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Airline launches $169 trans-Tasman flights

ONE of the world’s cheapest airlines is drawing the battle lines across the Tasman, launching $169 flights from Auckland to Sydney.

Air Asia’s services will start on November 1, with flights between Auckland and Kuala Lumpur via Sydney.

Flights would leave Auckland, then cross the Tasman to Sydney, before heading on to Malaysia’s capital. Passengers would then be able to connect to dozens of destinations throughout Asia or to places like Istanbul and London.

The flights will launch with three services a week, before moving to daily in the first quarter of 2023. The flights will be run by AirAsia X, the airline’s long-haul offshoot, which uses A330 aircraft with 377 seats.

The airline also announced it would be recommencing services to Melbourne and Perth, with 13 medium and long-haul routes expected to be operating this year.

“As the world reopens and travel restrictions ease, we are confident these new services will prove popular,” said Benyamin Ismail, Air Asia X Chief Executive.

As travel demand has ramped up following Covid-19 border closures, airfares have skyrocketed, leading to booked-out flights across the Tasman and one-way fares costing as much as $1000 to Sydney.

Auckland Airport is welcoming the move.

“The new service will not only provide more choice for trans-Tasman travellers looking for competitive fares on the popular route between Sydney and Auckland but is a great option for those wanting to connect through to AirAsia’s extensive Asian network,” said Scott Tasker, Auckland Airport’s General Manager Customer and Aeronautical Commercial.

Air Asia X has recently announced a significant expansion following its Covid-19 grounding, resuming flights to South Korea and New Delhi. It also announced routes to Japan, Hawaii, London, Dubai, Istanbul, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

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