AirAsia X delays launch
A lack of widebody aircraft in the leasing market has prompted Malaysian long-haul low-cost start-up carrier AirAsia X to delay its planned launch. Shareholder Tony Fernandes, who is also chief executive of short-haul operator AirAsia, says AirAsia X has not been able to find widebodies to lease in time for a July launch and now plans to launch in December. The airline plans to start with leased aircraft and later add purchased widebodies.
New carrier for Sri Lanka
New Sri Lankan low-cost carrier Mihin Lanka has secured its air operator's certificate and intends to soon launch scheduled international services. The airline has been established by the government, which already has majority ownership of SriLankan Airlines. Mihin will start with a dry-leased Fokker F27 and a wet-leased Airbus A320, serving Trivandrum and Trichi in India and Dubai in the UAE.
Thai drops New York non-stop
High fuel prices are prompting Thai Airways International to drop non-stop services to Los Angeles and New York in favour of one-stop flights via Seoul or Shanghai. Thai claims load factors have been high on the non-stop services from Bangkok but says it is not able to operate them economically on a non-stop basis at current fuel price levels. It has yet to confirm when the changes will be made.
Taiwan changes foreign cap
Taiwan's Cabinet has approved changes to aviation laws to allow more foreign ownership of local airlines. The changes still require approval from the Legislative Yuan. Under the Civil Aviation Bill revisions, foreign investors will be able to own up to 49.9% of a local airline or locally registered aircraft, up from one-third. Individual foreign shareholders will be restricted to maximum stakes of 25%.
China Southern expands
China Southern Airlines plans to launch services this year from Guangzhou to at least nine international destinations. These include Delhi in India, Dubai in the UAE, Luanda in Angola, Phuket in Thailand, Sapporo and Sendai in Japan, Siem Reap in Cambodia, Vientiane in Laos and Yangon in Myanmar.