AirAsia X suspending Abu Dhabi

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AirAsia X, the long-haul low-cost associate of Malaysia's AirAsia, is suspending its Kuala Lumpur-Abu Dhabi service from next month due to poor demand.

"It has been a tough few months for us on this route and we've learnt some lessons from it," says CEO Azran Rani-Osman, whose carrier started operating on the route in November.

"If we can't go big into a destination or region, it is tough to sustain it. We need to suspend this service, rethink the strategy for the Middle East, and some back with more aircraft and destinations in the future."

He adds that this year, the carrier will focus on existing operations in China, India and Australia. "We are not going to stretch ourselves in the Middle East, Japan or South Korea. We would rather consolidate what we have and build on it with new services and added frequencies," he says.

In China, it plans to add one more destination this year. The carrier now flies to Tianjin and Chengdu in China.

In India, where the carrier announced earlier this week that it would fly to Mumbai and New Delhi, it plans to add two more destinations in the next year.

Over in Australia, the carrier is still hoping to get rights to Sydney. It already flies to the Gold Coast, Melbourne and Perth.

It has no immediate plans to fly to Paris, despite saying last year that the city was on the cards. Instead it will increase services to London Standsted around June, says Azran.

"If we are not ready for Europe, we don't want to stretch it," he adds. "The aim is to add depth instead of breadth this year."