AirAsia A330

AirAsia X is adding flights to Adelaide in a significant tourism boost to South Australia.

Flights from Kuala Lumpur to Adelaide will commence in October 2013 and will further open the door to the key emerging markets of China and India.

South Australia’s Premier, Jay Weatherill, has welcomed the introduction of the widebody service and said the new flights “would make Adelaide an affordable destination for people and tourists from South East Asia, China and India”.

“We have been working hard to attract a low-cost international carrier and AirAsia X is a very welcome addition,” he said.

AirAsia X will initially operate four times per week from late October, 2013, before increasing to five per week from the end of November, 2013.

“These low-cost flights will make South Australia a more affordable and appealing destination to tourists in our key Asian markets,” Weatherill said.

“AirAsia X’s links into China will also help us capitalise on our fastest growing international market.

“With more affordable international links, we also hope to see more conferences in Adelaide and more international students being visited by family and friends.

“SA will now exceed its 2020 target for international airline seats into Adelaide. From November, we will welcome more than 12,200 international airline seats each week, well above the 11,500 target,” he said.

The new flights are welcome news for the city’s hotels, with Accor saying the flights are coming at the perfect time for the chain.

“We welcome Air Asia X’s entry into Adelaide and I expect there to be a lot of interest internationally and locally once the flights commence in October,” Accor’s Regional General Manager for Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia, Adrian Williams, told HM.

“We will be opening the new ibis Adelaide next year and the Mercure Grosvenor Adelaide (pictured below) has just come off a multi-million dollar refurbishment, so it really is perfect timing for us and we look forward to welcoming visitors to and from Kuala Lumpur.”

Mercure Grosvenor Adelaide EDITED

AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman-Rani said securing the Adelaide route had been a priority for the airline for some time.

“Our goal since launching our first Australian service on the Gold Coast in 2007 was to operate in the five major mainland states, and we are proud to have accomplished this within six years,” he said.

“We are very excited to finally touch down in South Australia and bring some much needed competition to the skies.

“South Australia has a lot of diverse experiences to offer and has long been waited for on our network.”

The nation’s leading accommodation and tourism industry associations say the flights will have a solid impact on room nights in South Australia.

“AirAsia X’s announcement is very well timed as hotel operators are actively investing in new hotels and reinvesting in existing properties in Adelaide,” Tourism Accommodation Australia’s Managing Director, Rodger Powell, told HM.

“Aviation access is a key driver of commercial success for hotels [and] AirAsia X will create demand for Adelaide hotels from new consumers in new markets.”

The Accommodation Association of Australia’s CEO, Richard Munro, said the announcement was “welcome news for South Australia’s accommodation industry”.

“The most recent ABS accommodation statistics showed that both occupancy and revenue per available room in South Australia have dropped and it’s this type of announcement that could trigger a turnaround,” he told HM.

“It’s now important that both the Government and the Opposition commit to providing appropriate marketing support to maximise the chances of this new route being a success for both Air Asia X and South Australia alike.”

TTF Chief Executive Ken Morrison said the new flights would “deliver a significant boost in visitor numbers from one of Australia’s largest source markets”.

“Malaysia is Australia’s 7th largest inbound source market and, like other Asian nations, it has a growing middle class with a propensity for international travel,” he said.

“This new affordable, regular service will deliver even more visitors from Malaysia, creating more than AUD$30 million of local economic activity and an additional 170 jobs.

“Almost 270,000 Malaysians visited Australia in the 12 months to the end of May, up 11.2% on the previous year and this additional airline capacity will help grow these strong visitor numbers.

“Attracting more visitors will foster job opportunities, infrastructure investment and business stimulus in the South Australian economy, where tourism already directly employs 33,000 people and supports 18,263 businesses.

“This new service will see South Australia welcome 12,200 international airline seats each week, exceeding its target of 11,500 international seats by 2020 and contributing to the goal of AUD$8 billion in overnight tourism expenditure by 2020.

“Adelaide is AirAsia’s fifth Australian destination joining Darwin, Gold Coast, Perth and Sydney, delivering exciting visitor numbers and economic benefits to all these cities.”

Morrison said this announcement follows a recent bilateral air services agreement with Malaysia, which allows 40% more services from Malaysia into Australia’s four major airports.

“The new agreement will mean that AirAsia X, Malaysia Airlines or any other Malaysia-based carrier can sell 9,500 more seats to Australia each week,” said Mr Morrison.

“Bilateral discussions can be an extensive and complex process, but it’s important they are negotiated ahead of demand to help our tourism industry continue to grow.

“Increasing international travel to Australia is crucial to our chances of reaching our Tourism 2020 target of doubling overnight tourism expenditure by the end of the decade,” he said.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management