PETALING JAYA: AirAsia has announced its move to Avalon Airport from Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport, making AirAsia the first international carrier to operate out of Avalon Airport.
In a statement on Sunday, AirAsia said that flights will continue to operate from Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport until flights from Avalon Airport are operational later this year.
"We are proud to be the first airline to operate international flights at Avalon Airport, connecting Melbourne and the Victorian region with Kuala Lumpur, Asia's number one LCC hub," said AirAsia X Malaysia CEO Benyamin Ismail.
"Melbourne and Victoria are important markets to us and this new service with 560,000 seats annually will provide a significant boost to business and tourism, including to such attractions as the Great Ocean Road," he said.
Avalon Airport is located near the city of Geelong, and is 50 minutes away from Melbourne CBD. It is also the closest airport to the internationally renowned Great Ocean Road.
"This is an exciting milestone for AirAsia X. Since our inaugural flight in 2007, AirAsia X has flown over 30 million guests, including 6.1 million Australians – tourists wanting to experience amazing Australia, students from across the globe and Australians who wish to see the world," said AirAsia Group chief executive Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.
"We are proud to renew our commitment to making air travel affordable for Australians with this move to Avalon, which will help us maintain our cost edge and allow us to continue offering low fares to Asean, Asia and beyond," said Fernandes.
Avalon Airport CEO Justin Giddings said that Avalon Airport is easily accessible from Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat and surrounding areas.
"Low-cost flights combined with an easy airport experience makes for the perfect partnership. We're extremely pleased to welcome AirAsia to Avalon Airport," said Giddings.
AirAsia X Malaysia will operate twice daily flights. A total of 500,000 international passengers are projected to move through Avalon Airport in the first year of operations.
The announcement was made at an industry event at Avalon Airport on Sunday with special guests including Fernandes, Benyamin, Giddings, Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop, Linfox founder Lindsay Fox AC, Linfox Airports executive chairman David Fox, Australian Industry and Employment Minister Ben Carroll, and local television personality Catriona Rowntree as master of ceremonies.