AirAsia X is adding service to Melbourne and Perth in Australia and returning to Auckland in New Zealand from Nov. 1, increasing the carrier’s network to 13 routes.
The LCC served all three destinations from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) before the pandemic but is making some changes to the operations on its return.
In the Melbourne market, the airline will resume flights to the city’s main international gateway Melbourne International (MEL), rather than flying to Avalon Airport (AVV). AirAsia X operated flights to MEL until late 2018 when it switched AVV, located about 50 km from Melbourne’s CBD.
The Auckland (AKL) route will also operate via Sydney (SYD), instead of being served nonstop.
All three routes—Kuala Lumpur-Perth (PER), Kuala Lumpur-Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur-Auckland via Sydney—will be served three times per week using Airbus A330-300s. However, AirAsia X said it plans to gradually increase frequencies to daily by the first quarter of 2023 to help meet “strong pent-up demand.”
“In 2019, we flew over a million guests to both countries, which shows that Australia and New Zealand are important markets for us, and we connected the same number of Australians and New Zealanders to Malaysia and across Asean,” AirAsia X CEO Benyamin Ismail said.
“As the world reopens and travel restrictions ease, we are confident these new services will prove popular.”
Melbourne Airport chief of aviation Jim Parashos welcomed the return of AirAsia X. He said: “With a significant network beyond Kuala Lumpur, AirAsia X provides a one-stop service into much of India and South East Asia, which is particularly valuable for international students or Victorians looking to visit friends and family overseas.
“AirAsia X’s decision to return to Melbourne Airport highlights the value travelers and airlines place on convenience as well as price.”
AirAsia X is currently flying two routes, serving Delhi (DEL) and Seoul Incheon (ICN) from KUL. However, further resumptions are planned over the coming weeks, including adding flights to Tokyo Haneda (HND) and Sydney. In June, the airline also said it hopes to return to the London market after a 10-year hiatus.