AirAsia X, the long-haul, low-fare affiliate of the AirAsia Group, has confirmed the suspension of its services to Male, Maldives due, it said, to “challenging business conditions”. The airline will suspend the services to the popular holiday archipelago from March 1, 2014, but will continue to sustain the Colombo, Sri Lanka sector, offering a point-to-point four times weekly link from Kuala Lumpur from March 2, 2014.
The carrier introduced the triangle route from the Malaysian capital in late September 2013 with two flights a week routing via Male then Colombo and two a week on the opposite routing. Ahead of the launch AirAsia X was confident the new routes would stimulate new travel demand and boost tourism and business potential for Malaysia and the two countries. “The decision to withdraw from Male was a difficult one, but was made taking into account our business imperative to build sustainable and profitable routes,” said Azran Osman-Rani, chief executive officer, AirAsia X.
“Despite our efforts, external factors such as the depreciation of Asian currencies against the US dollar and the chronic lack of hotel room supply in Maldives resulted in cancellation of thousands of bookings by travel operators,” he added.
The airline said the suspension is a move made to improve operating cost efficiencies and concentrate capacity in AirAsia X’s key markets of Australia, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Nepal and Sri Lanka. "As part of our strategy to operate more efficiently, the airline will deploy our aircraft to routes with the right level of demand to be financially viable," explained Osman-Rani.
Azran Osman-Rani, chief executive officer, AirAsia X will make the keynote address at this year’s Routes Asia Strategy Summit in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia on the morning of March 9, 2014. Find out more about the event and Strategy Summit here: Routes Asia 2014, Routes Asia 2104 Strategy Summit.
The news follows just a week after the Malaysian carrier announced that its associate company, Thai AirAsia X Co Ltd had officially received the approval for its the Air Operator’s Certificate from the Department of Civil Aviation of Thailand. This has subsequently allowed the start-up carrier to proceed with its application for operating permits and slots to its intended international routes. The launch date for commercial operations is expected to be announced once the operating permits and slots are obtained.
Thai AirAsia X will lease two Airbus A330-300s with 377 seats from a subsidiary of the Company in its first year of operations and will commence services from Don Mueng International Airport, Bangkok. “Thai AirAsia X is expected to offer connecting fly-thru services with Thai AirAsia’s short haul domestic and regional network, offering greater connectivity options from hubs in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. The establishment of our Thai hub will see the beginning of AirAsia X’s strategic multi hub plan turn into reality,” said Osman-Rani.