AirAsia X

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This article is about the Malaysian branded air service. For other Air Asia X brands from AirAsia, see AirAsia.
AirAsia X
AirAsia X Logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 2007 (as FlyAsianXpress)
Hubs Kuala Lumpur International Airport
Frequent-flyer program BIG[1]
Airport lounge AirAsia Premium Red Lounge
Fleet size 31[2]
Destinations 22
Company slogan Now Everyone Can Fly Xtra Long
Parent company AirAsia
Headquarters Kuala Lumpur International Airport
Sepang, Selangor, Malaysia
Key people
Employees 2,893 (31st December 2015)

AirAsia X Berhad (MYX: 5238) (previously known as FlyAsianXpress Sdn. Bhd.),[3] operated as AirAsia X, is a long-haul, budget airline based in Malaysia; and a sister company of AirAsia. It commenced operations on 2 November 2007 with its first service flown from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia, to Gold Coast Airport in Australia. AirAsia X flies to destinations within Asia and Australia. The airline operates a fleet of 31 aircraft and has placed orders for 76 more.

AirAsia X is the medium and long-haul operation of the brand AirAsia, which is Asia's largest low-cost carrier. The franchise is able to keep costs down by using a common ticketing system, aircraft livery, employee uniforms, and management style.[4]


On 17 May 2007, Tony Fernandes announced plans to commence flights from Malaysia to Australia. Fernandes said he would be avoiding Sydney Airport due to its high fees. Instead the airline would concentrate on cheaper alternatives such as Melbourne's Avalon Airport, Williamtown Airport in Newcastle, and Adelaide Airport. Sustained fares were predicted to be around MYR 800 (A$285) for a return fare, plus taxes.[5] Interest was also expressed in using Gold Coast Airport as another Australian destination.[6]

Several major developments were announced on 10 August 2007. AirAsia X announced its first route from Kuala Lumpur to the Gold Coast. One way fares for this route have been touted to begin at MYR 50 (A$17) excluding taxes and charges, with average return prices to be approximately MYR1,800 (A$598), inclusive of taxes and charges.[7]

An AirAsia X Airbus A330-300 taxiing at Melbourne Airport

The airline also announced that Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin Group, will take a 20% share in the airline to help kick-start its long haul operations and to finance its aircraft purchases.[8][9] Branson also forecast a strong possibility of future, formal links between Virgin Blue and AirAsia X, including codeshare agreements and Loyalty programs.[10][11]

The first AirAsia X aircraft arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on 15 September 2007. It was named "Semangat Sir Freddie" (English: "Spirit of Sir Freddie") after the pioneer and founder of the low cost model; the late, Sir Freddie Laker of Skytrain.[12]


FlyAsianXpress (FAX) was an airline based in Sarawak, Malaysia. It operated services on some of the smaller routes dropped by national carrier Malaysia Airlines. Its routes have since been taken over by MASwings.

FAX was privately owned by Kamarudin Meranun, Raja Razali, Raja Azmi and Tony Fernandes. The airline was subcontracted by AirAsia to operate several domestic services following the withdrawal of Malaysia Airlines from rural air service routes within East Malaysia. Its maiden flight was on 1 August 2006, despite being delayed for 50 minutes by bad weather.[13] FAX was not a low cost carrier,[14] but it incorporated some of AirAsia’s practices to reduce cost. Namely; internet and phone bookings, as well as ticketless check-in systems.

Within days of operation it was subject to a flood of criticisms from commuters, civil servants, and people working in the tourism industry. Critics argued that the new turboprop service provided by FAX should not be more expensive than the rural air service previously operated by Malaysia Airlines, as FAX was subsidised by the Malaysian Government. As well as cost, the airline was criticised for poor service, such as sudden flight cancellations without notice.[15] The CEO of Sarawak Tourism Board also stated that disruptions to cargo supply flights to the interior, caused tourists to take their own food rations, rather than rely upon the air cargo supplies of food and fuel.[16] FAX released a new flight timetable citing the sudden need for heavy maintenance on its Fokker 50 fleet as the trigger for severe disruption to its schedules.

