GEORGE TOWN, May 16 (Bernama) -- AirAsia X, the long-haul, low-cost affiliate carrier of AirAsia Group, is banking on new routes and enhancing network connectivity to achieve profitability this year.
AirAsia X Bhd acting chief executive officer Benyamin Ismail said the airline would likely fly to Hawaii this year and broaden its connectivity in Japan and the Middle East.
"There are few new routes we are looking at and one of the most important ones we are working on is Hawaii. We have submitted an application to the US Department of Transportation.
"I think what is most important now is that we need the support of Malaysia Airports because the authority in the US have to audit the airport (KLIA2). Once we get that approved, our target is to launch it in November," he said.
He was speaking to reporters after the launch of the AirAsia Travel Fair 2015 here by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng on Saturday.
Benyamin said AirAsia X would also broaden its connectivity by launching another Japanese destination as well as that of the Middle East.
Currently AirAsia X flies to four destinations in Japan, namely Osaka-Kansai, Sapporo-Shin-Chitose, Tokyo-Haneda and Tokyo-Narita, while in the Middle east, it is only connected to Jeddah.
"These new routes will help in terms of profitability, but the main thing is to make sure that all our current routes make money. So, what we had done for the last three or four months was to reduce capacity to increase the load factor," he said.
Meanwhile, AirAsia Bhd chief executive officer Aireen Omar said the airline is looking at and exploring international connectivity to add more flights and new routes, particularly to China.
"It's something we are looking at how we can create more international connectivity to all our secondary hubs and positioning Penang as one of the key hub within AirAsia Group," she said.
On this year's outlook, Aireen said AirAsia is positive despite challenges as it has the competitive advantage due to its intensive network as well as established operations across ASEAN countries.