Skroo wins X factor with new AirAsia deal

Skroo wins X factor with new AirAsia deal

Flight Centre and AirAsia Group have forged a key supplier agreement, which includes creating new and unique products exclusive to the agency group.

The preferred agreement with Flight Centre (FLT) is the airline’s first of its kind in Australia, a market AirAsia X acting ceo Benyamin Ismail said is one which shows “solid growth opportunities” for the Kuala-Lumpur based long-haul low cost carrier whose network spans to over 100 Asian destinations, including popular Aussie holiday spots of Bali, Phuket and Krabi.

Under the agreement, FLT and AirAsia will work together to promote fares, create new and unique offerings for customers and grow the outbound travel market, despite capacity fluctuations due to over committing last year forcing AirAsia X to cut services from various ports and pull out of Adelaide.

AirAsia flies daily to Sydney, 11 times per week to Melbourne, operates 12 weekly flights to Perth and five services to the Gold Coast.

Speaking to Travel Weekly shortly after the signing this morning, AirAsia Group co-founder and AirAsia X Group ceo, Datuk Kamarudin Meranun said to “watch this space” referring to “big plans” for the airline in Australia.

“We’ve restructured everything, and taking steps to recover in this market … we’re very optimistic,” he said, adding that he would be looking for FLT’s guidance on potential future routes and “may relook at Adelaide” in future, following the performance garnered from the FLT partnership which is expected to give the airline “extra reach”.

”AirAsia’s low cost model has provided direct access for many first time travellers to experience overseas travel, but we also recognise the importance of entering strategic partnerships with established retail leaders like FLT in countries such as Australia,” Meranun said.

Meranun said it would be “only natural” for the airline to also consider signing similar agreements with FLT globally, but was not looking at doing so with other agency groups in Australia at this stage.

Meanwhile, Flight Centre Australia executive general manager Melanie Waters-Ryan said the agreement was in line with the group’s strategy.

“AirAsia has a strong network and its key destinations are among the most popular holiday destinations for FLT’s customers and Australian travellers in general,” Waters-Ryan said.

“In addition to gaining full access to the airline’s offers, including special sales fares that are being released today, we will look to create new and unique products and packages for our customers, which is a key global strategy for FLT.”

Under the agreement, FLT will gain access to fares via an API in the various GDS’s as well as those available on the airlines’ websites, but uniquely will be offered hundreds of other fares manufactured by or unique to the agency group.

“By working more closely with FLT, we can highlight our offerings to the company’s extensive customer database and proactively promote to travellers across all of the company’s brands and sales channels, particularly its 1000 retail travel shops,” Ismail said.

“This brand diversity is important because the traditional low cost carrier (LCC) model is evolving and gaining popularity among a broader customer base.”

“While budget conscious travellers often look to LCCs, we are also seeing increased interest from other demographics, including those who are looking to save on the flight component of their holidays and spend more on accommodation.”

Meranun said the AirAsia’s ASEAN pass, similar to a Eurail pass, could be popular with Australian travellers.

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