Low-cost carrier to move into Haneda

Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia X is to launch a budget service to Tokyo's new Haneda terminal from December, the company confirmed September 21.

Japan will be the 12th destination for the rapidly growing carrier, which already serves regional Asian destinations such as Australia, India, Taiwan, China and Korea.

It will join carriers such as American, Delta, Hawaiian, Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways, Singapore and Air France at the international terminal, expected to open October 31.

The flight will leave  Kuala Lumpur for Tokyo at 14:40 every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, returning the same day at 23:45 (local times).

AirAsia X's CEO Azran Osman-Rani, unveiling cut-price fares from RM99 (€24.30) on the route which can be booked between September 23 and 26, said that the route would contribute significantly to tourism growth.

"We estimate that more than 60 per cent of AirAsia X passengers to and from Tokyo will be first time visitors," he said.

"This will further boost tourism traffic into Malaysia from Japan, which has already shown an increase in visitor arrivals to date in 2010 compared to last year."

Earlier this year, the prime ministers of Japan and Malaysia said in a joint statement that "more efforts should be exerted and further steps taken to facilitate the tourists' movement between the two countries."

Low-cost carriers are increasingly eyeing the Japanese market, which has not seen the influx of cut-price airlines experienced in other parts of the world.

On September 9, All Nippon Airways announced that it would launch a low-cost carrier next year, saying that it was examining international routes such as China and South Korea.

http://www.airasia.com

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