Air Asia is set to shift its double daily Kuala Lumpur flights from Tullamarine to Avalon with a new international terminal and associated border, customs and quarantine facilities set to open toward the end of 2018.
At an event attended by the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, State Minister for Industry and Employment Bend Carroll and State Minister for Tourism and local member John Eren, it was also announced that the new international facilities at Avalon will be capable of export 14 tonnes of fresh produce per day.
Air Asia CEO Tony Fernades was also in attendance and Federal member for Corangamite, Sarah Henderson, tweeted that Air Asia wanted to fly to Thailand and Indonesia as well.
Wonderful to be joined by @JulieBishopMP for this incredible announcement. The sky’s the limit for @AvalonAirportAU international airport. Two flights a day from KL, almost 500,000 passengers pa & @tonyfernandes wants to introduce Bali & Thai flights. Wow! #celebrateCorangamite pic.twitter.com/1H2BurWdM3— Sarah Henderson MP (@SHendersonMP) February 4, 2018
Air Asia's current Tullamarine - Kuala Lumpur double daily flights are flown by A330-300s which have 12 premium economy and 365 economy seats.
Assuming a double daily schedule is flown year round, this represents a touch over 275,000 available seats in each direction.
The CEO of Air Asia said via the ABC "I firmly believe this is a turning point in our great dream of making Australian and south-east Asia and Asia much much closer."
Air Asia operates out of the new, vast, 'KLIA2' (Kuala Lumpur International Airport - Terminal 2) in the Malaysian Capital which is located approximately 50 km south of the city centre. KL's airport is linked with its urban heart via the KLIA Ekspress rail service and the Malaysian capital's large freeway/tollway network
Well, it happened at last, Avalon will become an international airport. The new investment is welcome but one can't help but feel for people arriving at Avalon.
As it is, this represents moving of entire operations between airports, I'll be watching to see if Air Asia maintains double daily frequencies. The airline is known to vary its flights to Tullamarine depending on the season - will its customers cop the extra distance to the get to/from the airport?
Regardless, the export handling capacity at Avalon that will be built as part of what was announced today seems to suggest whomever flies internationally into Avalon is likely to bank on taking a slice of the cargo market as well.
Lead image credit: wikipedia