Published on : Friday, January 27, 2017
Founded by charismatic businessman Tony Fernandes, AirAsia pioneered the low-cost model in Asia, delivering rapid growth as it undercut bloated legacy carriers in the region with its no frills approach. The U.S. flights will be operated by its long-haul affiliate, AirAsia X, which is presently focused on Africa, The Middle East and Asia-Pacific.
The airline says it’s considering flights to several U.S. states including Hawaii. It’s hoping it will have more success in the U.S. than it did in Europe, where it abandoned flights to London and Paris in 2012 because of weak demand. AirAsia’s services could offer a cheaper route to Asia for the U.S. travellers who are interested to pass up some of the comforts of international flights.
AirAsia X operates a fleet of Airbus A330-300s fitted out with 365 economy seats. For the passengers who are interested to spend more, there are 12 “premium flatbeds,” which offers a kind of low-cost business class. The economy class passengers currently pay extra for things like meals and baggage allowance.
AirlineRatings.com gives AirAsia Indonesia just two out of a possible seven stars for safety — but AirAsia X fares better with six out of seven. AirAsia’s safety reputation was hit badly when a plane operated by its Indonesian affiliate crashed into the Java Sea, killing all 162 people on board in 2014.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has not yet responded about AirAsia’s U.S. plans.