5 December 2022
Like a Back To The Future movie, AirAsia X is restarting its first-ever route between Kuala Lumpur and Australia’s Gold Coast.
It seems that not a day goes by in Asia-Pacific without a new route launching or an old one resuming, and it’s happened again. In a real back-to-the-future moment, AirAsia X announced the return of its first-ever route to the Gold Coast, Australia’s mecca for sun, surf and sand.
More AirAsia X A330s headed for Australia
The Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) to Gold Coast Airport (OOL) service recommences on February 15th, starting as a three-weekly service leaving KUL on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Flight D7 200 is scheduled to depart KUL at 23:20 and arrive on the Gold Coast at 09:35 the next day, with the returning D7 201 flight leaving at 10:50 for a 17:25 arrival in Kuala Lumpur. Those times apply between February 15th and March 24th, with everything moving ten minutes earlier between March 27th and October 28th.
AirAsia X (AAX) has wasted no time rebuilding its Australian network, with flights from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney (SYD), Melbourne (MEL) and Perth (PER) now back in full swing. From April to November, AAX carried more than 30,000 passengers between Malaysia and Australia. With the Gold Coast resuming, plus extra frequencies to Sydney and Melbourne launched this month, passenger numbers are set for another big jump.
The Gold Coast is a key holiday destination for domestic and international visitors, with connections around the country from OOL and the nearby Brisbane Airport (BNE). AAX describes the Gold Coast as the Gem of Queensland, although others refer to it as Tinseltown, and CEO Benyamin Ismail said there had been an overwhelming demand for the route to resume. Ismail added:
“We are thrilled to be coming back to the stunning Gold Coast as the first and only low-cost carrier flying direct. As our first-ever route which launched in November 2007, this is an incredibly special announcement for AAX. Fifteen years ago, the Gold Coast was the catalyst for the birth of AirAsia X and our Australia expansion, which quickly became one of our most popular core markets.”
Extra capacity is on the ground
In terms of aircraft, fleet data from ch-aviation.com shows that AAX is operating only five of its 12 Airbus A330-300s. Six inactive aircraft are listed as being parked at Kuala Lumpur Airport, while the other is in maintenance at Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) in the Philippines. The data also lists 15 Airbus A330-900neos, 20 A321XLRs and one A330-300 to be delivered.
Assuming that the six parked A330-300s can be returned to service relatively quickly, AAX will have plenty of capacity at its disposal for even more expansion. The wider AirAsia Group is also seizing opportunities to grow its Australian market, with more capacity coming onboard in time for the peak Christmas and summer holiday season. Qantas alone expects to carry around 8 million people in the December-January vacation period, and with load factors up in the high 90% levels, finding an affordable seat is almost impossible.
Thai AirAsia X has joined the party by launching its first-ever direct services between Bangkok-Sydney and Bangkok-Melbourne (MEL). This means AirAsia group delivers six mid-range routes to Australia, complemented by the short-haul airline, Indonesia AirAsia, increasing Perth-Bali services to double daily to meet heavy demand.
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