Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

More AirAsia X cut-price Gold Coast fares coming

AirAsia X launched services to the Gold Coast and Kuala Lumpur earlier this month.
AirAsia X launched services to the Gold Coast and Kuala Lumpur earlier this month.

AirAsia X is promising cut-price fares from Auckland that it used to launch services to the Gold Coast and will offer low cost flights to Bali and Thailand this winter.

And the low cost airline says new planes it has on order will allow it to fly to Europe and offer fares half the price of full service carriers.

AirAsia X is the long-haul arm of AirAsia, based in Malaysia.

When it launched services to the Gold Coast and Kuala Lumpur earlier this month, fares to the popular Australian holiday spot started at $99 one-way and to Malaysia started at $249.

Chief executive Benyamin Ismail said the average fare it had sold across the Tasman was about $150.

He said it would continue to offer slashed promotional fares during the year to stimulate the market and compete against other airlines, Jetstar and Virgin Australia, that fly the route.

The airline would also connect with its services to Bali and Phuket in Thailand although passengers would have to fly through Kuala Lumpur at this stage.

"It's a bit of two stopper but the good thing is the stop in the Gold coast is short - only a 70-minute turnaround so it's quick."

The airline has offshoots in Indonesia and Thailand and it was possible that they could examine direct flights to Auckland if the market demanded them.

Ismail said his airline was something of trailblazer in this market for the wider group. It has 27 A330 aircraft and has on order 55 new generation models of the plane which will allow it to fly from Asia to Europe. This opened up options for New Zealanders to fly through Asia to cities such as London and Paris.

AirAsia X will use an Airbus A330 on the Auckland-Gold Coast-Kuala Lumpur route with what he said was a "dense" seating configuration to carry 377 passengers.

He said passengers in economy pay for all extras and those on the 12 premium flatbed seats get a basic meal and unlimited water.

Younger travellers in particular had latched on to budget flying and were educating their parents.

"It cuts the travel costs by half."

People were saving on the cost of travel to spend on a fancy hotel, said Ismail.

His airline had suffered financial bumps during the past 18 months but the profit outlook for this quarter was better, he said.

It had suffered some reputation damage with the crash of AirAsia Indonesia A320 in late 2014. An inquiry found pilots' reaction to mechanical problem contributed.

The wider airline group had learned from it, said Ismail.

"Every time there are situations that we can avoid, we put it into training."

- NZ Herald

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