20 April 2010
Air Asia X chief executive Azran Osman-Rani said his airline is yet to receive an official notification on the delay in receiving approvals to operate Sydney flights, but speculated on the set-back.
"One of the reasons cited was since Malaysia Airlines was asked to buy the A380 jets by the government, they need the Sydney route to be protected," he told Business Times.
"Allegedly, we are also only bringing in transit passengers [to Malaysia], however tourist arrivals from Australia grew by 25 per cent last year in comparison to the previous year based on the tourism ministry data.
Malaysian Airlines did not add a single flight into Australia last year but instead cut capacity. So how do you get such a stellar growth?"
Rani said Air Asia X will take delivery of three A3330s this year with another 17 due between 2011 and 2015, but doesn’t have the right routes to deploy the aircraft, while Malaysian Airlines will receive the first of six A380s in August next year and plans to operate two of these on the Kuala Lumpur-Sydney route.
The speculation comes off the back of the recent announcement that Air Asia X and Australia’s Jetstar will form the world’s first low-cost airline alliance.