Sunday, January 31, 2010

AirAsia X Performs U-Turn On Abu Dhabi Hub

The announcement came as a shock to a lot of people, including me.

What is really happening?

AirAsia

We’re suspending our services to Abu Dhabi after 21 February. We will resume it later once we are able to have a more economical aircraft to service this route. We remain optimistic about the potential of Abu Dhabi, and we believe with the right aircraft, the economic upside can be very promising, especially if we can pair up Abu Dhabi with another onroute destination. For affected guests, you will be notified by email on your options. You can also opt to write to airasiax@airasia. com



Summary

When AirAsia X was first dreamt up, the vision of a long haul low cost travel was cheered – so why has the dream now evaporated?

Analysis

AirAsia X had initially identified using Dubai International Airport as the regional “hub-of-choice” to deploy its ridiculously over-crowded Airbus A330-300s on flights to Europe and beyond.
Quickly realising that Emirates would absolutely annihilate this fanciful child-like fantasy, AirAsia X switched attention to the neighbouring emirate of Abu Dhabi – again, hoping it’d be able to set up a hub to poach business into Europe and Africa.
And now, AirAsia X has “ruled out” setting up a hub there.
Someone fetch the tissues…
Abu Dhabi is not just the capital of the UAE. It is not just the political powerhouse of the GCC nations. It is also home to Etihad Airways – an airline that has more metal on order than the fleets of Air Asia and Malaysia Airlines combined.
Etihad is racing quickly to match Emirates growth and hunger for continued expansion. There simply is no way that the ruling elite would have allowed a cheapskate airline to set up home in its backyard.
Abu Dhabi Airports Co. may have liked to have seen a new entrant, but Etihad calls the shots and any remote threat of traffic dilution by a sub-par operator was never going to be considered acceptable, let alone digestible.
Expect AirAsia X to drop Abu Dhabi as quickly as it changed its posturing about a base there.
Unlike Emirates, Etihad has a growing fleet of Airbus A320s that it hopes to expand and suck in traffic from around the region – it will not allow its customers to then board an AirAsia X jet to end up some 40 miles away from Central London by landing in the slums of Luton Airport.
"When we fly to London, 30 percent of our passengers from London Stansted take a connecting Ryanair or EasyJet flight to so many places around Europe," says AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman Rani.
And you can bet your buck that zero percent of Ryanair or Easyjet passengers will ever use AirAsia X to travel to Malaysia while Etihad and Emirates offer superior products, prices and a greater choice of frequency.
Low cost long haul travel is not a thing of the future and it’s unworkable – particularly when like AirAsia X, you have to make a pit-stop before you even arrive.
Nice tryexpect AirAsia X to up sticks from Abu Dhabi and end up in lowly Muscat or Salalah before long.
Not that it’ll make their pipedream any more of a reality, naturally.

3 comments:

AsiaShoppingTreks said...

Most recently, my wife and I were stranded in Abu Dhabi when AirAsiaX announced they were canceling service to/from Abu Dhabi in January this year. They didn’t notify us, their stranded passengers, until Feb 10th. Neither did they offer any accommodation nor answer our emails asking for help. We had to get back to Malaysia on our own. They won’t reimburse our additional expenses either.

They said they would refund the Abu Dhabi/Kuala Lumpur portion of our trip, but it will take them 30-50 days to process the refund. Such an attitude!

Watch out for these guys. If you are considering using AirAsiaX, It might be a good idea to develop a plan B... just in case.

AsiaShoppingTreks said...

Most recently, my wife and I were stranded in Abu Dhabi when AirAsiaX announced they were canceling service to/from Abu Dhabi in January this year. They didn’t notify us (their stranded passengers), until Feb 10th. Neither did they offer any accommodation nor answer our emails asking for help. We had to get back to Malaysia on our own. They won’t reimburse our additional expenses either.

They said they would refund the Abu Dhabi/Kuala Lumpur portion of our trip, but it will take them 30-50 days to process the refund. Such an attitude!

Watch out for these guys. If you are considering using AirAsiaX, It might be a good idea to develop a plan B... just in case.

Naseem said...

Devoiding a budget airline from a needy sector is not the answer, let there be competetion and let people make the choice.