Malaysian low-cost carrier AirAsia X will begin no-frills flights between Stansted and Kuala Lumpur in March, with fares as low as £99 one way.
AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes announced the launch yesterday despite the failure of every other low-cost, long-haul operation in the past few months – including Oasis Hong Kong Airlines which flew between Gatwick and Hong Kong, and Zoom Airlines flying transatlantic from Gatwick.
AirAsia X began flying a year ago between Kuala Lumpur and north-east Australia and has added services to Perth and Melbourne and to China. The carrier is a spin-off from regional low-cost carrier Air Asia, based in Kuala Lumpur and founded in 2001. Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin group holds a 16% stake in the long-haul operation.
Fernandes said average one-way fares on the Stansted service will be £150, undercutting existing fares to Malaysia via Singapore, Hong Kong and the Gulf state hubs.
The service will connect between the many no-frills flights into Stansted from around Europe and AirAsia’s regional no-frills network, but there will be no through tickets. Passengers will have to book separate flights, collect and re-check bags and pay for drinks and food on board.