It’s time for another fun filled airline makeover, boys and girls!
Rumors had been flying all week that Virgin Atlantic, easyJet, and Air Asia had been plotting a massive alliance for long haul low cost flights. While Virgin and easyJet have denied involvement for now, Air Asia’s plans are now coming out. Here they are . . .
It may not look like much, but it’s exactly what they’re doing. Let me break it down. Malaysia regional carrier FlyAsianXpress (FAX) will fly long haul international low cost flights. Instead of using the FAX name, they will try to capitalize on Air Asia’s strong brand in southeast Asia and operate as Air Asia X.
How is this going to happen? Well, conveniently, Tony Fernandes, owner of Air Asia, also owns half of FAX. So, he’s effectively taken this tiny regional airline and used its certificate to gain long haul route authorities from the Malaysian government.
Where exactly are they going to fly? It’s unclear right now. One article says that Malaysia’s Transport Ministry has given rights to FAX to fly to destinations that “do not include international flights currently handled by Malaysia Airlines.” There are other sources, however, that say that first flights will be to London and China. Malaysia Airlines flies twice daily to London/Heathrow, so maybe they’re going to let FAX fly to London/Gatwick to avoid direct competition. Another article says the official statement includes China, India, and Europe.
No matter what, this airline is guaranteed to bring some seriously low fares to these routes. Yet another article says fares could be as low as RM9.99 to London. That’s just shy of USD3, so I can’t imagine that’s real, but they will be lower than you can get anywhere else right now.
The strange thing is that FAX appears to be considering either 777-300ER or A330-300 aircraft in two class configuration. Those aircraft are hardly in the same class. A 777-300ER can hold around 451 that layout while an A330-300 will hold near 335. Those are pretty big differences and I don’t understand why they would be using those two in their consideration set.