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Airasia X to Start Central Asia Flights, as Other Low-Cost Carriers Grow Networks

AirAsia X hails the move as a “significant milestone” in its recovery from the pandemic, which saw it undergo business restructuring. 

Airline chief Benyamin Ismail says: “As our first foray into Central Asia, the expansion into the Kazakh market is a strong testament to our vision and determination to explore new territories as well as resuming services to our most popular destinations post pandemic.”

Ismail adds: “The move to introduce direct flights to Almaty is expected to foster significant trade, commerce and education interchange, considering Kazakhstan’s status as the wealthiest country in Central Asia.” 

AirAsia X is the second carrier in recent weeks to expand into Central Asia. Compatriot Batik Air Malaysia announced plans to fly to Tashkent in Uzbekistan from December. The weekly flights are operated using Airbus A330 aircraft. 

Other AirAsia units have also announced a series of network ramp-ups. Thai AirAsia will boost its domestic frequencies for the year-end peak period, amid an uptick in tourist numbers. 

In all, the airline will add 18 daily flights across its domestic network – bringing its total domestic flights to 105 a day. 

From its Bangkok Don Mueang hub, domestic points with a capacity boost include Chiang Mai (from 11 to 13 flights a day); Phuket (from 11 to 13 flights a day); as well as Krabi (from five to six flights daily). 

Indonesia AirAsia, meanwhile, announced two new routes that will commence next year. It will link Bali with Lampung on Sumatra from 17 January, with flights operated four times a week. The airline says the route is the sixth new domestic route it has launched this year. 

On the international network, the low-cost operator will launch thrice-weekly flights between Jakarta and Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia from 6 February. 

Another low-cost operator which is growing its operations is Australia’s Jetstar, which has unveiled plans to “significantly expand” flights from its Perth hub in 2024. The move will see Jetstar base four aircraft in Perth – including its new long-range A321neos – as well as set up a new pilot base. 

The airline says it intends to launch direct flights to Singapore, Phuket and Bangkok, but did not disclose a timeline. There are currently no direct links between Perth and Phuket or Bangkok. 

Jetstar chief Stephanie Tully says the move is one of the airline’s more significant network expansions in recent years, and comes on the back of “strong demand” for low-fares to leisure destinations in Southeast Asia.

Tully adds: “These three new routes will open up low-fares travel right across Southeast Asia for our west-coast customers, including easy connections via Singapore onto Jetstar Asia’s extensive network to 13 destinations throughout Asia.” 

Separately, South Korea’s Asiana Airlines will launch seasonal flights between Seoul and Melbourne in December. The twice-weekly flights will be operated by A350s, and commences 26 December. 

Philippine Airlines will increase its frequencies to Toronto, adding one more weekly flight to the Canadian city from 5 April next year. It will operate the A350 on the non-stop service. 

Source : Flight Global