plans to serve Hawaii out of Manila.
The Malaysian long-haul airline in a statement said it gained approval from the United States’ Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) and that it was considering flights to several U.S. states, including Hawaii.
“Our expansion up until now has concentrated on Asia, Australasia and the Middle East, and we are excited about our first foray into an entirely new market as we look beyond Asia Pacific,” Group Chief Executive Officer Kamarudin Meranun said in the statement on Tuesday.
AirAsia X also indicated that it was mulling the resumption of flights on its London route. The airline suspended its London flights in March 2012 due to high taxes, but has held on to hopes of continuing the route since. “At the moment we are looking at resuming our London routes and are working towards the necessary approvals,” a spokesman told Reuters in an email. The carrier announced also last year to look at serving Istanbul.
According to Malaysian aviation experts, the first potential routes to be served in the United States would probably be to Hawaii with a stop-over in Japan, where AirAsia already set up a joint venture two years ago with local Japanese partners that include Rakuten Inc.