AirAsia X Adds Adelaide as Fifth Australian Destination

After Azran Osman-Rani, Chief Executive Officer, AirAsia X revealed on Twitter last week that the carrier’s latest network growth would see it “continue expansion in existing core markets,” it is no real surprise to hear that the long-haul, low-fare affiliate of the AirAsia Group is to introduce flights to Adelaide later this year.  Australia has been a key market for the carrier with flights already operating to Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

AirAsia X will introduce a four times weekly link between its Kuala Lumpur International Airport base and Adelaide International Airport from October 30, 2013, providing what it describes as “affordable travel” for the AirAsia group of carriers to connect to the capital city of South Australia.  The route will be the only direct low cost service between Asia and Adelaide, and will be operated by an Airbus A330-300 aircraft with a seating capacity for 377 passengers.

“We are thrilled to announce that AirAsia X is finally jetting into Adelaide, which means now every Adelaidian can fly to South East Asia and beyond and vice versa,” said Osman-Rani at the official route launch at the Adelaide Convention Centre this week.  “This new route ensures Adelaidians access to over 80 destinations across 20 countries including Kuala Lumpur, Bali, Osaka and Singapore at affordable prices.”

Australia has been one of AirAsia X’s core markets since it inaugurated flights to Gold Coast in 2007 and according to Osman-Rani the Adelaide route has been a priority.  “Our goal since launching our first Australian service on the Gold Coast in 2007 was to operate in the five major states, and we are proud to have accomplished this within six years.  We are very excited to finally touch down in South Australia and bring some much needed competition to the skies.”

Although the new route will be operated on a four times weekly schedule, AirAsia X has already planned some additional seasonal flights to meet demand and will provide a daily link during peak periods between December 2013 and February 2014. 

The success of this route will be about the strong connection opportunities that AirAsia X and other members of the AirAsia Group can provide in Kuala Lumpur.  Those commencing their journeys in South Australia will be able to fly to a host of destinations from Kuala Lumpur using AirAsia’s Fly-Thru service, which allows guests to easily connect between two different flights via the Kuala Lumpur Low Cost Carrier Terminal without having to worry about checking in twice.  This network includes Chengdu in China; Bali, Jakarta, Medan and Surabaya in Indonesia; Osaka in Japan; Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Langkawi and Penang in Malaysia; Singapore; Seoul and Busan in South Korea; Taipei in Taiwan; Bangkok and Phuket in Thailand; and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam.

“Kuala Lumpur is a gateway hub to a range of other destinations such as Brunei, Siem Reap, Shanghai, Bangalore, Tokyo, Vientiane, Alor Setar, Yangon, Kathmandu, Chiang Mai and Krabi,” said Osman-Rani said.  “Whether you’re after a shopping holiday in Tokyo or Hong Kong, a trekking adventure in Kathmandu or Kota Kinabulu or a beachside break in Bali or Phuket, there’s a destination to suit everyone in the AirAsia group network.”

AirAsia X will be only the seventh carrier to currently offer international flights from Adelaide and will provide additional connectivity options within Asia.  It will compete directly with Malaysia Airlines on the Kuala Lumpur route, while Singapore Airlines (Singapore), Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong) and Virgin Australia (Jakarta) provide alternate links across the region.  Air New Zealand also offers flights to Auckland and Emirates Airline connects Adelaide to its global network via Dubai. 

According to MIDT data, an estimated 538,000 bi-directional O&D passengers flew between Adelaide and destinations across Asia during 2012, with the point-to-point demand between Adelaide and Kuala Lumpur estimated to be around 30,000.  This positions The Malaysian capital as the fifth largest O&D market from Adelaide, a position that is likely to change following the arrival of AirAsia X’s additional capacity and air-fares which will likely stimulate the market.

Interestingly, our analysis shows there were 13 O&D markets across Asia that generated demand to/from Adelaide in 2012 of more than 10,000 passengers.  Alongside the markets directly served these included Phuket (around 43,000 O&D passengers), Bangkok (26,000), New Delhi (23,000), Shanghai (20,000), Ho Chi Minh City (19,000), Manila (17,000), Beijing (17,000), Tokyo (16,000) and Seoul (10,000).

AirAsia X is the low-cost, long-haul affiliate carrier of the AirAsia Group that currently flies to destinations in China, Australia, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Nepal and the Middle East. The airline currently serves 15 destinations across Asia (Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul, Busan, Taipei, Beijing, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Shanghai and Kathmandu), Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Gold Coast) and the Middle East (Jeddah) with a fleet of 13 Airbus A330-300s, each with a seat configuration of 12 Premium Flatbeds and 365 Economy seats.