Auckland Airport sees big boost in AirAsia X's return to NZ

The new daily service from Kuala Lumpur will add 275,000 seats a year.

Auckland Airport says the return of Malaysian budget airline AirAsia X to New Zealand will add an extra $176 million to the overall economy.

Norris Carter, general manager – aeronautical commercial, says the new daily service between Kuala Lumpur and Auckland starting in March will boost capacity by 275,000 seats every year.

AirAsia X previously flew into Christchurch but ceased in 2012 when the earthquakes brought a severe drop in traffic.

Mr Carter says the new service to Auckland – an extension of an existing flight to the Gold Coast – will boost tourism for New Zealand in Malaysia, India and Indonesia.

“These are AirAsia X’s key markets. Over the past three years the numbers of annual international arrivals from these three markets have increased by 10%, 21% and 11% respectively,” he says.

“We expect this new service will further grow visitor numbers, especially for free independent travellers. It will also mean more affordable travel to Asia for Kiwis and increased capacity to the Gold Coast.”

In a statement, AirAsia X chief executive officer Benyamin Ismail says New Zealanders will now have more flight options to the Gold Coast as well as access to the airline’s network in Asia through the Kuala Lumpur hub.

“We are confident our highly competitive fares will attract many new guests from the region, creating higher travel demand and in turn boosting tourism traffic for all sectors,” he says.