13 Mar 2012

Dismay at AirAsia X's withdrawal from Christchurch

6:27 pm on 13 March 2012

Christchurch Airport says it is dismayed the budget airline AirAsia X is planning to cancel its direct services to and from the city.

The airline, which began flying between Christchurch and Kuala Lumpur last year, says the higher cost of aviation fuel has made the route unprofitable.

The airport's chief executive, Jim Boult, says the decision is bad news for the whole South Island, and he feels sympathy for tourist operators, many of whom had said the service was bringing a lot of new business.

AirAsia X says its last Christchurch flight will be at the end of May, and customers who have booked further ahead will be refunded.

A spokesperson, Azran Osmanrani, says in the year since the service started, the cost of aviation fuel has risen by 30%, making the route unsustainable.