AirAsia quits NZ for the second time
AirAsia is advising thousands of its Kiwi passengers to call its “Customer Happiness” team after quitting New Zealand for the second time in seven years.
The Malaysia-based airline says it will stop flying between Auckland and the Gold Coast from February 1, affecting about 2000 Kiwis. The budget airline will also scale back flying across the Tasman from daily to four times a week from January 29 until it pulls out completely.
AirAsia has been flying from Kuala Lumpur to Auckland via the Gold Coast for the last two and a half years.
A spokesman said the decision to suspend services to Auckland was a “difficult one”, but was made as we look to realign our network to focus on core markets such as Australia, India, China and Japan.
The loss of the daily service will cut competition on the Tasman, with its 377-seat Airbus A330s providing some downward pressure on fares.
Helloworld executive general manager Simon McKearney said loyalty to well-known carriers into the Gold Coast — Air New Zealand and Jetstar — made it difficult for AirAsia.
“New Zealand consumers are loyal to brands they know and trust and makes the sustainability of such routes for the lesser known carriers in our market susceptible,” he said.
Other airlines would be assessing their presence here.
“I think, depending on airline hedging policies, that f uel movements will give rise to more of these single route carriers evaluating their returns and hence consideration of f l ying i nto markets such as New Zealand,” said McKearney.
Following the announcement, AirAsia said it will give full refunds, move travel forward or reroute their travel. “Guests can also reach out to our Customer Happiness team,” it says.