AirAsia X to shift base from Melbourne to Avalon airport (Australia)

AirAsia has announced that it will stop flying to Tullamarine airport, Melbourne, Australia (Airport code MEL) from late 2018 and will shift operations to nearby Avalon airport (Airport code AVV, 70 kms away from city) [News]

AirAsia customers traveling to Australia please take note of this change. Air Asia is currently flying to Melbourne international airport, which was fairly close to city and well connected by airport bus.

Reason: Obvious reason seem to be cost cutting. Avalon is lot cheaper airport to operate from.

From when?: It is not clear from what exact date flights will operate from Avalon. As of now AirAsia website is accepting bookings to MEL only and AVV is not listed as a destination. AVV airport is operational and it doesn't take really long time to shift operations- my guess is Air Asia X will use Melbourne till their current contract expires.

The positive impact for passengers:
1. Avalon is cheaper and we hope Air Asia will pass on part of the savings to customers by means of lower ticket price.
2. Flights to other cities in Australia is also cheaper from Avalon. For example, Avalon -Sydney flight on Jet Star is easily 20-30% cheaper than Melbourne-Sydney flight.
3. Great ocean road is closer to Avalon. Tourists can probably spend a day exploring great ocean road and then head to Melbourne city

Negative Impact
1. Avalon being far away from Melbourne city compared to Tullamarine, expect more travel time (1 hour+) and money to reach Melbourne CBD (Central Business District)
2. Connecting flights- While Melbourne airport is well connected to rest of the world, Avalon has much lesser connectivity.
3. I've not been to AVV, but being a cheaper airport, expect relatively less/poorer passenger amenities in Avalon, compared to MEL. (Melbourne airport even makes announcements in Hindi)
What happens if I book a ticket to MEL and then they change to AVV?
My guess is, Air Asia X will rebook all such affected passengers to AVV free of cost or give them an option to take credit back (with some 45/90 days validity) (If passengers ask sector change it will never be entertained)

Besides Melbourne, Air Asia X flies to Perth, Sydney and Gold Coast in Australia. During an Air Asia big sale, it is possible to grab a return ticket from India to Australia for around INR 20k. [Details here] Australia tourist visa costs about 8k INR [Details]. Melbourne has lots of places to explore -  You can read my Australia posts here

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