CEO Azran Osman-Rani said the decision was down to continued high fuel prices, weakening demand and “exorbitant government taxes”.
“The implementation of the Emissions Trading Scheme and the escalating Air Passenger Duty taxes in UK, which will rise yet again in April 2012, has forced our decision to withdraw our services to Europe,” he said.
Gatwick Airport issued a statement this morning saying: “We are very disappointed to be losing AirAsia X, which has been operating a direct route from Gatwick to Kuala Lumpar since October last year.” The spokesman also said the airline’s decision is “clear evidence that the burden of additional taxation in all its forms is a material consideration for long haul airlines flying to the UK”.
Air Asia X is also stopping flights from its base KL to Mumbai and Delhi, blaming visa restrictions and baggage handling charges. It is offering passengers a full refund or the chance to reroute to another AirAsia X destination, or move to an alternative carrier where available.
This is clear evidence that smaller independent airlines are having issues competing in the market place with increases in fuel prices and margins and load factors under pressure