From 30 October 2016, Air Asia X will commence flights from Kuala Lumpur to Barcelona using an Airbus A330. The flights will operate via Istanbul, and tickets will also be available for purchase on the tag flight from Istanbul to Barcelona.
Less than a week after Air Asia announced their route, Singapore-based Scoot followed up with a new flight to Europe of their own! Scoot will commence 4x weekly flights from Singapore to Athens using a Boeing 787 Dreamliner from 20 June 2017. To celebrate the launch, Scoot announced Economy sale fares for just $369 one-way from Perth to Athens. Fares from Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast to Athens were $419, and ScootBiz sale fares were also available.
The cheap fares on offer certainly look appealing. However, as with all flights on low-cost airlines, it’s important to remember that the advertised prices will not include things like baggage, meals or seat selection. According to one member, luggage and meals could add as much as $318 to the cost of a return Scoot flight to Greece.
Going to Europe I need checked luggage – that’s +A$188 return. Meals and luggage is +A$318 return. Not that special.
Once the extra expenses are taken into account, these cheap airfares may work out roughly the same price as a sale fare on a full service airline. For example, Qatar and Etihad have offered flights to Europe for as low as $1,300 in recent months.
But these Scoot and Air Asia X fares could prove attractive to travellers that don’t want to return on the same ticket. Low-cost airlines do not penalise for booking one-way flights.
Athens is a popular destination during the European summer, causing some members to question whether the service will operate on a seasonal basis down the track. But both of Air Asia’s new European destinations appear to be good choices. Barcelona is a popular leisure destination, as well as a hub for low-cost airlines. There is also a current gap in the Kuala Lumpur-Istanbul market caused by the recent withdrawal of Malaysia Airlines from the route.
IST is probably a good choice, as MH have recently pulled out of IST, and there is probably good chance of snaring IST originating traffic as well as Asia originating traffic …. although there has been talk of reduced demand to Turkey with the various issues the country is facing.
Air Asia X & Scoot will be the only low-cost airlines flying all the way from Australia to Europe. However, it is already possible to fly to Europe by using a combination of low-cost carriers. Jetstar and Cebu Pacific also offer cheap flights from Australia to Asia. And budget carriers Eurowings and Norwegian Air already operate between Asia and Europe.
Air Asia X will also launch direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Mauritius in October. The Malaysian carrier has previously flown to London and Paris, however the routes were unprofitable and both destinations were abandoned in 2012 after just three years.
Read more about Air Asia’s new flights to Istanbul & Barcelona HERE.
You can also find out more about Scoot’s new route to Athens HERE.