Airline gives away 500,000 free seats

Malaysian discount airline AirAsia has announced it will drop fuel surcharges from its ticket prices and give away 500,000 free seats as it attempts to grab market share in the struggling airline sector.

AirAsia X, which started flights from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur today, also operates flights from the Gold Coast and Perth to the Malaysian capital.

AirAsia chief executive officer Tony Fernandes says the company has been able to scrap its fuel surcharges – which average $19 per customer – because of falling oil prices.

The 500,000 free seats will be available in a five day sale that starts on Thursday at 3.00pm AEDT.

There is a catch – passengers will still have to pay other taxes, including an administration and insurance charge and airport taxes.

Fernandes says the fuel surcharge could return if oil prices surged again, but says AirAsia is planning on increasing routes and capacity to win market share.

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