AirAsia and its airline long-haul affiliate, Thai AirAsia X will launch a new service between Bangkok and Brisbane from June 25 and is also planning to operate flights between Perth and Lombok as part of its intention to develop a new hub in Indonesia’s West Nusa Tenggara province.
These developments have set the scene for what will be more growth for the Southeast Asia based low-cost airline. Markets like Australia, Japan, China, India, and Taiwan remain poised for growth while North Asia’s secondary and tertiary cities are now high on the list in terms of passenger demand.
Downunder the airline is delighted with the move to Melbourne Avalon (Victoria) from Tullamarine on December 5 with demand exceeding expectations with double daily services (morning and night) to and from KL/Melbourne Avalon Airport.
The airline has been involved in a number of Australian sponsorships and partnerships including becoming the Official Airline of Surfing and the Official Airline of Touch Rugby. AirAsia also supported the UFC 221 event and is involved with UFC 234 which is taking place at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena this weekend.
The partnership with Surfing aims to promote the more than 200 of the world’s best surf breaks found in the AirAsia network, in countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, the Maldives, and the Philippines.
To support this significant partnership, the airline has announced changes to its baggage policy to allow surfboards to travel free on all AirAsia Group services to and from Australia.
Australia remains a key market for AirAsia, after its first flight from Kuala Lumpur arrived on the Gold Coast in November 2007.
Since then, the AirAsia’s Group Australian presence has grown to more than 40 long haul flights and 21 short haul flights per week to and from the Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth.
That first flight also proved that its mission to pioneer long haul, low-cost air travel could be achieved, and soon after it began to spread its wings beyond having just two aircraft based in Malaysia.
When AirAsia X launched it had just two aircraft based in Kuala Lumpur and now today, AirAsia X has 32 Airbus A330 aircraft operating from 3 hubs (Malaysia – D7) Thailand (XJ) and Indonesia (XT).
To date, AirAsia X has flown well over 40 million guests and operates to 28 leisure destinations across the throughout Asia Pacific, Australia, the United States (Hawaii) and the Middle East.
Passengers who fly long-haul can also connect to more than over 130 destinations found in its worldwide network with affiliate short-haul network airline – AirAsia.
AirAsia X offers a “Fly-Thru’” product which is proving very popular for Australian travelers to destinations such as Thailand/Indonesia (Bali), Japan, India, Korea, Vietnam, and Malaysia. to name a few.
New recently appointed, AirAsia X Group CEO Nadda Buranasiri spoke to Airlineratings.com, citing a good example in the newly launched services to the visa-free island of Phu Quoc (Vietnam), which will be popular with Australians.
“The new route has been timed to allow travelers from Australia to easily connect via Kuala Lumpur with a minimal layover,” said Mr. Buranasiri Nadda.
And new more capable aircraft are on the way.
The airline has orders for 100 Airbus A330-900neos and deliveries start in the fourth quarter of this year.
These far more capable aircraft give the airline extra legs for Europe and US routes with a range increase of around 1580km while burning a massive 25 percent less fuel than the planes they will replace.
“Passengers can also expect the highest levels of comfort from the new aircraft with features such as larger overhead storage, advanced cabin mood lighting, and newly designed sidewall interiors,” said Mr. Nadda.
Creating a quicker, more intuitive experience for customers
The AirAsia airline group also recently announced it was working with Google, tapping its powerful data repository, to integrate machine learning and AI into every aspect of its business and culture as part of its transformation into a digital travel company.
This new direction comes as the airline consolidates its digital and e-commerce initiatives and investments under the digital arm, RedBeat Ventures, which was set up to help harness the power of its rich data repositories.
Mr. Nadda said that “this includes the creation of two big platforms, one is ‘airasia.com’ – a one-stop digital travel platform where travelers can book all of their travel needs, and the other is BigLife, a lifestyle site that will keep the likes of Groupon and eBay on their toes.
AirAsia customers can now ask Apple’s Siri to check their upcoming flight status or you can even interact with a new AI-powered chatbot called AVA, which was unveiled last week as part of its customer-facing technology facelift.
The low-cost carrier recently unveiled its new chatbot along with a new homepage and revamped app is all designed to make its services more user-friendly.
AVA, which stands for AirAsia Virtual Allstar and was developed in-house in using technology from Ada, a Toronto-based company that specializes in artificial intelligence-powered customer experience.
The chatbot answers questions instantly in eight languages: English, Bahasa Malaysia, Thai, Bahasa Indonesia, Vietnamese, Korean, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese.
The airline says its new homepage is designed for faster and easier navigation and includes features such as upcoming flight notices, recent searches as well as links to best hotels, duty-free and activity deals.
Mr. Nadda adds that “ We are currently reviewing every aspect of the operation and looking at even more ways to enhance the customer experience – including changes to our long-haul premium flatbed product and inflight service offerings, which are already renowned as offering superior comfort for a fraction of the price of a full-service airline.”