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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: The low-cost airline model could soon go long-haul. Air Asia is the biggest low-cost carrier in the East. It’s planning cheap flights between Kuala Lumpur and London. We get more from Stephen Beard in London.
STEPHEN BEARD: Air Asia reckons there’s a huge pent up demand for low-cost flights between South-East Asia and Europe.
It says the traffic will surely be two way. Europeans want to lounge on white coral sand beaches. Asians would love to stroll past Big Ben in the rain.
Air Asia’s projected fares are certainly tempting. The roundtrip between London and Kuala Lumpur could be as low as $80.
But analyst Kieran Daley says the low cost model won’t work well on long hauls. For one thing the carrier won’t be able to use their aircraft intensively.
KIERAN DALEY: Once you’ve flown your airplanes once the UK to Malaysia you can’t typically just turn round and come back again because you’d be flying at the wrong time of day.
Britain’s Environment minister may not be happy about Air Asia’s plans. He has just launched a stinging attack on the aviation industry for failing to curb its carbon emissions. He called the U.S. airlines’ attitude “a disgrace.”
In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.
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