AirAsia lands in Sydney, bringing cheap fares to holiday hotspot

AFP Relax News
AirAsia cabin crew in front of the Sydney Opera House

AirAsia X's inaugural flight to Sydney touched down April 2, marking the start of a battle for customers which could yield some great fares for passengers.

The airline confirmed this week that its new route from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney's Kingsford Smith International Airport will operate daily after what it described as 'years of trying'.

It is the first direct budget flight from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur, with rates coming in at a reported AUD $200 (€155) one-way, compared to the current AUD $950 (€740) return.

That fare is designed to help keep it ahead in the rapidly approaching budget airline tussle for Sydney -- Singapore Airlines' low-cost venture Scoot is gearing up to launch in the coming months and has the popular Australia destination in its sights.

Scoot plans to offer services between Singapore and Sydney from June, adding another cheap destination from Australia, and potentially a cheaper option to get there for Europeans.

Instead of flying all the way to Sydney from London on the 'Kangeroo Route' with a stopover in Singapore or Hong Kong, travelers could now fly directly to another Asian city before continuing their journey on a budget carrier, for instance.

However, as the Sydney Morning Herald's Clive Dorman points out, AirAsia has a strong advantage over Scoot when it comes to regional travel, thanks to a host of subsidiary airlines operating in Thailand and Indonesia, while Scoot doesn't even have strong support from its Singapore Airlines-owned affiliates.

Nonetheless, the announcement appears to be good news for travelers -- as long as you can hold off the extras.

"There’s no doubt that point-to-point travel will be nominally much cheaper," Dorman concludes.

"But remember these are low-cost airlines that don’t make most of their profit out of ticket sales per se, but out of optional add-on 'ancillaries'. Just be careful you don’t end up getting sucked into a cheap headline price to find you’re up for squillions for extras."