AirAisa to stop Mumbai flights-all you need to know!

AirAsia has announced it will discontinue ex-Mumbai flight effective April 30 (last flight out on April 29th 2018) [News]
While real reason is not known and may never be announced, some possible reasons could be as below:
1. High Airport fees- Mumbai airport fees are expensive- there’re hardly any slots left and there’s high competition among airlines to get more slots in Mumbai. Air Asia always prefers to operate from cheaper airports and paying lots of money to airport doesn’t sit will in their low cost strategy.

2. Wrong Aircraft type?
Air Asia X is operating a long haul A330 on Mumbai-KUL-DPS route. This route can be easily met with an A320. A330 can be used more profitably if flown elsewhere (to somewhere long distance away- like Japan, Korea, Australia or China. May be AirAsia thinks it will be more profitable to fly somewhere else than flying to Mumbai. They need to maximize returns from existing assets

3. Poor Load factor?
Low demand could be another reason, though we can’t be sure if flights to Mumbai were flying empty. An A330 is a wide body plane with 12 premium flatbed seats and close to 365 economy seats- twice as much as an A320 with about 180 seats total. Mumbai has excellent connectivity to rest of the world and main reason people booked Air Asia was because of low fare. But if you add 20 kg baggage fee and meals, the price difference under normal conditions wasn’t too great. Many would have preferred full service airlines. May be the load factor was relatively low, forcing airline to reconsider Mumbai.

So why is Air Asia not replacing 330-300 with a 320-200? Easy to say, but no airline keeps an aircraft idle. I am sure all Air Asia’s close to 200 strong A320 fleet is busy flying around the world. Providing one to Mumbai means they’ve to cut flight to some other destination to free up the aircraft- this isn’t any easy decision. Plus gate fee, landing fee and other fees are expensive in Mumbai and works out on in economy of scale.

Options provided by Air Asia to affected customers and their pros and cons!

If you're affected by Air Asia X Mumbai flight cancellation, airline has given 4 options- below are the pros and cons
Re-route through other cities from where Air Asia operates at no extra cost (fly to your destination out of BLR, Kochi etc)
If your trip was just till KUL or DMK you can fly out from Pune

If you had a really really cheap ticket then this might be worth evaluating
No connection from Pune to any destinations apart from KUL and DMK
You’ve to spend extra on travel from Mumbai to alternate city like BLR/COK etc n back
Like if you had Mumbai-Melbourne return ticket for 30k, no way you can get a better deal. Rescheduling to Cochin-Melburne  or Goa-Melbourne for free n spending another 5k for Mumbai-Kochi/Goa might still be good option
Take refund to credit account
Saves on convenience fee on your next booking
Has an expiry date-you may not get a sale or cheap fares immediately and may lose more

Since all flights from Mumbai is suspended, you can only book from other cities- may not be cost effective overall

Unused/partially used amount will be lost 100% after expiry date
Useful if you’re very regular flyer and is very very likely to book again in near future from some other cities
Reschedule to before April 29
Good option if everything else works for you (leave, hotel booking etc)
Hotels and other expenses may now cost more
Opt if pre-poning is convenient for you
Take full refund
Rebook at your convenience
Takes 30 days (claimed)
Not sure if there’ll be some deductions towards bank charges
No compensation for other indirect loss like hotel etc
Best Option

Below are some of the alternate options for those who were relying on Air Asia for their travel plans
  • Air Asia operates from Pune to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur but doesn’t seem to be operating onward flights from rest of the world via KUL or DMK. Not sure why.
  • Air Asia operates to several international destinations from Goa.
  • Malindo Air flies to Mumbai and offers connectivity to various destinations via its hub in KUL. Malindo is slightly expensive than Air Asia but they are a full service airline and price includes baggage, food and other services which cost extra with Air Asia. [More: Malindo vs AirAsia *
  • Fly to Kochi/Chennai/Trichy and fly out internationally- Flights out of Kochi, Trichy or Chennai are lot cheaper compared to ex-Mumbai flights. So one option is to take a domestic flight to these cities and fly international from here. Not too convenient, but can save several thousand rupees on a long distance flight.
  • Please note that there’re two airports in Kuala Lumpur- KLIA1 and KLIA2. [Read: KLIA 1 vs KLIA2] Most full service airlines fly to KLIA1 and budget airlines operate from KLIA2. Unless you’ve a Malaysia Visa you can’t go from KLIA1 to KLIA2 or vice versa. So you can’t fly to Kuala Lumpur on a full service airline and connect to air Asia flight to else where, unless you’ve Malaysia visa. This is another concern for Mumbai residents as well as airlines- code share between full service and budget airline gets complicated.
Air Asia X- now everyone can fly extra long, but not from Mumbai
Changes are normal. We can't really blame Air Asia for discontinuing the service to Mumbai. Yes, it is inconvenient, but airlines will have their reason too. Airlines constantly take various decision to cut cost or maximize revenues. Air Asia has recently decided to fly to a cheaper airport- Avalon, some 75kms from Melbourne, instead of flying to a more popular Tullamarine airport. Air Asia has discontinued its service to Mauritius few years ago.  Chennai is back on Air Asia India’s map- now direct flights operate from Chennai to Bhubaneshwar and Bengaluru. Hopefully Air Asia will return to Mumbai when second airport gets ready.

Are you affected by this cancellation? What are you planning to do? Do share through comments below.

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