AirAsia disrupts plans for Middle East

Carrier temporarily drops Kuala Lumpur-Abu Dhabi service; Route was served for less than three months

AirAsia X is suspending its Kuala Lumpur-Abu Dhabi service from 21st February -  citing a lack of demand, uneconomical aircraft (it used A340s) and the financial crisis as factors leading to its decision. 

It's an inevitable setback as the carrier only announced it would serve Abu Dhabi less than three months ago. Later this year, AirAsia X was to decide whether Abu Dhabi could be a viable base for onward flights to other parts of the Middle East, as well as to North Africa and Europe.

But the setback is short-term, according to Abu Dhabi’s The National newspaper, which reports that AirAsia X will restart the service at a later date using a more fuel-efficient A330.

Azran Osman Rani, chief executive of AirAsia X is quoted: “Airlines are trying to fight to survive and unfortunately we have to make these tough decisions and hopefully we’ll have a better, more efficient aircraft and bit more scale to do perhaps a minimum daily service and be able to come back stronger, but the environment is making it a bit too tough.”

Meanwhile, both AirAsia and its affiliate AirAsia X are confident of making strong progress in the Indian market -  last week announcing a raft of new destinations from Kuala Lumpur-  including to Hyderabad, Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai.

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