Just while I was trying to get over the loss of American Airlines ORD-DEL, the bad news seems to be just starting to roll in. Just today, Air Asia X, the long haul carrier of the low-cost Air Asia group, decided to pull out of India and Europe. Air Asia used to operate an A330 service to Mumbai and Delhi from Kuala Lampur, and an A340 service to Paris and London. They recently scaled down these services in the Winter 2011 schedule.
Now, with effect from February 1, 2012 Air Asia X will stop flying to Mumbai, and from March 23, 2012, the Delhi service will stop. Why? Its the economy, and the high fuel prices, and the low tourism industry, and the high navigation and airport charges. What else? The visa issues between the two countries. Earlier, Indians could get into Malaysia using a visa on arrival. That facility has been withdrawn. Also, people travelling to India seem to have issues on the visitor visas with the government deciding that no one could re-enter within 6 months of the last trip. Air Asia also states that airport charges are out of reach for their low cost model.
Paris Orly and London Gatwick will also see withdrawls of service from 31st March 2012. The EU Carbon Tax is a culprit here, and also the high cost of oil. Also, its the economy, stupid! No one wants to go to Malaysia on a low cost carrier these days.
Do note that Air Asia (AK) continues operations to India on their A320 service to smaller bases like Trichy.
I guess, I am bracing for impact now. If I travel to Malaysia this year for the Formula 1, I think I’ll save it for next year when Malaysia Airlines will be on the oneworld alliance then.
There is a silver lining in all this bad news by the way. A few less people in the immigration queues and a little less competition to get a seat in a lounge! Don’t feel bad like me!
- American discontinues its only flight to India, what is next?
- Malaysia Airlines Business Class companion tickets from India all of 2012