AirAsia Group is considering using its AirAsia Japan (DJ, Nagoya Chubu) subsidiary to serve the mainland United States given plans to use AirAsia X's network have hit a roadblock after the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) downgraded Malaysia to IASA Category 2.

"We have many ways of getting to America; we have AirAsia Japan. So do not worry, there are plenty of options to expand into America," Group Chief Executive Tony Fernandes said at a press conference, as reported by Malaysian media.

Fernandes added that the group's only service to the United States - AirAsia X's daily flights from Kuala Lumpur Int'l to Honolulu via Osaka Kansai - will be maintained as the FAA's decision does not impact existing services. However, no new routes to the US can now be launched until the FAA returns Malaysia to Category 1 status.

The group had plans to launch more routes via Japan to the United States with fifth freedom rights on the transpacific sector.

For now, AirAsia Japan does not operate long-haul flights and has just three narrowbody A320-200s. AirAsia Group had no plans of launching a long-haul "X" unit in Japan. Besides AirAsia X in Malaysia, the group currently also encompasses Thai AirAsia X (XJ, Bangkok Don Mueang) and charter carrier Indonesia AirAsia X (XT, Denpasar). However, it cannot use Thai AirAsia X for its future US routes as Thailand is also a Category 2 country. For its part, Indonesia had its Category 1 status restored in 2016.

Meanwhile, flag carrier Malaysia Airlines (MH, Kuala Lumpur Int'l) has been affected by the downgrade in a more immediate manner as US airlines are no longer allowed to codeshare with their Malaysian counterparts.

Malaysia Airlines had a codeshare agreement with fellow Oneworld member American Airlines (AA, Dallas/Fort Worth) covering services from Kuala Lumpur to Penang, Tokyo Narita, London Heathrow, and Hong Kong Int'l. As the ban only works one-way, Malaysia Airlines can continue to codeshare on AA-operated international routes from Hong Kong, London Heathrow, Tokyo Narita, and Seoul Incheon to destinations in the US and select domestic services.

The codeshare between Malaysia Airlines and American Airlines was suspended on November 11.