AirAsia boosts Aussie flights, but Sydney misses out
Low-cost carrier AirAsia appears to have moved quickly to erase the disappointment of missing out on the Sydney-Kuala Lumpur route by lifting capacity out of Melbourne and Perth.
AirAsia will operate twice-daily services between Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur from July 1 and between Perth and the Kuala Lumpur from August 1, the Malaysian-based airline said in a statement on Monday.
Currently, AirAsia flies daily from Perth and Melbourne to the Malaysian capital.
The chief executive of AirAsia's long-haul offshoot AirAsiaX, Azran Osman-Rani, said the additional flights reflected healthy demand from Australia.
"Loads have been consistently strong year-round on all Australian services," Mr Osman-Rani said in a statement.
"This has given us the confidence to increase our capacity particularly on Melbourne and Perth routes and as we grow our network and expand heavily to India.
"We've been delighted with the response from the travelling public, support from state and national tourism bodies and our airport partners, who have really thrown their weight behind these routes and AirAsia as a whole."
Separately, AirAsia will also boost its Perth-Bali service to 21 flights a week from June 1, from the current 14.
AirAsia flies out of three Australian cities - Melbourne, Perth and the Gold Coast.
AirAsia hoped to make Sydney a fourth by mid-year and had received the green light from local authorities and concluded negotiations with Sydney Airport.
But it failed to get approval from the Malaysian government in time for the July 1 start date, forcing the airline to abort plans to fly to Australia's most populous city for now.
"At this stage we can't anticipate when approvals for Sydney might be granted," Mr Osman-Rani told Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper on April 9.
AirAsia said its recently launched flatbed premium seats currently available between Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur would be progressively added to flights from the Gold Coast and Perth this month.
The airline, which was founded in 1993, flies to 65 destinations across Asia, Europe and Oceania.