18 January 2013
The long-haul budget carrier, which was loss-making in June last year, is hopeful of a turnaround as it operates from klia2.
“I think klia2 will be a significant boost to AirAsia X, as we will be the only airline that is able to take passengers to destinations as far as Saudi Arabia through klia2,” Azran said at the launch of the airline’s new route to Jeddah from its Kuala Lumpur hub.
The new layout of klia2 is said to contribute to more connecting options and passengers for AirAsia X. In 2011, 45% of AirAsia X’s travellers were connecting passengers whereby klia2 is expected to provide the company with significant growth.
“We expect the percentage to continue to grow as klia2 offers more connectivity and for this percentage to be even higher in 2014,” said Azran, noting that the company is adding seven more planes this year and seven next year.
For its new route to Jeddah from Kuala Lumpur, AirAsia X targets about 50,000 passengers within the first 12 months of operation.
AirAsia X will introduce three flights weekly to King Abdul Aziz International Airport from Feb 16, and increase to four flights weekly from May 1.
The KL-Jeddah route is not expected to contribute largely to AirAsia X’s passenger volume or revenue this year.
“The flight is only four times a week thus we would expect this route to contribute about 5% to our overall business for this year,” said Azran.
The KL-Jeddah route is AirAsia X’s 14th and the company expects to launch three more routes this year.
These additional routes will be based on AirAsia X’s core expansion in 2013 and 2014 and is within the company’s operations in Australia, China, South Korea and Japan.Nevertheless, AirAsia X sees long-term potential in the Middle East with a population of 300 million.
“We want to start off with Jeddah and hopefully we can start exploring other destinations within the Middle East region,” said Azran.
AirAsia X is awaiting approval from the Securities Commission Malaysia for its listing.
“We are waiting for approval and we have yet to submit our 2012 financial results as that is to be the key marketing feature,” said Azran.
AirAsia X is offering 790.12 million shares or 33.3% of its enlarged share capital in its planned IPO, according to its draft prospectus.
The company, to be listed on the Main Market, will be Malaysia’s next high profile listing.
Reuters reported that the IPO is expected to raise about US$250 million (RM755 million) for AirAsia X.
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