AIR ASIA X: Launches Sydney to Auckland flights
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia-based airline AirAsia X has announced flights between Sydney and Auckland to commence from November 2022. These ‘fifth freedom’ flights – that is, flights that neither start nor end in the operating Airline’s home country – can be a great way to travel. They are often very competitively priced and can offer upgraded cabin comforts not always available on the route. For example, they may offer international business class flat-beds on routes that normally only have ‘domestic’ business class recliner seats.
This is true of the AirAsia X flights proposed to service Sydney-Auckland. They will operate Airbus A330-300s on the route, with 12 Premium Flatbed seats and 365 Economy seats in a tight 3-3-3 configuration. One competitor, Qantas, for example, mainly flies ‘domestic’ Boeing 737-800s on the route with 12 recliner business seats, although some flights are also on Airbus A330s, which do have business class sleeper seats.
Frequency and cost
AirAsia X will fly this Kuala Lumpur-Sydney-Auckland route only 3 times a week initially, and of course, the airline works on the low-cost model, where you pay for everything extra. Economy is also high density, with 9 seats across, whereas most airlines have 8 seats across on these A330 aircraft. However, at AU$325 economy return, the fares are very attractive for a 3ish-hour flight.
The aviation industry has a difficult road ahead when it comes to sustainability. It’s going to require a relative revolution in technology, with ‘electric planes’ or hydrogen planes, or some form of jet engine that doesn’t require a carbon based fuel. And that is going to require the development of an alternative to jet engines probably.
It’s a big ask. It will take time to develop.
This move to home grown and manufactured SAF is a first step – maybe even a baby step in a very long road of innovation. In the long run, US$200 million won’t even touch the sides.
Things are hotting up on the route, with a number of airline options available in the 2nd half of 2022. Besides the obvious Qantas, Air New Zealand, AirAsia X, and soon Virgin, you also have Emirates and Latam flying the route. Qatar is even flying from Adelaide to Auckland!
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