GOLD COAST (AUSTRALIA) – 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 Asean region.
Its chief executive officer, Benyamin Ismail said that with this development, AAX should take advantage to increase the frequency and grab a bigger share of the Queensland market.
“We may become the only Southeast Asian carrier flying to Gold Coast so it would beneficiary for us not to just 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 the frequency.
“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, today.
Currently, AAX flies nine aircraft and the company hopes to fly 17 aircraft by February next year after 15 aircraft are 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 is three (at the moment),” he said.
The inaugural flight departed from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (Terminal 2) at 11.25pm yesterday (March 31) and arrived at Gold Coast International Airport at 9.25 am 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 for Tourism, Innovation and Sport Stirling Hinchliffe said AAX was 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. – Bernama / pic TMR File