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  • AirAsia X to see 'best year' in 2019: Fernandes

AirAsia X to see 'best year' in 2019: Fernandes

AirAsia X Group co-founder Tony Fernandes claims that long-haul, low-cost carrier will see its most successful year in 2019.

In a series of tweets, Fernandes says that the company is "the most undervalued airline", and that it has "done all the hard work".

This includes having cut "silly routes", renegotiated [aircraft] leases, increase utilisation and cut costs. Moreover, he adds that its competitors (namely state-owned carrier Malaysia Airlines) have "stopped being subsidised".

"It's airlines that were burning tax payers' money that caused AirAsia X's biggest problem. That’s ended."

Among its associates, Fernandes describes Thai AirAsia X as "roaring", while Indonesia AirAsia X has "[stalled] for the moment".

It appears that Fernandes, along with co-founder Kamarudin bin Meranun will be taking a more hands-off approach after AirAsia X named Nadda Buranasiri as its group chief executive in November last year. Buranasiri was the former head of Thai AirAsia X.

In its latest results for the third quarter ended 30 September 2018, Indonesia AirAsia X swung to an operating loss of MYR22.3 million ($5.38 million), reversing the MYR5.41 million operating profit last year. Thai AirAsia X reported a 44% rise in operating loss to MYR18.9 million.

The carrier had previously announced that due to a challenging operating environment, Indonesia AirAsia X will cease scheduled operations this month, and operate as a non-scheduled commercial airline thereafter.

Meanwhile, Fernandes adds that the year ahead will also see the carrier make a push into developing its ancillary segment, and describes the next decade as "super exciting" with the delivery of Airbus A330neos, as well as A321LRs.

Flight Fleets Analzyer lists that the AirAsia X Group has 70 A330neos on order.

In a previous interview with FlightGlobal, Fernandes reaffirmed that the carrier is studying the possibility of converting some of the on-order A330neos to the smaller A321LR.

“The A321LR offers legs that the A320 family hasn't had before. It's an interesting option. When you start a new route with an A330 equipped with 377 seats, which is our capacity, it's a lot of seats to fill. If you phase it in with an A321, or you add an addition frequency with an A321, it begins to look interesting. We’re still in the early days of that study, but I want to tell the investment market that this is something we’re looking at.”

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