After a successful launch of operations during the first quarter of this year, Indonesia AirAsia X, the Bali-based long-haul, low-cost business of the AirAsia Group, has revealed plans to double its network to four destinations with the addition of flights to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Sydney, Australia from Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar.
The airline inaugurated flights in mid-January 2015 when it started flying a weekly link between Denpasar and Taipei Taoyuan, in Taiwan. This was initially scheduled to be the airline’s second route but delays securing certification from Australia’s regulator meant its launch was brought forward after the proposed Denpasar – Melbourne service was delayed. The route is now being flown on a four times weekly basis.
Indonesia AirAsia X finally received approval from Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to commence flights to Melbourne at the start of March and a twice weekly schedule was introduced from March 18, 2015, three months later than originally intended. From April 1, 2015 this was boosted to a five times weekly frequency.
Now, Kamaruddin Meranun, group chief executive officer of AirAsia X, Indonesia AirAsia X has confirmed that following the success of its initial two routes plans are under discussion to add links between Denpasar and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Sydney, Australia, although no launch dates or schedules have yet been confirmed.
According to the executive, Indonesia AirAsia X’s base at Ngurah Rai International Airport provides two clear growth opportunities: capacity to develop and a strong point-to-point base demand. “Bali gives Indonesia AirAsia X a distinct advantage as the airport holds a potential to cater for greater passenger capacity and moreover, Bali has always been a favourite holiday destinations from around the world,” he said.
“Bali is developing into an important hub in the region with its connectivity continually expanding. AirAsia plans to grow the existing hub network from Bali to 16 direct onward destinations in Asia and this will be further developed over time,” he added.
Indonesia AirAsia X currently operates two Airbus A330-300s configured in a 377-seat two-class arrangement with a 12-seat Business Class cabin and space for 365 passengers in the main Economy cabin. It is expecting to add a further three A330-300s to its fleet to support its network growth.
The Sydney market being proposed by Indonesia AirAsia X will bring a fourth carrier onto this route alongside Garuda Indonesia, Virgin Australia and Australian low-fare carrier Jetstar Airways, a route that was also served by Air Paradise International (up until December 2005), Australian Airlines (up until June 2006) and Qantas (during 2006). There have been no regular non-stop services between Denpasar and Jeddah over the past ten years, according to data from OAG Schedules Analyser.