On 11 April 2007, Tony Fernandes, CEO of the parent company of FAX (AirAsia), publicised details of a handover offer of FAX's rural routes, to Firefly, a subsidiary airline of Malaysia Airlines. He described it as "the logical thing to do", as Firefly can be the only national company operating turboprop aircraft.[17] On 26 April 2007, the government announced Malaysia Airlines would take over the operation of rural air services from FAX, and gave assurance that any financial loss will be born by the government.[18] Malaysia Airlines announced the take over of FAX destinations beginning on 1 October 2007. Malaysia Airlines would operate these routes through a new subsidiary, MASwings.

With FAX rural air services replaced by MASwings, the corporate name was changed from FlyAsianXpress Sdn. Bhd. to AirAsia X Sdn. Bhd.[19] with this, the airlines focus switched to a new market. Namely, low cost, long haul flights.

Corporate affairs[edit]

KLIA LCCT, which housed the AirAsia X head office prior to the opening of RedQuarters

The head office is located at the LCC Terminal at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Selangor, while the registered office is on Level 12 of the Menara Prima Tower B in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.[20]

The airline plans to move its head office to a new 613,383 square feet (56,985.1 m2), RM140mil facility constructed at klia2.[21] Until the new head office opens, the airline's head office will remain at LCCT. The new klia2 head office was scheduled to open in the end of 2015.[22] It is scheduled to hold about 2,000 AirAsia and AirAsia X employees.[21] Aireen Omar, the AirAsia Country CEO of Malaysia, stated that the headquarters needed to be redesigned because in the klia2 plans the location of the control tower had been changed.[23] Construction on the facility was scheduled to begin in July 2014.[24] Malaysia Airports Holdings is leasing the land that will be occupied by the headquarters.[23] Filipina AirAsia X flight attendant January Ann Baysa gave the building the name "RedQuarters" or "RedQ", and its groundbreaking ceremony was held in November 2014.[21]

AirAsia X claims to have one of the lowest operating costs of any long-haul airline around the world, with a Cost per Available Seat-Kilometre (CASK) of US$0.0351 in 2015, or US$0.0240 excluding fuel costs (allowing them to undercut conventional long-haul fares by between 30-50%).[25] To reduce costs, they also co-ordinate many aspects of their operation together with larger affiliate AirAsia (Asia's largest low-cost carrier), such as staff requirements, fuel hedging, marketing and computer systems, which allows them to take advantage of economies of scale that would not be normally available to an airline of their size.


The entrance of two new major investors has given the company financial aid for future expansion plans.

As of 14 February 2008, 48% of AirAsia X is owned by Aero Ventures; a venture of Tony Fernandes and other prominent Malaysians, as well as Air Canada's Robert Milton. Virgin Group own 16% and a further 16% is owned by AirAsia. Bahrain-based Manara Consortium, and Japan-based Orix Corp have taken a 20% stake in AirAsia X for RM250 million.[26]

AirAsia X was listed on the Bursa Malaysia (the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange) on the 10th of July 2013, with the shares offered to individual and institutional investors at MYR1.25 (approx. US$0.39) per share. The float raised MYR988 million (US$310 million, as of 2013 exchange rates) and valued the company at MYR3 billion (US$940 million). Shares initially performed poorly, closing unchanged on the first day of trading to post, according to Bloomberg, the "second-worst trading debut in Malaysia" that year.[27] As of the 10th of October 2016, shares of AirAsia X Berhad were trading at MYR0.39, giving the company a market value of MYR1.62 billion (US$390 million at 2016 exchange rates).

