AirAsia X expects to launch services on the Kuala Lumpur-Osaka-Hawaii route in the first quarter of 2017.
Speaking to journalists during World Routes, carrier chief executive Benyamin Ismail says that FAA approval has taken longer than expected, but should arrive soon.
Services will initially run four-times-weekly, but this will grow to daily in the summer season. The carrier has fifth freedom privileges throughout Japan, except for Tokyo.
He reports other new parts of the network are also doing well. Ismail says the carrier’s three-times-weekly Tehran service is enjoying 94% load factors since starting in June.
“Iran was more of a strategic decision,” he says. “We wanted to go in first before the Iranians start really growing their Boeing and Airbus fleets. It's been quite a success.”
There is strong point-of-sale traffic in Iran itself, with Iranians travelling to Malaysia.
“Malaysia is the most Islamic country in the region,” says Ismail. “It's a great destination for them.”
In addition, the carrier has upped capacity on Australia routes.
“We added capacity is because we knew that yields had moved up,” he says. “We've also invested quite a bit in the brand, and we have a team in Australia focused on it. Melbourne, and pretty much all our ports, have gone to double daily.”
AirAsia X serves four destinations in Australia: Melbourne, Perth, Gold Coast, and Sydney.
Ismail also touched on the reasoning behind AirAsia X’s decision to launch a three-times-weekly service to Mauritius on 4 October.
“My network team came and said this is something we should look at. Air Mauritius flies to certain key markets, and their fares are really high to China, Singapore, Malaysia - really high yields. What we noticed is that Mauritius is no longer a European destination, but a Chinese destination. It's the second most visited island after Maldives for the Chinese.”
Ismail expects 40% of the passenger load for Mauritius to come from Chinese transfers, and the balance from Southeast Asia.
Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that AirAsia X operates 20 Airbus A330-300 aircraft.
Source: Cirium Dashboard