Malaysia's AirAsia X to stop flying to Europe, India

An Airbus A340 AirAsia X passenger jet arrives on its inaugural flight from Kuala Lumpur to Paris Orly Airport February 14, 2011. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Malaysian long-haul budget carrier AirAsia X will stop flying to Europe and India from its Kuala Lumpur base due to soaring taxes and higher jet fuel prices, it said on its Facebook page on Thursday.

“AirAsia X will concentrate capacity in our core markets of Australasia, China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea,” the carrier said.

Air Asia X’s exit from the European market comes after the

European Union implemented an emission trading scheme that put carriers from North America and Asia at a disadvantage their aircraft need to travel a longer distance to Europe.

The withdrawal from London and Paris means AirAsia X will compete more directly with Singapore Airlines' SIAL.SI new long-haul subsidiary Scoot, which will kick of its maiden flight to Sydney in the first half of 2012.

AirAsia X said it will suspend flights to Mumbai from January, while the services to New Delhi, London and Paris will cease in March.

AirAsia X is a separate entity from AirAsia Bhd AIRA.KL, although both were founded by Malaysian tycoon Tony Fernandes.

Fernandes said through his Twitter account that AirAsia Bhd will continue to fly to India. AirAsia X plans to fly to Jeddah and put more flights to Korea, Japan, Australia and China, he added.

AirAsia X said customers who hold bookings after these dates will be offered an alternative travel option at no additional cost

Reporting by Harry Suhartono; Editing by Kevin Lim