Malaysia-based budget airline AirAsia X has returned to New Zealand for the first time in almost four years.
Flight D7 206, operated by Airbus A330-300 9M-XBC, touched down in Auckland a little after 1600 local time on Wednesday – about 90 minutes behind schedule – marking the first time the no-frills carrier has been back in NZ since it abandoned its Kuala Lumpur-Christchurch service in May 2012.
The aircraft was on the ground for about 90 minutes before taking off on its return flight to the Gold Coast at about 1820.
The Airflow NZ channel on youtube captured the aircraft’s arrival into Auckland:
The airline is serving Auckland as a tag flight from its daily Kuala Lumpur-Gold Coast rotation, joining the likes of China Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Emirates and, from September, Singapore Airlines operating fifth-freedom flights across the Tasman.
Its A330s offer 365 seats in economy class in a 3-3-3 configuration and 12 premium seats that stretch out into an angled lie-flat bed.
AirAsia X, which is based in Malaysia, began flying to Christchurch in April 2011 but lasted just 13 months before waving the white flag due to losses on the route. It announced plans to return to Auckland in January.