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AirAsia X foresees 2019 a bigger and better year - Benyamin

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SEPANG: 2018 was not their best year, but 2019 will be bigger and better for AirAsia’s long-haul affiliate, AirAsia X.

AirAsia X plans to cater to 9 million passengers with a load factor of 83 to 84 percent and increase the capacity especially to routes in North Asia and Australia in the year 2019, according to its CEO, Benyamin Ismail.

“I think I’m quite excited. There’s a lot of new routes coming up towards the first half of the year. So I think 9 million is quite a good target,” he said in an exclusive interview here recently.

In a report by OAG, the world’s largest network of air travel data, AirAsia X was ranked among the lowest in terms of arrival on time performance (OTP) rate in 2018 with 37.7 percent arrivals delayed more than 15 minutes.

Benyamin stated that besides the departure OTP rate being fairly good at 81 percent and is equivalent to most airlines, he added that the arrival OTP rate was at a low of 63 percent.

“This is due to uncontrollable circumstances such as heavy traffic in certain airports like China, where there is a long wait time upon arrival which causes the delays in arrival times,” said Benyamin.

Commenting on Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad’s (MAHB) RM73 Passenger Service Charge (PSC) paid by passengers for all non-ASEAN destinations, Benyamin said it not only highly affects the Malaysian tourism, but also AirAsia as a low-cost airline.

“The fees imposed does not meet the standards of an airline that operates at a two-star rated airport as compared to a five-star rated airport,” said Benyamin, adding that he plans to address this issue by firmly fighting MAHB, with the help of the Ministry of Transport (MOT) to ease the tax fee burden for all passengers flying to and from Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2).

Article by Astro's On Air Talents (Class of BOAT 8), Saraya Mia Sirisambhand, Mohamad Aswad Jalil, Ahmad Areef Amran, Syasya Jamal, and Nurul Aisha Halim.

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