AirAsia X to stop flying to Christchurch: Is budget long haul a myth after all?

AirAsia X – the long haul budget arm of AirAsia – will stop flying from home base Kuala Lumpur to Christchurch in New Zealand on May 31. This follows the termination of services to Paris and London, as well as some services to India.

AirAsia X chief executive Azran Osman-Rani said: “The Christchurch route has been impacted by the spiralling cost of jet fuel.”

According to Mr Osman-Rani, AirAsia X will use excess capacity to increase frequencies to Tokyo in Japan and open a new route to Sydney in Australia. While this is not a surprise move in the business, it does once again surface doubt as to whether the budget long haul is sustainable. By comparison, Tokyo and Sydney are regional medium haul destinations and are therefore less of a stretch. This is the range that Singapore Airlines’ new budget arm – Scoot – will be testing come July. It is also where the competition is most intense.

It will be a tough challenge for AirAsia X.

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About David Leo
David Leo has more than 30 years of aviation experience, having served in senior management in one of the world's best airlines and airports. He continues to maintain a keen interest in the business, writes freelance and provides consultancy services in the field.

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