According to the Financial Times, as of June 2015, the largest shareholder of AirAsia X Berhad was Tune Group (a private investment vehicle owned by Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Meranun), which owns a 17.8% stake. AirAsia Berhad (which Tune owns 19.1% of) holds a further 13.8% of AirAsia X while Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Meranun also hold personal stakes, of 2.1% and 8.1% respectively.[28] Lim Kiann Onn, a founding director and shareholder of other Tune Group businesses such as Tune Money and Tune Hotels, is the 4th largest shareholder, with 4.47% of the company.[29]

Affiliate airlines[edit]

Indonesia AirAsia X[edit]

Main article: Indonesia AirAsia X

Indonesia AirAsia X is a joint venture of AirAsia X. It serves Indonesia AirAsia's regularly scheduled long haul international flights from Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport. Indonesia AirAsia X was planned to launch its first destination to Melbourne on 26 December 2014[30] but was delayed till 18 March 2015 due to delays in route approval from Australian authority.[31] Instead, Taipei became Indonesia AirAsia X first destination by launching service on 30 January 2015.[32]

Thai AirAsia X[edit]

Main article: Thai AirAsia X

Thai AirAsia X is a joint venture of AirAsia X in Thailand. Thai AirAsia X is Thailand’s first long-haul low-cost airline and began operation since its maiden service from Bangkok to Incheon, South Korea on 17 June 2014 and followed by Tokyo Narita and Osaka Kansai in Japan.[33]


AirAsia X Airbus A340-300 approaching London Stansted Airport

Future expansion[edit]

In June 2011, the airline received government approval to begin service to six cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Osaka, Jeddah, Istanbul, and Sydney.[34]

AirAsia X also plans to fly to Xi'an, Wuhan and Shenyang in the People's Republic of China.[35] In 2009, the airline announced that it planned to serve Africa.[36] AirAsia X also announced plans to expand to Japan and further into Australia.[37]

On 12 January 2012, AirAsia X withdrew services to Delhi, Mumbai, London, and Paris, citing high fuel prices, "exorbitant" taxes, and weak travel demand.[38] The airline also announced that it will fly from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney effective 1 April 2012. Shortly after the announcement of the Sydney launch, the airline is also looking to serve Adelaide as the airline continues to expand in Australia.[39] The airline also withdrew its service to Christchurch, New Zealand on 31 May 2012 after only a year of launching service.[40] At the same time, the airline announced that it will increase services to Perth and Taipei from June 2012.[41] On 22 June 2012, the airline launched service to Beijing, its third Chinese destination and at the same time terminated service to Tianjin.[42] AirAsia X also suspended service to Abu Dhabi many years prior due to unprofitability.

On 8 October 2012, AirAsia X announced with 7 days notice that they would withdraw service to Tehran citing "challenging economic and business conditions",[43] which drew criticism[44] amidst allegations of poor service and deceptive practices.[45]

In July 2013, AirAsia X executed an IPO on the Bursa Malaysia, raising $310 million. The international law firm of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman advised on the transaction.[46] The capital will be used to further expand routes, especially if the airline gets Thai authorities’ approval for an air operator’s certificate to operate flights from Bangkok to South Korea and Japan. AirAsia X is also planning to make a long haul airline in Indonesia. It is in the process of getting an Air Operator Certificate for that purpose.[47]

In early December 2013 Fernandes, speaking at the London School of Economics, said London services would resume within eight months using Airbus A330-300 twin engined aircraft models.[citation needed]

On 15 July 2014, CEO Azran Osman-Rani and Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Brégier, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for 50 A330-900neo aircraft at the Farnborough Airshow in the UK. The aircraft reduces fuel consumption by 14% per seat over their current A330-300's, AirAsia X will become one of the first operators for the new type. “We have been encouraging Airbus to launch this new version of the A330 for some time now. I am pleased that they are offering this choice and bringing us the aircraft we truly need to develop further our low cost long haul model. We are 100% sure that the A330neo will be quite unbeatable in its size category and we look forward to enabling more people to fly further more often aboard this great aircraft,” said Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, Co-Founder and Director of AirAsia X.[48]

Air Asia X plans to reintroduce in the near future, routes from Kuala Lumpur to Paris and London. It resumed its Delhi service in early 2016 and returned to New Zealand in March 2016 with the Kuala Lumpur-International to Auckland service, via Gold Coast. It will resume services to Tehran on 21 June 2016 with the thrice weekly Kuala Lumpur-International to Tehran-Imam Khomeini service.[49]

