Friday 21 Jun 2024
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GOLD COAST, Australia (April 1): AirAsia X (AAX), a medium-haul low-cost airline, is expecting to benefit from the pullout of regional airlines from the Queensland route, becoming the only airline connecting the Gold Coast, Australia and the Asean region.

Its chief executive officer Benyamin Ismail said that with this development, AAX should take advantage (of the opportunity) by increasing its frequency (of flights) and grabbing a bigger share of the Queensland market.

“Right now, we are the only Southeast Asian carrier flying to Gold Coast, so it would beneficial for us not only to bring Malaysians but also passengers from the region to Gold Coast. I hope we could benefit from that and then, put in more flights and increase our frequency (of flights).

“We have started most of our flights but not at the frequency we did at the pre-Covid level. Today, (Gold Coast) completes our Australia journey but still, it is not at full capacity (as pre-Covid level),” he told reporters after the launch of the resumption of services to Gold Coast, Australia here on Saturday (April 1).

Currently, AAX flies nine aircraft and the company hopes to fly 17 aircraft by February next year, after 15 aircraft are to be in operation by this December.

“Australia is probably the biggest sector for us now. We fly to Perth about five times (per week), to Melbourne about seven (times) and Gold Coast, three (at the moment),” he said.

The inaugural flight departed from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (Terminal 2) at 11.25pm on Friday (March 31) and arrived at Gold Coast International Airport at 9.25am on Saturday, local time. 

The Gold Coast is the airline’s fourth destination in Australia.

With the relaunch of this service, AAX is set to strengthen its position as the leading low-cost airline connecting Australia to Asia’s key destinations and the only carrier flying direct between Malaysia and Queensland.

Queensland Minister of Tourism, Innovation and Sport, Stirling Hinchliffe said AAX is predicted to generate A$45.6 million (approximately RM134.57 million) for the Gold Coast’s visitor economy.

“These direct services from Kuala Lumpur have been secured by the (Annastacia) Palaszczuk (Premier of Queensland) government’s A$200 million aviation war chest, which is in partnership with Gold Coast Airport.

“We are backing AAX because of the airline’s commitment to increasing its Gold Coast flight schedule to five days a week by the end of the year.

“AAX is a terrific investment in the Gold Coast’s visitor economy and the 450 good Queensland jobs these services will support. It’s terrific to welcome Malaysian visitors back to Queensland to share our great lifestyle and enjoy the Gold Coast’s world-class holiday experiences,” he said.

Benyamin said the Gold Coast will always hold a special place for AAX and what makes this announcement even more of a major milestone is that AAX is now the only airline connecting Kuala Lumpur directly to the Gold Coast and Queensland on the whole.

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