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European and Asian Lo-Cost Airlines to Form Global Network

News, 02 January 2007


KUALA LUMPUR: South-east Asian newspaper The Star on Monday revealed plans to launch what its progenitors hype as the planet's "first global budget airline network".

Given that two of its three founding fathers - Sir Richard Branson and Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, respective bosses of Virgin Airways and the UK's second largest airline easyJet - are enobled grandmasters of the soundbite and PR opportunity - hyperbole is inevitable.

The two UK airlines have joined with AirAsia's Tony Fernandes to form a Malaysia-based alliance that reportedly will first fly between Kuala Lumpur and ManchesterUK, and also to Amritsar in India.

Other likely destinations are the Chinese cities of Hangzhou near Shanghai and Tianjin near Beijing. But the real icing on the cake would be Europe-to-Australia routes using Kuala Lumpur's low-cost airport as the venture's Asian hub.

According to the hypefest, fares on the Europe-China routes could be as low as £14 ($27; €21). AirAsia is the continent's largest and most profitable budget carrier.

Data sourced from MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff