8 DECEMBER 2014
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With HSBC’s senior aviation analyst Andrew Lobbenberg hinting at the Runways UK conference in Manchester that all was not well with Norwegian Air’s Gatwick – US services (he said in as many words that the product may need rethinking), budget long haul operator AirAsia X could be returning to London.
Originally launched to Stansted with much fanfare the route from Kuala Lumpur (KL) transferred from north to south of the Thames in December 2011 only to be withdrawn the next year. Now CEO Tony Fernandes, also the owner of QPR soccer club (and previously Caterham F1) has told London's Mayor Boris Johnson that he hoped to re-launch the KL route in 2015.
"We have [had] good discussions with Johnson on the kind of support that we needed. We have discussed with Airbus to accelerate the aircraft that we want because we need a slightly heavier aircraft to carry a bit more fuel and I hope we will get that next year," he was quoted by Malaysia's Bernama news agency.
AirAsia X suspended all flights to Europe in March 2012, due to high operating costs (A340). Malaysian Airlines operates twice daily to Heathrow with an A380 and British Airways is also planning to resume service next May with a daily Boeing 777-200ER operation. www.airasiax.com
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