Low-cost airline hints at Toowoomba flights to Asia
ONE of the world's cheapest airlines has flagged Toowoomba as a potential destination for international flights.
Malaysian-based air company AirAsia, which flies to 165 destinations around the world, confirmed it was considering Toowoomba among other regional centres.
A spokesman backed up comments made by the company's CEO Tony Fernandes just days ago.
"Providing guests with low fares and award winning service has always been our strategy in the Australian market," the spokesman said.
"As part of this promise, we continually review both existing and potential routes such as Toowoomba and other regional centres.
"At present, AirAsia operates more than 65 flights per week from Australia including direct services between Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast to our hub in Kuala Lumpur and daily flights between Perth and Denpasar, Bali."
Mr Fernandes said Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport, owned by the powerful Wagner family, was one regional centre it was considering in a bid to avoid paying costs of flying in and out of Brisbane.
"We're looking at Toowoomba as an alternative to Brisbane and we're also very interested in Newcastle," he told the Australian Financial Review on Friday.
"If we get more Toowoombas and Avalons, we can bring fares down another 20 per cent, pending what oil costs are doing."
Wagners chairman Denis Wagner declined to comment on the prospect of AirAsia flying to Toowoomba.
However, company director John Wagner has emphasised the need to attract more international tourists to the region in the past, particularly in his role as chairman of Tourism Darling Downs.
Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise chairman Shane Charles also hinted that two competitive Asian airlines were sizing up the Darling Downs for freight opportunities back in September.
Operating with a unit cost of just US$.023 per available seat kilometre, AirAsia was named the world's best low-cost airline last year, according to the Skytrax World Airline Awards.