Malaysian-based carrier AirAsia has just been named the World’s Best Low-Cost Airline by Skytrax for the ninth year in a row. Later this month, its long-haulin’ sister airline (is that a country song?) AirAsia X will launch its first flight to the United States with a route to Hawaii.
Don’t expect a bigger expansion, though: Back in January, when AirAsia X announced that the FAA had certified it to fly into the U.S., it was poised to join airlines like Norwegian Air and Iceland’s WOW Air as part of a wave of low-cost, long-haul airlines ogling the U.S. market. But yesterday, CEO Tony Fernandes backpedaled in a series of tweets, as Skift reported, writing that “ultra-long haul is not relevant now.” While AirAsia X will continue to jump between Japan and Hawaii, it has shelved plans to enter the U.S. domestic market, leaving the expansion to the bigger guys. It’s too bad, because Norwegian and WOW don’t offer a low-cost option to Asia, and the market is undoubtedly eager for one.