The AirAsia inaugural flight takes off from Avalon Airport

000350_airasiaavalon0590_1170.jpgMelbourne Avalon Airport this week saw its first AirAsia X international flight take off. The new flight sees AirAsia X move its twice daily Kuala Lumpur – Melbourne Tullamarine flight as part of a 10 year deal with operator Linfox Airports, which the airline signed early this year.

As part of the deal, a new terminal was built to facilitate international operations (the airport had only previously catered to domestic operation) in partnership with the Commonwealth and Victorian governments. The new terminal features border processing facilities, two duty free stores, tax refund facilities, as well as a bar and cafe spanning across 6,370 square metres. The airport anticipates 500,000 passengers will pass through its newly built international terminal during its first year of operations.

AirAsia X is the only airline currently offering international flights from Avalon. Whilst the move from some in the sector feel that shift to Avalon is risky for AirAsia, the large subsidies from the Victorian Government will ensure that the move from Tullamarine to Avalon is at least cost effect. Combined with Geelong experiencing a large spike in population growth in recent years due to its close proximity to Melbourne and housing options, the move to me seems quite a smart one. I don’t envision that the move will pay dividends instantly but give it one to two years and I believe Avalon will be a viable option for price conscious flyers looking to fly between Melbourne and Asia. 

 

 

Sydney gains Malaysia Airlines A380

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Malaysia Airlines is set to fly its Airbus A380 superjumbo to Sydney from March to July 2018. Whilst this is sadly a temporary move in response to a peak travel period, for travellers flying between Kuala Lumpur and Sydney this is a significant gain.

The daily MH122/MH123 services will shift from an Airbus A330 to the A380 on the following dates:

  • March 31
  • April 1, April 13 – 15
  • June 22 – 25, June 30
  • July 1 – 9, July 16

The bigger aircraft will offer flyers more options to redeem reward seats and upgrades. In addition a handful of lucky frequent flying travellers will even get the privilege to fly one of the eight first class seat at a business class price.

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This is due to Malaysia Airlines not selling first class cabin seats on the flight. Not everyone will be eligible for these prized thrones with top tier frequent flyers in business likely to snare the seats first (ie. Platinum and Gold members of Malaysia Airlines’ Enrich scheme).

The passengers who do end up laying on these thrones won’t be given the first class treatment but the similar business class meal and service as their business class seat counterparts. That said it is a small prize to pay to shun those caviar tastes for a bit more space.

Emirates removes whilst Malaysia Airlines returns to Brisbane Airport

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Brisbane avgeeks brace yourselves for the temporary removal of Emirates A380 aircraft. Yes you heard right. The airline will make its Airbus A380 disappear from Brisbane skies later this year replacing them with Boeing 777s from June.

Emirates is the only airline to fly the A380 in and out of Brisbane Airport. The airline claims that the move is temporary but it is hard to tell. For those flying out of Brisbane on Emirates between June and August 2018,  a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft will be deployed on services EK434 and EK435.

It is a disappointing move by Emirates with the current crop of 777s not up to standard compared to its A380 product. Whilst First and Economy will be relatively minor in terms of change it is Business Class passengers who will be most affected with their seat and configuration downgraded from a 1-2-1 flat bed to a 2-3-2. In addition a number of the 777 interiors are tired and the Economy configuration is cramped and hellish at best.

In more positive news for Brisbane flyers, Malaysia Airlines is set to return to Brisbane after cancelling service in 2015 in the wake of the MH370 and MH17 disasters. The return of the airline will see Queenslanders offered more options to fly to destinations such as India, south-east Asia and the UK via Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia Airlines will recommence flights on June 6 on its Airbus A330 aircraft.