Fri, Apr 24, 2009 - Page 11 News List

AirAsia to launch low-cost Taipei flights from July


AirAsia Bhd, the largest low-cost carrier in Asia, yesterday said it would launch flights between Taipei and Kuala Lumpur on July 1, with promotional fares as low as NT$888 (US$26.26) one-way.

The flights will be operated by AirAsia’s low-cost long-haul carrier affiliate, AirAsia X, with five direct flights weekly. AirAsia’s low fares are available only on its Web site.

The promotional fares do not include an administration fee of NT$440 and a departure tax of NT$330. Passengers will have to pay extra for any food and drink that they consume on board.

“Amid the market downturn, it is now the most suitable time for AirAsia to enter the Taiwanese market,” AirAsia regional commercial chief Kathleen Tan (陳凱霖) told a media briefing in Taipei yesterday.

“AirAsia will use its low fares to expand into new markets and also stimulate the tourism market,” Tan said.

The Malaysian budget airline said it had planned to launch the Taipei-Kuala Lumpur route last year, but had to wait for the Ministry of Transportation and Communications’ approval and the delivery of 200 new Airbus aircraft.

The Taipei-Kuala Lumpur route will be served by its fleet of Airbus 330s, Tan said.

The Sepang, Malaysia-based carrier is aiming for a passenger load factor of 75 percent for the Taipei-Kuala Lumpur route. AirAsia has an average passenger load factor of 80 percent, Tan said.

Two weeks ago, AirAsia was named the world’s best low-cost airline by Skytrax, a British consulting firm.

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