Finally, AirAsia is coming to the U.S.
Low-cost air carrier AirAsia based in Malaysia announced Tuesday that it was given Federal Aviation Administration certification to fly into the United States.
AirAsia X will be the first low-cost air carrier from Asia to receive authorization to operate a schedule service in the U.S.
For the airline, this is a huge milestone said Datuk Kamarudin Meranun the CEO at AirAsia X Group in a prepared statement
The expansion by the airline up to now was concentrated across Asia, Australasia as well as the Middle East, but the airline is excited to be making its first foray into this new market as it looks beyond its current Asia Pacific market.
As the sister airline to AirAsia the low-cost behemoth, AirAsia X has been tasked with offering affordable international, long-haul flights using Airbus A330 planes. Both of the brands are under the umbrella of the Tune Group of Tony Fernandes.
AirAsia X currently is considering flights to a number of U.S. states with Hawaii high on the list as part of its expansion plans of adding more routes. However, AirAsia X did not go into any details about when the airline would start flying into the U.S. and what markets would be its first choices.
One analyst specializing in the airline industry said the first routes AirAsia X will likely start with would be Japan to Hawaii, San Francisco, Los Angeles and possibly Las Vegas.
A route that is ultra-long haul from Malaysia to the United States is another possibility, said the analyst.
This is not the first foray by AirAsia X outside Asia. During 2009, the airline launched a service from its Kuala Lumpur base to London prior to shutting that route down because of high prices of fuel three years later in 2012.
According to an industry publication, AirAsia X has considered the re-launch of the route into London for 2017 using either Boeing 777-300 ER or Airbus A350 aircraft.
With its certification, AirAsia X joins Iceland WOW Air and Norwegian Air as the new wave of long-haul, low-cost airlines that reach the market in the U.S.
During 2016, the airline was named by aviation website Skytrax as the world’s sixth best low cost airline.
In addition, the airline earned other low-cost awards handed out by Skytrax.