Sometimes even I can’t believe it myself. Just over a year and a half ago, AirAsia X was just an idea. An excel spreadsheet and word document business plan. Not just any idea – one that industry experts from around the world proclaimed to be impossible, unachievable and downright crazy.
Well, the young AirAsia X team didn’t know any better and weren’t aware of these ‘limitations’, so we just went ahead and did it! Raised funds, got our first plane (Semangat Sir Freddie), got our license, started flying to our first long-haul destination (Gold Coast), got more planes – which allowed us to turned profitable (phew!), and launched the world’s longest low-cost flights to London!
For me, its been one looooooong adrenaline rush. An incredible high (and lots of painful, punishing lows along the way too!) and a perpetual buzz! Spend a typical day in our office with our team and you’ll see this madness.
In many ways, the X in AirAsia X is a perfect symbol – depicting, in a singular, powerfully emotive letter, the x-tremely challenging context, x-citing product, and x-traordinary team that’s made it possible for so many to travel to see x-otic faraway destinations never dreamt possible before. Tony likes to describe us as ‘AirAsia on steroids’. Spot on, dude!
X is about extremes. Blazing new paths. We started doing pre-booked hot meals and assigned seating right from the start, even when it was supposed to be against the low-cost model. Now, big brother has since adopted these services. We’ve also ventured into in-flight entertainment systems (X-CITE!) and XL premium seats, breaking more ‘rules’. (Watch out for XL seats on steroids – we want to introduce full lie-flat beds next year!).
X is different. X is in-your-face. X is an attitude, a lifestyle. We’ve been big believers and supporters of active sports and music – from promoting and sponsoring surfing and marathon racing, to backing home-grown music artistes (Estrella, SCTS, Sasi the Don – Joe Flizzow’s dream of performing in London!) to spread their talent to global markets. X is our D.N.A. X is our oxygen. X is the force that flows deep inside us.
For the aircraft spotters and enthusiasts, you’ll know that our official airline call-sign is “Xanadu”. I love this call sign! Its so different from all the other boring airline call-signs. Early on, we weren’t sure, and Captain Han and I decided on the call sign by flipping a coin between this and a more conventional name. Destiny spoke, and we’ve not looked back since!
We named our first two brand new A330 aircraft “Xuberance” and “Xhilaration!” – depicting the utter joy we felt when we got to play with shiny new metal!
The A340 aircraft flying to London was named “Xcalibur”. My fave. Arthur’s legendary sword cutting away at high fares to Great Britain!
We’ve got more new planes coming (at least 23 more new A330s and one more A340) and I’d love to open it to all of you to suggest cool names for them.
This year, we expect to pick up 3 new A330s, and Sumi and Shaku have suggested “Xploration”, “Xpedition”, and “Xcursion”. Good theme of spreading our wings to new markets. What do you think?
These names don’t have to be limited to a single word. Or even a word in the dictionary. As long as it has a cool “X-Factor”!
So fire away – we’ll be giving out free return flights to any AirAsia X destinations for cool names that we’ll use for the new planes.
And…. we’ll even have your name immortalised on the aircraft itself – outside on the body and inside the cabin! So c’mon y’all – Hit me with your best shot!