AirAsia X is beefing up its presence in New Zealand to boost sales on flights to the Gold Coast.

The airline started flying from Malaysia to Auckland via the Australian tourist spot in March and wants to lure more Kiwis onto the transtasman route.

AirAsia X CEO Benyamin Ismail said inbound loads were strong but it wanted more traction in the New Zealand market.

One-way fares for under $100 to the Gold Coast were expected to attract more New Zealand passengers.


The airline would hire one or two staff here to handle sales and marketing rather than run it out of its Australian operation.

Ismail said the airline was looking around for brand ambassadors to boost passenger numbers.

Watch: AirAsia X chief explains the return to NZ:

Benyamin Ismail says the budget carrier has identified a gap in the market and will resume services to NZ after a brief foray to Christchurch in 2011-12.

"It's not going to be an overnight - we'll get there in a few months time. We just have to execute."

Planes were around 80 per cent full flying out of New Zealand but he said he would like to see them closer to capacity.

The economics of the route continued to be helped by relatively low fuel prices.
The airline uses an Airbus A330-300 aircraft on the route with a seating capacity of 377.

Ismail said the service had also boosted tourist numbers to New Zealand.

Statistics New Zealand figures show the number of international arrivals from Malaysia spiked in April, the first full month of AirAsia X services.

In April the number of arrivals increased by 44 per cent on the same month last year to 3872 . Of those there were 2688 holiday arrivals, and that was 60 per cent.