AirAsia reached a major milestone this week when it touched down in the US for the first time.
Flight D7001, operated by long-haul unit AirAsia X, landed at Honolulu International Airport today (Thursday 29 June 2017), following a flight from Kuala Lumpur via Osaka, marking the low-cost carrier’s first foray into the US. Services will now run four times a week.
“We are here to democratise air travel for everyone so flying long-haul would no longer be a luxury only a few could enjoy,” said AirAsia X’s chair, Rafidah Aziz. “This landmark route to Hawaii is a bold new chapter in that quest to help more people travel farther for less.
“But this is just the beginning, and soon our guests will be able to enjoy flights to even more destinations in the US as we continue to grow our international footprint,” he added.
Under the new schedule, AirAsia X’s flights will depart KLIA2 every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, arriving in Honolulu at 1230 the same day. The flight, which crosses the International Date Line, includes a two-hour stop in Osaka. The return services then leave Honolulu at 1600 on the same days of the week, and land back in KL at 0400 the next morning, with a 1.5-hour stop in Osaka.
AirAsia X will operate the route using its 377-seat, two-class Airbus A330 aircraft, which includes a limited number of flat-bed seats in the premium cabin.
AirAsia received Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) clearance to fly to the US in January 2017, enabling it to operate services to any destination in the country. At the time, the airline said it is “considering flights to several US states”. Future destinations could include cities on the west coast of mainland USA, such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, which would be more feasible following the arrival of AirAsia X’s new fleet of fuel-efficient Airbus A350 or A330neo aircraft, which are due to enter service from 2018 onwards.
The airline is also expected to resume flying Europe again in the near future. It is now five years since AirAsia X suspended its London and Paris services, but group CEO Tony Fernandes has hinted that a return to the continent could be on the cards.