It commenced its new route to Sapporo in October 2015 and plans to launch Honolulu in 2016 after delays in route approval in 2015.[50][51]

On 15 December 2014, AirAsia X announced a firm order for 55 Airbus A330-900neo aircraft, five more than the original 50 aircraft the airline signed a Memorandum of Understanding for at the Farnborough Air Show in July 2014. This is the largest single order to date for the best-selling A330 Family and reaffirms AirAsia X’s position as the biggest A330 airline customer worldwide, having now ordered a total of 91 aircraft.[52]


An AirAsia X Airbus A330-300 Taking off at Perth Airport

As of May 2016, the AirAsia X fleet consists of the following aircraft:[53]

AirAsia X Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
P Y Total
Airbus A330-300 31[2] 12 365 377
Airbus A330-900neo 66[54]
Entry in service: 2018.
Airbus A350-900 10
425 Entry in service: 2018.
Total 31 76

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • On 10 March 2015, AirAsiaX Flight 223 from Sydney bound to Kuala Lumpur was forced for emergency landing in Melbourne, following a failure in flight system, after the pilot entered a wrong coordinate into the flight computer. Initially, the captain did not noticed the problem until the airplane was airborne and started heading to the wrong direction. The pilot unsuccessfully tried to troubleshoot the problem and turned back to Sydney, however, due to weather conditions in Sydney, the airplane was guided to Melbourne instead.[55] There was no casualties in this incident. However, this incident exposed a vulnerability of computer flight system that might be failed due to a human error.[56]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Join BIG! AirAsia BIG Loyalty Programme". Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "AirAsia X takes final two A330s before neo arrival". Retrieved 2 June 2016. 
  3. ^ AirAsia gets FIC nod for RCPS subscription Archived 31 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "X-citing deal for air travellers". The Star. 6 January 2007. 
  5. ^ "Cut-price airlines landing like flies". The Sydney Morning Herald. 18 May 2007. 
  6. ^ "Jetstar terminates Melbourne-Hawaii route". 8 August 2007. 
  7. ^ "Fly from Australia to Malaysia for A$31". The Age. Melbourne. 10 August 2007. 
  8. ^ "AirAsia to fly to Victoria, Queensland". News Limited. 10 August 2007. Archived from the original on 28 October 2007. 
  9. ^ "Branson to take 20 per cent stake in AirAsia". The Age. Melbourne. 7 August 2007. 
  10. ^ Daniel Breen. "Billionaire Branson and AirAsia X move into Avalon". The Geelong Advertiser. Retrieved 1 July 2011. 
  11. ^ "AirAsia X Makes Long-Haul Flights More Affordable". Retrieved 14 June 2016. 
  12. ^ Welcome to everyone can fly[dead link]
  13. ^ "A smooth debut for FAX". Daily Express. Kota Kinabalu. 2 August 2006. Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. 
  14. ^ "About FAX, FAX Told". Retrieved 1 July 2011. 
  15. ^ "Commuters express disappointment over rural air services offered by FAX". Borneo Bulletin. 11 August 2006. 
  16. ^ "Be Sensitive To Rural People's Needs, FAX Told". Bernama. 25 August 2006. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. 
  17. ^ "FAX: Let Firefly take over". The Star. 12 April 2007. Retrieved 30 July 2010. [permanent dead link]
  18. ^ "Rural services back to MAS". The Star. 26 April 2007. Retrieved 30 July 2010. [permanent dead link]
  19. ^ The Brunei Times Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  20. ^ "AirAsia X Berhad • Annual Report 2014" (Archive). AirAsia X. Retrieved on 2 February 2015. p. 20 (PDF p. 49/234): "REGISTERED OFFICE AirAsia X Berhad (Company No. 734161-K) B-13-15, Level 13 Menara Prima Tower B Jalan PJU 1/39, Dataran Prima 47301 Petaling Jaya Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia" and "HEAD OFFICE LCC Terminal Jalan KLIA S3, Southern Support Zone KLIA, 64000 Sepang Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia"
  21. ^ a b c "RedQuarters set to become AirAsia’s global HQ by 2016 " (Archive). The Star. November 15, 2014. Retrieved on September 2, 2015.
