Carry on: AirAsia X resumes New Zealand flights, Emirates expands and more
AirAsia X returns to New Zealand in March
Tourist numbers from Malaysia are set to rise further with confirmation AirAsia X will launch its first daily service to Auckland in March. The announcement follows the cancellation of a service from Kuala Lumpur to Christchurch in 2012 after the earthquakes in Canterbury caused a drop in traffic.
Tourists from Malaysia dropped from nearly 34,000 a year in 2011 to 28,250 in 2012, recovering to 33,600 in the 12 months to last November.
AirAsia X is Asia’s largest budget carrier and from March 22 will extend existing its Kuala Lumpur-Gold Coast service to Auckland using Airbus A330-300 aircraft. Malaysia Airlines also operates on the route but bookings have been affected by the loss of two aircraft in 2014.
AirAsia’s Indonesian subsidiary also lost an aircraft in December 2014 when flight 8501 crashed into the Java Sea during a storm on a trip from Surabaya to Singapore.
Malayasian airline embraces sharia
Alcohol is banned and there are prayers before every flight on Malaysia’s first sharia-compliant airline, Air Rayani. Muslim women cabin crew have to wear hijabs and non-Muslim staff are expected to dress respectfully. And all food and drink served on Air Rayani is halal. The new airline operates between Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching. It plans to start flying to the Middle East and China within one to two years.
SIA extends Tigerair offer
Singapore Airlines (SIA) has declared its Tiger Airways offer unconditional and extended the closing date yet again. In a further move, the Singapore flag carrier has waived the condition that it own more than 90% of Tigerair by the closing date. The final offer price of 45c will not be raised further and the closing date is now February 5. The offer price values Tigerair at $S1.125 billion.
Emirates adds to Swiss services
Emirates will expand its operation in Switzerland with the addition of a second daily service from Dubai to Geneva from June 1. The second daily flight will double capacity on the route and represents an overall increase of 26% for Emirates in Switzerland. The new flight will be operated by a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in a three-class configuration, with eight private suites in first class, 42 lie flat seats in business and 310 seats in economy.
Cooks loses Dreamliner flights
Air New Zealand has canned its planned Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner operation to the Cook Islands, previously scheduled to operate once a week from September 4 to October 4. Instead the Auckland-Rarotonga service will be operated by larger Boeing 777-200ERs.
Route news of the week
Fiji Airways is operating a direct Nadi-Vava’u (Tonga) service every Saturday until January 30. Previously, this flight operated via Tongatapu/Nuku’alofa. Qatar Airways is extending its Boeing 787-8 service resumption on the Doha-Moscow Domodedovo route. Originally Qatar planned to operate Boeing 787 aircraft until January 16 but this will now be extended until March 26. Hong Kong Airlines has launched its three days a week service from Hong Kong to the Gold Coast and returning via Cairns.