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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 January 2007, 07:48 GMT
Air Asia 'to form UK alliances'
Air Asia plane
Air Asia is based in Kuala Lumpur
Malaysian airline Air Asia says it will make a "huge announcement" on Friday, amid reports it may form an alliance with the UK's Easyjet and Virgin Group.

A spokeswoman for the budget airline said Malaysia's transport minister would attend the press conference in Kuala Lumpur.

Her comments came after press reports said the three wanted to start low-cost flights between the UK and Asia.

Virgin would not say whether it had held talks with Air Asia.

Owned by UK entrepreneur Richard Branson, it has two main airlines, London-based Virgin Atlantic and Australian low cost carrier Virgin Blue.

But budget airline Easyjet says it has not discussed any alliance with Air Asia.

Air Asia's founder and chief executive Tony Fernandes has already spoken about his ambition to start long-distance, low cost services.

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