The Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) has announced it has awarded AirAsia X (D7, Kuala Lumpur Int'l) air traffic rights to operate nine (9) weekly scheduled return flights between Kuala Lumpur Int'l and London Gatwick effective June 2017.

According to CAPA, to ply the route, the longhaul budget carrier will dry-lease a pair of B777-300(ER)s with their delivery scheduled for the second quarter of the year. The carrier had originally planned to use its incoming fleet of A330-900neo to serve Europe but opted to go the B777 lease route given the upgraded A330's delivery has now slipped to early 2019.

AirAsia X ended flights to Europe back in 2012 citing high fuel prices, "exorbitant" taxes, and weak travel demand. Back then, it used its now retired fleet of A340-300s to serve Paris Orly as well as London Stansted/London Gatwick (at different times).

AirAsia Group chief executive Tony Fernandes has also been quoted in the Thai press indicating Thai AirAsia X (XJ, Bangkok Don Mueang) may also launch direct Bangkok Don Mueang-Frankfurt Int'l, Germany flights this summer as well.