Avalon Airport appears set to welcome its first international service by the end of this year, with Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia X expected to migrate its current twice-daily service between Kuala Lumpur and Tullamarine Airport to Melbourne’s second airport.
AirAsia X and Avalon Airport announced the move on Sunday, saying the service is expected to bring some 500,000 international passengers to Avalon Airport within its first year of operations.
“Since our inaugural flight in 2007, AirAsia X has flown over 30 million guests, including 6.1 million Australians – tourists wanting to experience amazing Australia, students from across the globe and Australians who wish to see the world,” said AirAsia Group CEO, Tony Fernandes.
“We are proud to renew our commitment to making air travel affordable for Australians with this move to Avalon, which will help us maintain our cost edge and allow us to continue offering low fares to ASEAN, Asia and beyond.”
The airline’s current flights to Melbourne’s primary international airport, Tullamarine, will continue until the migration to Avalon. The airline and airport have signed a 10-year agreement.
Avalon Airport is located about 50 minutes from the Melbourne central business district, southwest of the city near to the port city Geelong.
Tullamarine Airport in the city’s northwest is closer, located about 30 minutes from the central business district.
“Avalon Airport is easily accessible from Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat and surrounds,” said the airport’s CEO, Justin Giddings. “Low-cost flights combined with an easy airport experience makes for the perfect partnership.”
The launch of international services from Avalon by the end of 2018 come as Sydney looks to begin construction of its own second airport sometime this year. The New South Wales airport, located at Badgerys Creek west of Sydney, had previously struggled to get the necessary investment to begin construction until the Federal Government confirmed it would inject A$5 billion (US$3.7 billion) into the airport’s construction last May.
Sydney’s second airport currently has an operational start date of 2026.