AirAsia X to launch Paris route in February
Malaysia's long-haul budget airline AirAsia X is to launch its second European route in February, offering four flights a week between Kuala Lumpur and Paris, the carrier said Thursday.
The airline will start the direct service to Paris' Orly Airport on February 14, chosen to give Malaysians the chance to spend Valentine's Day in the French capital, with one-way fares as low as 499 ringgit (160 dollars).
"We have always been enthusiastic in venturing into a new European country since we launched London (in March 2009)," AirAsia X's chief executive officer Azran Osman-Rani said in a statement.
"The establishment of this new route is a significant achievement for us and is a reflection of our commitment to expanding our international operations further."
Approval for the carrier to land in Paris was announced by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak during a visit to France last year after a meeting with French President Nicholas Sarkozy.
An affiliate of regional low-cost carrier AirAsia and Virgin Group, AirAsia X was launched in January 2007 and is now Southeast Asia's biggest budget airline. AirAsia and AirAsia X have common shareholders, including AirAsia founder and CEO Tony Fernandes.
"AirAsia X's Paris-Kuala Lumpur route is the realisation of one of its long-held ambition to open up yet another affordable access between Malaysia and Europe," Fernandes said.
The new route will be serviced by Airbus A340s carrying 327 passengers, AirAsia X said.
The airline currently has eight aircraft and will have 11 by December. It has also placed an order for 17 Airbus A330s and 10 A340s.
Apart from Paris, the airline also covers 13 other destinations -- London, Taipei, Tehran, Seoul, Tokyo, China (Tianjin, Hangzhou, Chengdu), Australia (Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth) and India (Mumbai, Delhi).
AirAsia X announced in September that it would enter the Japanese market in December by introducing three flights a week connecting the Malaysian capital with Tokyo's Haneda airport.
© 2010 AFP