Air Asia has become the latest carrier to expand services to Melbourne Airport, another boost to the rapidly-growing airport.

From July 1, Air Asia will operate twice daily flights between Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne, as well as adding a new service to Perth. The airline already operates daily services to both Perth and Melbourne from Kuala Lumpur, and will now fly the route 14 times per week.

Last month, Richard Branson's low-cost airline V Australia inaugurated its new Johannesburg to Melbourne route, whilst Qantas announced late last year that it would fly the A380 superjumbo between Melbourne and London to cater to demand on the popular route.

Melbourne Airport, which recently opened the first part of a AUD330 million (€225 million) new terminal building, reported an eight percent rise in international traffic between 2008 and 2009, an impressive growth during the economic downturn. By comparison, Australia's largest airport, Sydney International, reported a one percent growth in international passenger traffic.

Whilst it may be catching up, Australia's second-largest city still has some way to go before it is the number one destination for tourists. Just over five million people flew in to Melbourne from overseas in 2009 - less than half of the 10.5 million visitors to Sydney.