AirAsia X is finally coming to America.
On January 24, the Malaysian low-cost carrier announced that it has been granted certification from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly into the US.
According to the airline, AirAsia X is the first Asian low-cost carrier to secure authorization to operate scheduled service into the US.
“This is a major milestone for AirAsia X,” AirAsia X Group CEO Datuk Kamarudin Meranun said in a statement. “Our expansion up until now has concentrated on Asia, Australasia and the Middle East, and we are excited about our first foray into an entirely new market as we look beyond Asia Pacific.”
The FAA was not immediately available for comment.
As a sister airline to low-cost giant AirAsia, AirAsia X is tasked with delivering affordable long-haul international flights using its fleet of Airbus A330 aircraft. Both brands are part of Tony Fernandes’ Tune Group.
“AirAsia X is currently considering flights to several US states including Hawaii as part of its route expansion plans,” the airline said in a statement. However, AirAsia X has not gone into detail as to when it will arrive in the US and which markets it will enter first.
The CAPA Center for Aviation believes AirAsia X’s first routes to the US will be from its base in Japan to Hawaii as well as Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and San Francisco. An ultra-long haul route using from Malaysia to the US is also a possibility, CAPA reported.
This isn’t AirAsia X’s first foray outside of Asia. In 2009, AirAsia X launched service from its base in Kuala Lumpur to London before shuttering the route due to high fuels prices in 2012. According to the CAPA, AirAsia X is considering relaunching the London route in 2017 using leased Airbus A350 or Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
In 2016, AirAsia X was named by respected consumer aviation website Skytrax as the sixth best low-cost airline in the world. In addition, AirAsia X took home the Skytrax awards for World’s Best Low Cost Airline Premium Cabin and World’s Best Low Cost Airline Premium Seat. At the same time, AirAsia was named the best low-cost airline in the world for the eighth consecutive year.