Japan visa blow for AirAsia X

Long-haul low-cost carrier(LCC) AirAsia X is likely to drop plans to fly to Japan next year due to tough visarules, ChannelNews Asia has reported. Several Japanese airports have reportedlywelcomed the Malaysian carrier, but Japan’s restrictive entry systemlooks likely to scupper the airline’s plans.

“Give me a chance now and I’d rather fly to SouthKorea, the Middle East and India… other countries are competing for Malaysiantourists,” AirAsia X Chief Executive Officer Azran Osman-Rani bullishly toldAFP in an interview. “To get a Japanese visa, aMalaysian has to visit the embassy in Kuala Lumpur twice and even then, the person is not sure avisa will be issued,” he continued.

AirAsia X has planned to startservices to Japan in 2009,with demand thought to be high in Japan, following cuts in Japaneseservices by full services carriers such as Qantas.

In addition, Osman-Rani wouldnot confirm whether the long-awaited services to the UK would be launched by year-end.”I am still looking at it”, he said.