AirAsia CEO says plans to resume flights to Europe next year

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes said on Thursday that AirAsia X , the long-haul arm of Asia's biggest budget airline, plans to resume flights to Europe next year.

Speaking to reporters in Sydney about the carrier's operations, Mr Fernandes also said the search for passengers from crashed flight QZ8501 will be called off within days.

In a renewed push into Europe, Mr Fernandes said that London will be the likely first destination for AirAsia X flights. It previously operated Airbus A340s to London and Paris, but cancelled those services in 2012.

MR Fernandes said the search for the remaining missing passengers on Flight QZ8501, which crashed into the Java Sea in stormy weather on Dec 28, would likely be called off within the next seven to 10 days. "Probably then we'll have to close it down," Mr Fernandes said.