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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 January 2007, 22:34 GMT
UK airlines deny Air Asia tie-up
Air Asia plane
Air Asia was launched in 2001 with two planes
UK airlines Easyjet and Virgin have denied reports that they are to join forces with Malaysia's Air Asia in a global low-cost tie-up.

It followed widespread speculation that the trio planned to launch no-frills flights between the UK and Asia.

The rumours were triggered by Air Asia saying it planned to make a "huge announcement" on Friday.

Air Asia chief Tony Fernandes has previously spoken of the huge potential for a budget long-haul airline.

Media reports now suggest that Air Asia could be preparing to announce a tie-up with an airline closer to home - such as Flyasian Xpress - but still for budget flights.

Easyjet spokesman Toby Nicol firmly denied the speculation, saying: "We are not joining any alliance."

Virgin Atlantic spokesman Paul Charles added: "It's nothing to do with us. Air Asia clearly have their own plans and it is up to them to announce them."

AirAsia, which started in 2001 with two planes, now has a fleet of 50 aircraft and flies to destinations in Southeast Asia and China.


SEE ALSO
Air Asia 'to form UK alliances'
02 Jan 07 |  Business
Regulators block Virgin America
28 Dec 06 |  Business
Easyjet expands as profits soar
14 Nov 06 |  Business

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