22 September 2009
Not only has AirAsia X, the low cost long haul carrier affiliated with AirAsia, enjoyed strong customer response in Australia but it has also managed to achieve nearly 100% online penetration for its sales in that market.
General Manager of AirAsia X in Australia, Darren Wright, soon to be part of strongest ever airline panel at WIT, told WIT-Web In Travel that the airline is now carrying more than 29,000 passengers a month on its Australian routes and is growing from strength to strength.
AirAsia X launched the first low cost service from Kuala Lumpur to Australia’s Gold Coast in November 2007. The airline has since extended its Australian network to cover Perth and Melbourne (Tullamarine).
In a recent interview with WIT, available on podcast at webintravel.com, Wright said that up to 98% of AirAsia X’s bookings in Australia are made via the website.
He said that Jetstar and Virgin Blue had trained consumers to buy direct for domestic flights and as such, buying direct for international flights on AirAsia X has not been such a stretch. The biggest challenge the airline has faced is persuading consumers to buy each leg of their journey as a separate ticket.
Wright, who will be speaking at the WIT conference on Oct 20-23 in Singapore, said that Australians were quite mature when it comes to buying with a credit card online and therefore it has not been forced to provide cash payment facilities in the way that the parent company has to in Asia for example.
Instead, AirAsia X is broadening its credit offering through partnerships with PayPal and American Express.
Wright will be part of the airline panel at WIT which will be moderated by Gordon Locke, Vice President, Airline Marketing & Strategy, Sabre Airline Solutions & Sabre Travel Network.
It is WIT’s strongest airline panel yet featuring first, a one-on-one interview with Dr Amin Khan, Senior General Manager, Network & Revenue Management, Malaysia Airlines and second, a panel comprising, along with Wright, Chong Phit Lian, CEO of Jetstar Asia, Gerry Oh, Regional Vice President, South-east Asia & Australasia, Jet Airways (India) and Peter Wiesner, Senior Vice President-Marketing, Bangkok Airways.
The session will address how airlines are managing their business amid the “Stormy Skies” and how they are balancing between the need to cut costs while growing revenues through additional streams and new channels.