AirAsia X has announced plans to return to New Zealand in March, almost four years after it pulled out of the country.
The new service will commence on 22 March 2016, operating from Kuala Lumpur to Auckland, via the Gold Coast. This will also mark AirAsia X’s first dip into the trans-Tasman market.
The low-cost carrier suspended its KL-Christchurch service in May 2012, citing high operating costs.
The new route was unveiled this week at an event attended by John Subritzky, New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Malaysia, Tony Fernandes, group CEO of AirAsia, and Benyamin Ismail, CEO of AirAsia X.
“I am really happy to see another major airline like AirAsia X making its entry into New Zealand, offering all Kiwis competitive fares to visit Asia,” said Subritzky. “I look forward to seeing a higher number of tourists visit New Zealand as a result of the new daily flights to Auckland, boosting our tourism sector and strengthening economic growth.”
The outbound flight, D7206, will depart KL every day at 2140 and arrive in the Gold Coast at 0750 the following morning. After a brief stop, the flight will then resume its journey at 0905, arriving in Auckland 1530. The return flight, D72097, will then depart Auckland at 1700, arriving in the Gold Coast at 1725. It will take off again at 2140 and arrive back in KL at 0400.
Like all AirAsia X’s flights, the Auckland route will be operated using a two-class, 377-seat Airbus A330-300 aircraft, with flat-bed seats in the premium cabin.
“New Zealand is a world-class destination that has always had a special place in our heart,” said Ismail. “We are excited to be back in this beautiful country to launch this service, allowing seamless connection for our guests from all over Asia to Auckland.
“Similarly, New Zealanders will now have more flight options to Gold Coast, as well as access to all the exciting destinations across our extensive flight network in Asia.
“At AirAsia X, our aim is to continue building an extensive list of exciting destinations to our guests and the introduction of this new route is in line with our turnaround initiatives that we believe will bring positive contribution to the bottom line,” he added.
Following the Auckland launch, AirAsia X will serve a network of 19 destinations in nine countries: Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Australia, Saudi Arabia and New Zealand.