AirAsia X targets 80% load factor within 1 year for new KL-Jeju route

IATA says airlines carried 3.8b passengers on scheduled services last year, a 7% rise over 2015 or 242m additional air trips


AirAsia X Bhd targets 80% load factor and 110,000 passengers within a year for its new Kuala Lumpur (KL)-Jeju Island, South Korea, route.

AirAsia X CEO Benyamin Ismail said the target is based on the volume of Malaysian tourists who visited the island last year.

The airline carries two million passengers from Kuala Lumpur to South Korea annually.

“As it is, we are targeting 80% load factor and 110,000 passengers in the first year of operation,” he said at the route launch in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Benyamin said South Korea is an important market to leverage on and the company has seen tremendous growth through its existing flights to Seoul and Busan, which will only be complemented by the new route to Jeju Island.

“This new route will provide additional over 150,000 capacity annually and will be a significant boost to strengthen business and tourism ties between Malaysia and South Korea,” he said.

The airline also plans to increase its flight frequency to South Korea through its weekly flights to Incheon and Busan from 14 to 18 and four to five times respectively.

The flights to Jeju Island is also expected to increase in the future from four times a week to daily.

The airline will fly this route every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. The inaugural flight will be on Dec 12, this year.

Jeju Island is located 64km south of the Korean Peninsula, known as “the island of the gods”.

AirAsia X, the sister company of AirAsia Bhd, has been expanding its routes and destinations as the Asia-Pacific region continues to register a rise in passenger traffic.

Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced yesterday that airlines carried 3.8 billion passengers on scheduled services last year, a 7% increase over 2015 or 242 million additional air trips.

The association, in its 2017 edition of the IATAWorld Air Transport Statistics, said airlines in the Asia-Pacific region carried the largest number of passengers.

Asia Pacific accounts for 35% of the market or 1.3 billion passengers, an 11.3% rise compared to 2015, followed by Europe with a 26% market share or 992.4 million passengers.

The top five airlines ranked by total scheduled passengers carried (domestic and international) are Southwest Airlines (151.8 million), American Airlines (144.2 million), Delta Air Lines (143.3 million), China Southern Airlines (114.5 million) and Ryanair (112 million).

The Kuala Lumpur-Singapore pairing was the fourth-highest in the world, ferrying 2.8 million passengers, a 3.3% rise compared to 2015.