  22. ^ "AirAsia denies funding issues in moving HQ to klia2" (Archive). The Malaysian Insider. 2 June 2014. Retrieved on 28 August 2014.
  23. ^ a b "AirAsia’s new HQ to be completed by end-2015." ABN News. 4 June 2014. Retrieved on 29 August 2014.
  24. ^ Lim, Levina. "AirAsia: Delay in moving HQ to klia2 not due to funding issues" (Archive). The Edge Financial Daily. Tuesday 3 June 2014. Retrieved on 29 August 2014.
  25. ^ "AirAsia X Berhad". Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  26. ^ "AirAsia X Chooses Manara & Orix As New Investors". 14 February 2008. [dead link]
  27. ^ Koon, Chong Pooi (2013-07-10). "AirAsia X Has Second-Worst Trading Debut in Malaysia". Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  28. ^ Bland, Ben (28 June 2015). "AirAsia CEO pledges to prove airline's critics wrong". The Financial Times. Retrieved 10 October 2016. 
  29. ^ "AirAsia X major shareholders to take up rights issue - Business News | The Star Online". Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  30. ^ "AirAsia launches long-haul operation in Indonesia". Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  31. ^ "Indonesia AirAsia X plans March 18 launch for Melbourne-Bali". Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  32. ^ "Indonesia AirAsia X revises launch date to late January". ch-aviation. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  33. ^ Post Publishing PCL. "Thai AirAsia X to take to the skies in June". Retrieved 9 May 2015.  External link in |work= (help)
  34. ^ Horton, Will (28 June 2011). "AirAsia X cleared to serve the world-except Sydney – Wings Down Under". Flightglobal. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  35. ^ "AirAsia X expanding despite flying rights halt". Retrieved 30 July 2010. 
  36. ^ "- ANN". Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  37. ^ "AirAsia X May Add 60 More Planes, Open Hubs in Japan, Australia". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. 29 September 2011. Archived from the original on 9 January 2013. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  38. ^ Associated Press (12 January 2012). "AirAsia X to withdraw flights to Europe, India – Yahoo!! News". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  39. ^ [1][dead link]
  40. ^ [2][dead link]
  41. ^ [3][dead link]
  42. ^ [4][dead link]
  43. ^ "AirAsia X – To suspend services to Tehran". Archived from the original on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  44. ^ "TTG Asia – Leader in Hotel, Airlines, Tourism and Travel Trade News – KL hotels fret over AirAsia X's Iranian pullout". Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  45. ^ "AirAsia seen riding out unfamiliar rough patch". ABS-CBN News. Agence France-Presse. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  46. ^ Tom Brennan. "Pillsbury Advises AirAsia X on $310 Million IPO". The Recorder. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  47. ^ Calderon, Justin (19 March 2013). "". Inside Investor. Retrieved 19 March 2013.  External link in |title= (help)
  48. ^ "AirAsia X to order 50 A330neo". airbus. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  49. ^ "Aviation Iran - World's First Iranian Aviation News Website in English". Retrieved 13 September 2016. 
  50. ^ Cameron, Doug (6 April 2015). "AirAsia X Plans Hawaii Flights in November". Retrieved 13 September 2016 – via Wall Street Journal. 
  51. ^ "AirAsia Part 4: AirAsia X pursues turnaround. Delhi to add to Honolulu & Sapporo as new routes - CAPA - Centre for Aviation". Retrieved 13 September 2016. 
  52. ^ "AirAsia X places firm order for 55 A330neo". Airbus. 15 December 2014. 
  53. ^ "AirAsia X Fleet". Retrieved 27 December 2013. 
  54. ^ "AirAsia X switches remaining A330s to re-engined variant". Archived from the original on 9 April 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2014. 
  55. ^ "How one simple mistake turned an AirAsia X flight into a nightmare". 7 September 2016. 
  56. ^ Bianca Britton, for CNN (7 September 2016). "AirAsia flight bound for Malaysia landed in Melbourne after pilot error". CNN. 

External links[edit]