Asia’s medium haul low-cost carrier AirAsia X has resumed its services to the Australian Gold Coast, Australia, after a hiatus of more than two years.
In doing so, it becomes the only airline presently operating directly between Malaysia and the Australian state of Queensland.
The inaugural flight departed from Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 11.25pm local time on Saturday 1 April and landed at Gold Coast International Airport at 9.25am local time.
To mark the occasion, all guests on the inaugural flight were treated to a special send-off ceremony before boarding and a welcoming event on arrival.
Fourth Australian destination
The Gold Coast now becomes 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.
It also becomes the only carrier currently flying direct between Malaysia and the east coast state of Queensland.
A press conference was held at Gold Coast Airport to celebrate the event which was attended by local identities Stirling Hinchliffe, Queensland Minister for Tourism, Innovation and Sport; Amelia Evans, Queensland Airports Limited CEO, and Karen Bolinger, and Destination Gold Coast Interim CEO.
Representing the airline were Dato’ Fam Lee Ee, AirAsia X Board of Director; and Benyamin Ismail, AirAsia X CEO, as well as other key airport and tourism stakeholders.
Queensland tourism boost
The state of Queensland has proactively engaged with stakeholders to bolster and develop regional air travel and tourism. The re-inauguration of direct Malaysia services represents a significant injection into the state economy.
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said AirAsia X was predicted to generate $45.6 million for the Gold Coast’s visitor economy.
“These direct services from Kuala Lumpur have been secured by the Palaszczuk Government’s $200 million aviation war chest in partnership with Gold Coast Airport.
“We’re backing AirAsia X because of the airline’s commitment to increasing its Gold Coast flight schedule to five days a week by the end of the year.
“AirAsia X 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,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
AirAsia X comments
AirAsia X CEO Benyamin Ismail noted the importance of the Gold Coast service resumption – the airline’s first ever flight service was launched in November 2007.
“The Gold Coast will always hold a special place in our hearts 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 to Queensland on the whole.”
“The resumption of this route today will not only attract a significant number of visitors from Malaysia and other Asian countries but also strengthen the ties between Malaysia and Australia,” Mr Benyamin Ismail said.
Queensland Airports Limited CEO Amelia Evans highlighted the fact that the service resumption would effectively be bringing 58,000 additional seats into the region each year.
“Since the first AirAsia X flight took off from Kuala Lumpur to the Gold Coast in 2007 more than two million travellers have flown between the two cities.”
“The return of this service re-establishes an important connection between two major tourism and economic hubs at a competitive price for international travel, and an important partnership with AirAsia X for the future,” Ms Evans said.
AirAsia X now flies from Kuala Lumpur to Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Auckland in NZ.
In addition, Indonesia AirAsia flies up to three times daily between Perth and Bali and has announced that new direct services from Jakarta to Perth will be launching from 2 June this year.