AirAsia X boosts Australia services after Europe cuts
Asian budget carrier AirAsia X said Tuesday it will start flying daily services to Sydney from Kuala Lumpur, barely a week after announcing a suspension of flights to Paris and London.
The Malaysia-based airline said it would start its Sydney services from April 1 -- its fourth Australian destination after Gold Coast, Melbourne and Perth.
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"Australia is a key market for AirAsia X and the Sydney route has long been a priority due to strong demand from travellers across the globe especially Asia," said chief executive Azran Osman-Rani.
AirAsia X, the long-haul offshoot of Asia's largest budget airline AirAsia, has been pushing to fly into Sydney for four years.
The announcement came a week after it cited global economic uncertainty, soaring taxes and higher jet fuel prices for a decision to cut Europe flights and routes to India.
New South Wales Tourism Minister George Souris said the new service would bring around 55,000 more international visitors to the state each year.
"This daily service will inject nearly Aus$138 million (US$143 million) into NSW every year and is another great step towards the NSW government's goal of doubling overnight tourism expenditure by 2020," Souris said.
by Sami Zubeiri © 2012 AFP