AirAsia X touched down in New Zealand today (23 March 2016) for the first time in almost four years.
The low-cost carrier’s new daily flights from Kuala Lumpur to Auckland via the Gold Coast got underway on Wednesday, and the inaugural flight was welcomed at Auckland Airport with a water cannon salute and traditional Powhiri ceremony.
AirAsia X’s chairman Rafidah Aziz and CEO Benyamin Ismail were onboard the inaugural flight.
“We are very happy to be in Auckland today, and we would like to thank everyone from New Zealand who has helped to make the commencement of this route possible,” said Ismail. “We look forward to connecting more people from across Asia and Australia into this beautiful city of Auckland through the vast route network in the AirAsia Group.
“I am proud to say that the flight into Auckland today operated at over 95% flight load and we are confident that we will continue to see strong loads moving forward,” he added.
The new service will now operate daily, departing KL at 2140 and arriving in the Gold Coast at 0750. The flight will then resume at 0905, arriving in Auckland at 1530. The return services will then depart New Zealand’s largest city at 1700 and arrive in the Gold Coast at 1725. After a slightly longer wait in Queensland, the flight then departs the Gold Coast at 2140 and arrives back in KL at 0400.
AirAsia X will deploy its 377-seat Airbus A330-300 aircraft on the route, offering 12 premium flat-bed seats and 365 economy class seats.
The airline suspended its previous direct service between KL and Christchurch in 2012, but the new route via the Gold Coast will help it target the strong trans-Tasman market as well as traffic to and from Asia.