Busy Brisbane airport added another airline to its roster yesterday, when AirAsia X touched down after its inaugural flight from Bangkok’s Don Muang Airport. XJ310 was operated by an A330-300. It landed at Brisbane at 11.45am local time after a nine hour flight from the Thai capital.
It marks the beginning of scheduled AirAsia X services between the two cities.
The AirAsia X services (operated by Thai AirAsia X) means travellers between Brisbane and Bangkok will now have a choice of airlines flying direct. Thai Airways is the other carrier on the route, and they currently operate four flights a week into Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport.
In a media statement, Brisbane Airport CEO, Gert-Jan de Graaff, said;
“… there is nothing more exciting for an airport than the arrival of a new airline and the launch of new services… Committing valuable resources to establish a new route to a new destination is a major commitment for any airline and we are very happy AirAsia has recognised the huge potential of the market between Thailand and Brisbane and is backing that potential.”
Brisbane is AirAsia X’s sixth destination in Australia and reflects the continued expansion of the aggressive low cost carrier.
The flight details
The AirAsia X flights will run four times a week, heading out of Don Muang just before midnight for an overnight flight, to touch down in Brisbane late morning the following day. The return flight will depart Brisbane at lunchtime and land in Bangkok early evening the same day.
The AirAsia X A330-300 carries 377 passengers in a two class layout. There are 365 seats in the main economy cabin in a 3-3-3 configuration and 12 seats in a 2-2-2 configuration in the premium cabin.
The flatbeds in the AirAsia X premium cabin are valued by savvy travellers who like a bargain. They are a comfortable way to fly, especially on the overnight flights, and they’re always significantly cheaper than a premium cabin flatbed on a full service airline.
AirAsia X in Australia
AirAsia operates an interesting business model. It originated out of Kuala Lumpur in the early 2000’s. Its then CEO was the high profile Tony Fernandes. In a novel innovation within the aviation industry, he commenced to set up separate business units in neighbouring countries. Confusingly, the planes mostly share the same livery.
There are currently AirAsia business units in Vietnam, India, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. AirAsia X, the long haul brand, operates from both Thailand and Malaysia.
The Brisbane flights are operated by Thai AirAsia X in what is its first incursion into Australia. The flights had been long anticipated, and many Queenslanders were hoping the route would see the first of AirAsia X’s brand new A330neo’s deployed onto it
AirAsia X’s popular and successful flights in to the Gold Coast, just an hour down the road from Brisbane are operated by the Malaysian unit of AirAsia X.
The Malaysian unit of AirAsia X also operates flights to Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Avalon. The twice daily Avalon – Kuala Lumpur flights are new and a rather daring experiment, bucking the trend and flying into Melbourne’s little-used second airport.
Once those A330neo’s are delivered, there are plans to take the AirAsia X brand into North America and Europe.
AirAsia X has proved popular Down Under, as bargain hunting travellers shift from premium carriers to low cost alternatives, prepared to suffer tighter seating and minimal in-flight services in return for low fares.
These new Brisbane flights will probably prove no exception.