AirAsia X is suspending its services between Sydney and Auckland to make room for a resumed Gold Coast service.
From 31 January, the Malaysian low-cost carrier will end its trans-Tasman flights from Sydney, with services from Kuala Lumpur to Auckland connecting instead through the Gold Coast starting on 3 February. The airline will fly three times weekly between the Gold Coast and Auckland.
AirAsia X CEO Benyamin Ismail said the decision was made following a “thorough network review”, and that the airline remains committed to Auckland as a destination.
“These decisions are made with thorough review and careful consideration of all relevant information. Our network will continue to evolve based on a number of factors but primarily based on consumer demand,” he said.
“We understand the inconvenience for affected guests booked on the Sydney-Auckland route next year, so we are doing all we can to minimise any disruption by contacting them as soon as possible and offering a range of provisions including refund, credit to fly at another time and free of charge transfer via Gold Coast for those booked from Auckland to Kuala Lumpur.
“We will continue to monitor the situation, and if demand returns we will consider reinstating the Sydney-Auckland service at a later date. However, for now and as a leisure-focused airline, we are seeing more demand across the Tasman to and from the Gold Coast.”
The restarted Gold Coast service is expected to add an extra 6,786 weekly seats through Gold Coast Airport. According to Queensland Airports Limited chief commercial officer Adam Rowe, flights to Auckland are the Gold Coast’s busiest international connection, with more than 220,000 passengers travelling on the route since January.
“Around 60 percent of passengers travelling between the Gold Coast and New Zealand fly to or from Auckland, and the return of this service will add more than 350,000 extra seats on that route annually,” he said.
“The addition of AirAsia X’s Auckland service will give our customers more choice to connect with loved ones across the Tasman, while also creating more competition and helping to put downward pressure on airfares.”