According to AirAsia X chief executive Azran Osman Rani “travel and aviation in Australia seems very resilient” but pointed out that success in this market requires a significant commitment.
Speaking at the Aviation Outlook conference in Sydney, Mr Rani explained the benefits and implications of operating within Australia’s versatile and expanding marketplace.
“Australia has always had this X-Factor when it comes to tourism,” he said.
“Whenever the Australian dollar strengthened, there was a lot of outbound Australian’s visiting Asia for a more affordable holiday.”
Although more than one third of the AirAsia X’s business is generated from this fertile market, Mr Rani was adamant there’s further potential to unlock in Australia.
“We’re still really only scratching the surface on long-term growth here, especially within the low-cost-carrier model,” he said.
“From our perspective there’s a lot more we want to do in Australia.
“One of the things we’re building on is a global, multi-hub network model and bundling that with the power of long-haul, wide-body networks linking up regions.
“For Australia, that could mean wide-body capacity from other hubs such as Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Japan and more.”
Air Asia X has undergone some definitive changes since its inception and has faced a wealth of new challenges within the ever-changing aviation industry.
“We’ve been busy over the last 18 months, consolidating our fleet and route network and working out how to make this low cost, long-haul model work with wide-body planes, even with jet fuel at over $130 a barrel.”
According to Mr Rani, AirAsia X intends to deploy a significant amount of capacity into Australia and plan to more than double their current fleet over a very short period.
“In the routes that we’ve flown into Australia we’ve grown the market by over 50 percent,” he said.
“Traffic from Malaysia to Australia in 2007 was about 585,000 passengers per year and last year it was 975,000 passengers per year.”
“The growth story for AirAsia X Group is far beyond Kuala Lumpur and we’re very excited to continue our efforts in expanding our markets and connectivity, especially here in Australia.”
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T