Air Asia X has yesterday confirmed it will suspend its service between Christchurch and Kuala Lumpur at the end of May, as part of its network realignment, and partly due to the spiralling cost of jet fuel.
“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,” says Air Asia X chief executive Azran Osman-Rani.
The airline boss says the high cost of fuel has also played a factor in its decision. “Our Kuala Lumpur-CHC route has performed strongly in terms of demand since our launch in Apr 2011, recording close to 80% loads in 2011. However, the Christchurch route has been impacted by the spiralling cost of jet fuel.
Since the launch of the route, jet fuel prices have increased in excess of 30%, and are currently still at very high levels. The high cost of fuel has compromised our ability to offer our renowned low fares.”
The last flight on the route will depart KUL 30 May and depart CHC 31 May-marking the end of an era for the low cost carrier.
Osman-Rani acknowledged the support from New Zealand’s tourism industry for its four-times weekly service on the CHC-KUL route.
Christchurch Airport boss Jim Boult says the airport company is ‘bitterly disappointed’ by the decision by can understand Air Asia X’s position, given the increasing price of aviation fuel which has put pressure on Air Asia X’s low cost operating model.
Air Asia X is offering affected passengers booked to travel on Air Asia X from Jun the option of a full refund, to be rerouted to another Air Asia X destination, or to rebook their flights prior to 31 May. The carrier says all changes will be made at no cost to affected passengers ‘to mitigate the inconvenience caused’. Details of the re-accommodation options are being e-mailed to passengers.
Passengers booked on Jetstar New Zealand services to CHC to connect with Air Asia X to KUL can apply to credit of their JQ booking towards a new Tasman JQ service to connect with Air Asia X flights ex MEL, SYD and OOL to KUL.
JQ says affected passengers will need to verify connecting travel on Air Asia X and pay a standard call centre fee per passenger, per segment and any associated fare difference.
The offer is open to affected Air Asia X passengers to Mon 26 Mar. For details, ph 0800 800 995.