Malaysia-based Air Asia will likely shy away from flying into Sydney and instead make Newcastleairport its primary destination in New South Wales.
Air Asia representatives have visited NewcastleAirport, and were “impressed with what they saw”, according to airport spokesman David Nye.
Low cost airlines historically fly to secondary airports to avoid the cost of operating to major hubs.
“They landed in Sydney and travelled overland to Newcastle in two hours and ten minutes – they were quite satisfied with that,” Nye told Travel Today.
Timing however, could work against Newcastle. Air Asia is keen to launch as soon as possible to go head to head with Jetstar’s three times weekly service from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur which begins in September.
But Nye said Newcastle would be unable to accommodate Air Asia this year.“The ball’s in their court. As it stands now we’re not in a position to accommodate the A330 aircraft as we’re in the process of extending our apron. If Air Asia flies to Australia this year, it can’t be to us.”
Work is due to be completed by January 2008. .
Nye said it is a“tremendous opportunity” for NewcastleAirport and for tourism to theHunter region and Port Stephens.