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Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

AirAsia X flights worth $176m to NZ

Benyamin Ismail, CEO of AirAsia X Berhad (centre left) with John Subritzky, New Zealand High Commissioner to Malaysia (centre right) announcing its latest route to Auckland from Kuala Lumpur via Gold Coast, in the company of Matt Ritchie, Trade Commissioner to Malaysia and Brunei, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (2nd from right) and Peppy Adi-Purnomo, Southeast Asia and India Development Manager, Auckland Airport (3rd from right).
Benyamin Ismail, CEO of AirAsia X Berhad (centre left) with John Subritzky, New Zealand High Commissioner to Malaysia (centre right) announcing its latest route to Auckland from Kuala Lumpur via Gold Coast, in the company of Matt Ritchie, Trade Commissioner to Malaysia and Brunei, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (2nd from right) and Peppy Adi-Purnomo, Southeast Asia and India Development Manager, Auckland Airport (3rd from right).

Auckland Airport says the new AirAsia X services will be worth about $176 million to the economy.

The budget airline is extending its daily Kuala Lumpur service to the Gold Coast on to Auckland in March and this will add an extra 275,000 seats to Malaysia and the popular Queensland holiday spot every year, said Norris Carter, Auckland Airport's general manager - aeronautical commercial.

The year-round service will start on March 22 using an A330-300 aircraft.

READ MORE:
AirAsia X flies back into NZ

AirAsia X's network covers South East Asia, North Asia, India, Australia and now New Zealand.

Its key hubs are located in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta, Bali, Bangkok, Delhi, Bengaluru, Manila and Tokyo.

"Malaysia, India and Indonesia are AirAsia X's key markets. Over the last three years the numbers of annual international arrivals from these three tourism markets have increased by 10 per cent 21 per cent and 11 per cent respectively. We expect this new AirAsia X service between Kuala Lumpur and Auckland will further grow visitor numbers, especially for free independent travellers," he said.

Latest yearly totals show 34,000 visitors from Malaysia, 41,000 from India and Indonesia, 18,000.

"The new service will also mean more affordable travel to Asia for Kiwis, and increased capacity to the Gold Coast," said Carter.

Fares went on sale today with promotional prices starting at $99 one-way to the Gold Coast and Kuala Lumpur from $249.

AirAsia X is the longhaul part of of AirAsia, based in Malaysia, and flew to Christchurch for about a year before pulling out following the 2011 earthquakes.

Sean Berenson, Flight Centre NZ general manager product said Australia and the Gold Coast in particular, had always been a popular holiday destination for Kiwis and the re-introduction of AirAsia X on the route was good for travellers.

"The announcement will allow for more choice on this route, particularly during peak travel periods, something we welcome at Flight Centre given the rise in demand we've seen ourselves."

In December last year Flight Centre NZ saw an almost 20 per cent increase in bookings to the sunny state (via Brisbane and Gold Coast airports), compared to the same month in 2014.

- NZ Herald

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