AirAsia X mulls Bangkok as second base: reports

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Long-haul budget carrier AirAsia X could open a second base at Bangkok later this year, according to Thai media reports.

Thai newspapers have reported that Kuala Lumpur-based AirAsia X and Thai AirAsia plan to start a joint venture long-haul carrier that would begin operations with two Airbus A330-300s later this year.

The joint venture would be based at Bangkok's Don Mueang International Airport, and would initially fly to destinations in Japan and South Korea, the reports add.

A spokeswoman for AirAsia X says that, in line with its strategy, the carrier is exploring additional hubs where AirAsia already has a presence "to take strategic advantage of the feeder traffic, established operating base, and strong AirAsia brand presence in the market".

With regard to a possible Bangkok base, she says "nothing is confirmed for now".

In a prospectus lodged with the authorities last year for its proposed initial public offering in Malaysia, AirAsia X noted that it was exploring additional bases over the medium term.

The airline is planning to raise M$760 million ($250 million) from the sale of 790.1 million shares, and recent comments from AirAsia group chief executive Tony Fernandes indicate that this may take place towards the end of June.

The airline says that it intends to use the funds to pay down debt and acquire more aircraft to drive its expansion.

Flightglobal Pro data shows that AirAsia X operates a fleet of nine A330-300s and two A340-300s. It also holds orders for 18 additional A330s and 10 A350-900s.