Restructuring Malaysian long-haul, low-cost operator AirAsia X is to resume scheduled passenger services in February for the first time since the pandemic.
AirAsia X will restore scheduled flights, initially operated weekly, from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney on 14 February.
AirAsia X chief executive Benyamin Ismail says: ”Without any domestic routes AAX has been significantly affected by the pandemic. We now see light at the end of this long tunnel and we are working hard to operate again in all of our key markets.
”As we anticipate the gradual reopening of international borders around the world in 2022, we are delighted to return to Australia first, as one of our most popular markets. This new weekly service for guests marks a significant milestone for the resumption of our commercial services and will contribute to our growth post-restructuring.
“We look forward to announcing additional new services soon,” he adds.
Cirium schedules data shows AirAsia X was serving Sydney twice-daily in January 2020, prior to the pandemic. It was one of four Australian destinations the airline served from Kuala Lumpur.
AirAsia X has been hard hit by the pandemic and in November last year secured crucial approval from creditors for debt restructuring. Late last month it completed a proposed share capital reduction.
The carrier has been operating some freight and ad-hoc flights during the crisis and is shifting the balance of its activities to exploit strong demand for cargo.
”Air cargo rates will continue to remain robust as long as planes remain grounded,” Ismail said on 26 January after disclosing a capacity agreement with logistics provider Geodis.
”We intend to capitalise on this opportunity for as long as it lasts. Cargo revenues were 4%t of our total revenues pre-Covid. It has been our lifeline over the past two years. We expect that our cargo operations moving forward will contribute at least 40 to 50% of our total revenue.
“Importantly we are now perfectly hedged to take advantage of the huge surge in air transport demand. Furthermore, passenger revenue will offset any drop in cargo rates when we start normal scheduled flights again.”
Cirium fleets data shows AirAsia X has an active fleet of five Airbus A330s and a further 13 in storage.