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 Air Asia X to London will land at Gatwick airport

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PostSubject: Air Asia X to London will land at Gatwick airport   Thu Jul 14, 2011 9:21 am

LONDON: Air Asia X, the long-haul low-fare affiliate of Air Asia, announced it will move its London operations to Gatwick airport from October 24.

The airline had been operating flights six times a week from Stansted, which lies around 40 miles north of the capital.

The move comes as the airline attempts to drive up traffic by operating from the much busier Gatwick, which has flights to the rest of Europe as well as North America.

Azran Osman-Rani, CEO of Air Asia X, said: "Times are equally challenging now because of high oil prices and that affect longer haul routes and the 13-hour flight to KL is quite vulnerable.

"And, we're hoping the additional demand that Gatwick can generate can help to off set some of those higher cost challenges."

The route will be serviced by the airline's Airbus A340-300 planes, which have 327 seats, including 18 flat bed seats.

They planned to increase that number to 24.

However the fast-growing airline has no plans to expand it's presence in Europe.

Azran said: "We're planning to build on our presence in Japan, the Middle East and North Asia where those are our growth areas. There'll be nothing more in Europe in the next 12 to 24 months."

Seasoned travel experts said the move to Gatwick is an indicator of the growth of long-haul low-cost carriers and the competition they represent for full cost airlines.

Tony Wheeler, founder of Lonely Planet, said: "A lot of people are not just going to one place, they're travelling around the region.

"Really, they don't care where they start and finish. They could go to Bangkok, they could go to KL, they could go to Singapore and here's just another alternative at an attractive price."

The airline is keen to stress the move to Gatwick is a chance for passengers from South East Asia to travel to Europe and North America more efficiently, and they said, more affordably.

- CNA/ck

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