AirAsia X and Cebu Pacific: Setbacks in Long-haul Markets (1)

AirAsia X and AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes announced last year that he was pretty sure to reopen a route to Europe, most probably London but also possibly Moscow and Istanbul in a bid to realize his dreams: to offer an AirAsia product all across the world. However, he will probably have to wait a bit before to see again a red-white aircraft landing in Europe…

While Le Bourget Aerospace Salon is taking place in Paris, the buoyant CEO declared in a tweet that “AirAsia X is flying. Model is working. We have decided that ultra-long haul is not relevant now. Won’t get seduced into price wars over London,” he said pointing to the existing competition of legacy carriers which are already competing in the London market. “We let the full-service guys fight it over Europe. Many of them are bleeding so so much,” he added. AirAsia X used to fly to Paris and London for one year, until 2012.

The long-haul budget airline would continue with its strategy to fly to destination which takes only between eight and nine hours, Fernandes said in his tweets. The carrier for example flies to Honolulu via Japan, which represents an eight-hour flight. AirAsia X is considering now to further expand in the Australian market with a possible come-back to Adelaide or the opening of new routes such as Kuala Lumpur-Broome (Western Australia).
AirAsia X (temporary?) renouncement to fly to Europe comes at the time when competitor Malaysia Airlines plans to re-enter the market after terminating most of its European network in 2015 and 2016 – London excepted. Malaysia national carrier ordered six Airbus A350 with delivery to start by the end of the year. The first aircraft will be used on one of the two daily flights between Kuala Lumpur and London, most probably from February or March 2018. Once more aircraft are to be delivered, MAS plans to fly the additional A350 not only to London but to a second destination. In discussion are now Amsterdam or Paris, abandoned in 2016.

“We’ve got the A350, it’s an expensive aircraft and we have to find something meaty and significant to do with it,” Malaysia Airlines CEO Peter Bellew has told to aviation analyst firm CAPA (Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation).