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Thursday, 10 August 2017

(The Star) Airline committed to improving Sarawak’s air connectivity

KUCHING: With the launch of its inaugural Kuching-Langkawi flight, AirAsia underlined its commitment to the growth of its Kuching hub and increasing Sarawak’s connectivity.

The new route comes two months after the low-cost carrier introduced its Kuching-Pontianak flight and makes AirAsia the first airline to connect Kuching and Langkawi directly.

“This is another milestone for AirAsia after the Kuching-Pontianak route. Kuching is an important hub for us and we hope to add one more route by this year.

“We are committed to growing this hub because we believe there is so much potential here,” AirAsia head of commercial Spencer Lee said at the new route’s launch at Kuching International Airport yesterday.

He said AirAsia flew about 3.2 million passengers in and out of Kuching last year and hit the two million mark from January to July this year.

On the Langkawi route, he said it operates four times weekly with flights on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

“We are focused on keeping this route and growing it. We hope it can go daily soon,” he said.

Lee added that AirAsia was slowly scaling up its Pontianak route, which was currently averaging about 75% of its capacity.

“We have agreed with the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) to do a roadshow in Pontianak at the end of this year to promote health and education tourism in Sarawak,” he said.

Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the new route would spur domestic tourism between Sarawak and Langkawi.

He called on STB and tour operators to do their part by promoting the state in Langkawi and offering travel packages to visitors.

“We would like to see more airlines coming to Sarawak and tourism to be developed.

“On our part, we need to offer good products, including proper management of our national parks and more registered tour guides,” he said.

To celebrate the new route, all-in fares from RM100 one-way are available for booking online at www.airasia.com from now until Aug 13 for the travel period between now and Feb 8 next year.

AirAsia now flies to 11 destinations from Kuching with over 220 weekly flights one way to Miri, Sibu, Bintulu, Kota Kinabalu, Johor Baru, Kota Baru, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi, Singapore and Pontianak.