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Friday, 23 June 2017

(The Star) AirAsia to add more international destinations from Johor Baru this year

SENAI: AirAsia Bhd plans to add at least two or three international destinations in the region connecting Johor Baru by this year to attract more regional tourists to the state.

AirAsia Bhd chief executive officer Aireen Omar said the airline would be looking at cities in China, Indonesia and India as the three countries offered good prospects and growth for the company.

“We will inform you (media) when the new routes between Johor Baru and the cities going to start, definitely it is going to take place this year,’’ she said.

Aireen said this at the launch of the inaugural three weekly flights between Johor Baru and Kuala Terengganu, the ninth domestic route served by AirAsia in and out of Johor Baru.

The other domestic routes served by the airline from Johor Baru include Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Langkawi, Kuching, Miri, Tawau, Sibu and Kota Kinabalu.

Presently, the airline has five international destinations from Senai International Airport to Bangkok, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta and Surabaya.

“We look forward to expanding our southern hub in Johor Baru and connecting it to more destinations in the future and provide better connectivity to air travellers,’’ she said.

Aireen said the airline was happy with the passenger load factor on AirAsia’s flights in and out of Johor Baru of between 85% and 90% for both domestic and international sectors.

Asked whether Denpasar in Bali could be one of the three new international destinations, she just smiled and replied it could be but declined to give more details.

Separately, Aireen said Air Asia had in 2016, flown more than 420,000 air passengers in and out of Terengganu and with the new route connecting Johor Baru and Terengganu, the number of passengers were likely to grow further.

Meanwhile, Senai Airport Terminal Services Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Md Derick Md Basir said the new domestic route was important as it offered convenient access.

“It should encourage tourism and economic activities between the southern and east coast and will continue to work closely with Air Asia to add more routes to Johor Baru,’’ he said.

Md Derick said with Iskandar Malaysia progressing and developing, the economic region has become a significant for business, leisure, education and medical tourism hence promoting air travels.

Meanwhile, AirAsia signed an agreement with Airbus yesterday to order an additional 14 A320ceo aircraft to meet higher than expected near-term growth in the carrier’s regional network, it said in a statement.