Queenstown hope after Air Asia pull-out

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Destination Queenstown’s boss hopes other airlines will pick up the slack after Malaysia’s Air Asia X pulls its Christchurch route. 

The budget airline has provided about 24,000 extra visitors to the South Island during the past year, noticeably benefiting Queenstown. 

DQ chief executive Tony Everitt says it’s disappointing the Kuala Lumpur-Christchurch service will be canned in late May due to the airline’s decision to chop several long-haul routes. 

However, he points out four other South East Asian airlines still fly to New Zealand including Singapore Airlines which still services Christchurch. 

“Air Asia X has identified this new demand, there’s an opportunity now to encourage those other airlines to pick it up,” Everitt says. 

“That sounds like it’s the intention of Tourism NZ and Christchurch Airport, and Queenstown will be pleased to do our part in that as well. 

“The market’s still there, the potential customers are still there, we’ve just got to do the work and there’s plenty of airlines for them to get down here.” 

Everitt notes DQ trade manager Ben Chapman is in Kuala Lumpur this week with TNZ encouraging travel agents and visitors to use these channels. 

Everitt says Malaysians are good visitors for Queenstown: “They speak English fluently and are strong independent travellers so they are very noticeable.”