Travellers will be able to fly to Asia for under £100 on a new no-frills service from London to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
AirAsiaX, backed by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, will fly from London Stansted airport to Kuala Lumpur's international airport five times a week from March. About 40 per cent of the seats will be priced at £99, according to the airline, with the average fare expected to be £150 – well below a typical rival fare of £500.
Passengers will be able to connect with low-cost flights to Hong Kong, Thailand or Australia, slashing the cost of a holiday to Asia's popular tourist destinations. Onward flights cost as little as £40 to Bali, £98 to Hong Kong and £248 to Melbourne.
Like the European no-frills operators, AirAsiaX will operate a basic service, charging passengers £3 or £4 for meals and £5 for an entertainment system. The parent company AirAsia – known as the Ryanair of the Far East – will operate an Airbus 340 for the 12-hour trip. Booking began at midnight and can be made through the Air Asia website.
Tony Fernandes, the chief executive of AirAsia, said the route was the realisation of a long-held ambition to open up affordable access between Europe and states in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
The flights will operate between 11 March 2009 and 24 October 2009.