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It has been announced that AirAsia X will cease its direct flights between Christchurch, New Zealand and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at the end of May 2012.

The announcement has been greeted with dismay by Christchurch International Airport – but also an understanding that times are tough for the aviation industry. As CEO Jim Boult explained, “We are bitterly disappointed at the airline’s decision to end the Kuala Lumpur to Christchurch direct flights, but understand the situation AirAsia X finds itself in

“AirAsia X began planning the Christchurch-Kuala Lumpur service in early 2010. Since that time aviation fuel prices have increased by more than 30 percent and are forecast to stay high for the foreseeable future,” he says, and notes that this put pressure on the airline’s low-cost model which offered fares for as low as NZ$99.

The AirAsia X direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Christchurch were a popular option for travellers and average loadings were almost 80% (near 90% in some months). Mr. Boult says the airline’s year of flying to Christchurch has proven that the route is viable – performance highlighted by AirAsia X winning an international award for ‘Best Network Performance’ at the World Routes Awards 2011.

AirAsia X is working with Air New Zealand to find solutions for travellers who have booked beyond the end of May 2012.

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