AirAsia X, the long-haul arm of AirAsia, has announced it will drop flights to Christchurch as part of the carrier’s plan to realign its network to meet demand better.
The four-weekly flight will cease operations from May 30. Passengers who have made bookings for flights after that date will receive full refunds, a reroute option to another AirAsia X destination or a rebooking option for a return flight before May 30.
As reported earlier (see story here), this move comes closely after the carrier withdrew flights from London Gatwick, Paris, Mumbai and New Delhi as a way of improving cost efficiency and focusing on the carrier’s “core markets of Australia, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Iran.”
Azran Osman-Rani, chief executive of AirAsia X, said: “The decision to withdraw from Christchurch was a difficult one, but was made taking into account our strategic focus in consolidating our network on markets where we have built up stable, profitable routes.”
Business Traveller consumer editor, Alex McWhirter, has previously predicted (see story here) that the low-cost long-haul model is difficult to sustain. "To date, every long-haul budget carrier has failed, witness People Express of the US in the 1980s and more recently Hong Kong’s Oasis and Canada’s Zoom," he states. With AirAsia X slowly chopping off unprofitable long-haul routes and concentrating on mainly medium-haul routes, the question of whether the carrier will be able to continue as AirAsia's long-haul, low-cost arm remains to be seen.
For more information, visit www.airasia.com