AirAsia X bags award for world's best new airline

Kuala Lumpur: AirAsia's low cost, long-haul affiliate AirAsia X has bagged an award for the world's best new airline.

AirAsia X was named the winner of the "Best Newcomer" award at the 2008 Budgie World Low-Cost Airline Awards held at the London Queen Elizabeth II Centre. Malaysian AirAsia X beat British Airways subsidiary airline Open Skies, as well as Jin Air and K-Rabi.

AirAsia X shareholders include the Virgin Group. The airline was commended for its new business model and excellence in launching its services across Asia Pacific, receiving the highest nominations among all entries. 

Since its inaugural flight to Australia's Gold Coast in November 2007, AirAsia X has announced daily flights to Hangzhou, China, Melbourne and Perth, and plans to launch services to London sometime next year. 

AirAsia Group was shortlisted in four categories, including "Best Low Cost Airline", "Best Low Cost Airline: Asia Pacific" and "CEO of the Year".

Receiving the award at the ceremony, Azran Osman-Rani, CEO AirAsia X, said: "It is a great honour for us to receive this award and be in the same peer group with other winners such as Southwest Airlines, EasyJet and Virgin Blue. The recognition of our pioneering model proves that Malaysian companies can succeed in the global marketplace. We're proud to keep the Jalur Gemilang flying high." 

This year's awards were judged by renowned industry consultants including John Hanlon, secretary-general of European Low Fare Airline Association, John Strickland, CEO of JLS Consulting, Jay Sorensen, CEO of IdeaWorks and Peter Harbison, Executive Director of Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation.