Air Asia X eyes more Aussie destinations

air asia airlinesGOLD COAST: Air Asia X plans to add at least one more Australian destination, and possibly several more, to its current flights to the Gold Coast.

The low-cost long haul carrier is in discussions with several potential airports that it could fly to from Kuala Lumpur, Air Asia X CEO Azran Osman Rani said yesterday.

These include Newcastle airport near Sydney, Avalon near Melbourne, and Melbourne-Tullamarine airport, he said.

“We prefer Avalon, but the airport will require upgrades,” he told reporters after Air Asia X’s inaugural flight to the Gold Coast on Friday.

The carrier could fly to its second Australian destination by next September once it took delivery of its new A330 airplanes.

Air Asia X’s maiden flight arrived at Coolangatta International Airport here at 7.55am local time after a seven-hour flight, which was preceded by a grand send-off by senior management of Air Asia, including CEO Datuk Tony Fernandez.

Fernandez said the flight was “the fulfilment of a dream.”

Air Asia X’s sole airplane, a leased A330 with a 315-seat capacity, carried 280 passengers on the flight, out of which 240 were paying passengers, besides guests and staff.

Passengers paid an average fare of RM1,200, including taxes and surcharges, for the Economy and the larger XL seats on board.

The return flight back to Kuala Lumpur, which took off about an hour after arrival, was 70% full.

Since bookings were opened on Sept 29, about 20,000 seats valued at RM15mil have been sold.

New shares will be issued to two additional stakeholders in AirAsia X who will be named at the end of the month, Azran told Bernama.

The new shares will amount to 20% of the existing number of shares, he added.

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