Malaysian-based AirAsia X announced on Tuesday that the Federal Aviation Administration has granted it certification to fly within the U.S. The Asian low-cost carrier is the first of its kind to receive authorization to operate scheduled passenger, according to the airline.
AirAsia X Group CEO Datuk Kamarudin Meranun said in a statement, “This is a major milestone for AirAsia X. Our expansion up until now has concentrated on Asia, Australia and the Middle East, and we are excited about our first foray into an entirely new market as we look beyond Asia Pacific.”
AirAsia X, the sister airline to low-cost giant AirAsia, delivers affordable long-haul international flights with its fleet that is made up of Airbus A330 aircraft.
The airline stated, “AirAsia X is currently considering flights to several US states including Hawaii as part of its route expansion plans,” but has not yet revealed when it will arrive in the country, or in which order it will enter the markets.
The CAPA Center for Aviation predicts that the airline’s first routes to the US will be from its base in Japan to Hawaii, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, or San Francisco. The CAPA also posits the possibility of an ultra-long-haul route from Malaysia.
AirAsia X’s announcement comes a day after Emirates Airline announced its own U.S. route. Emirates, the world’s largest long-haul carrier, plans to pass a daily flight route between New York City and Athens. Emirates president Sir Tim Clark said in a statement, “We are pleased to be able to help meet a strong consumer need long neglected by other airlines, and we would like to thank the authorities and our partners in both the US and Greece for their support of the new route.”
AirAsia X joins Norwegian Air and Iceland’s WOW Air in a wave of low-cost, long airlines to arrival in the US market.
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