KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia will give away a whopping two million free seats to mark its fourth anniversary.
The offer is for all domestic and regional flights departing from its four hubs – Kuala Lumpur, Senai (Johor), Bangkok and Jakarta.
In a statement here the low-fare airline, which operates over 100 domestic and regional flights in Asia, said it would launch an aggressive advertising campaign simultaneously in eight countries from today.
The countries are Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, China (including Macau), Vietnam, Philippines and Cambodia.
To be eligible for the free seats, bookings must be done online at www.airasia.com or via mobile.airasia.com (available on GPRS, 3G, EDGE mobile phone or wireless device) from today until Dec 28, for travel from Feb 7 to Oct 10, 2006.
The offer excludes airport taxes and fees and fuel surcharges. It is applicable for one-way travel only.
The airline advised the public to book early to avoid disappointment, as seats would be limited and may not be available on all flights or during public holidays, school breaks and weekends.
"This is the first time AirAsia has launched a major regional marketing campaign of such magnitude, and it will be the biggest online free seats campaign ever offered in Asia," said AirAsia Bhd executive vice-president (Commercial) Kathleen Tan.
"Our Internet booking has increased to 65% in the last four years and the two million giveaway seats is our way of saying a big 'thank you' to those who had supported the airline and contributed to its success," she said.
Tan added that AirAsia had carried 15 million passengers in the region, and the offer would enable more Asians to travel by air.
In IPOH, the under-used Sultan Azlan Shah Airport here is set to be a low-cost carrier hub with AirAsia introducing flights from Senai to here in February.
AirAsia chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandez said the airline would begin operations on Feb 1, with four Senai-Ipoh flights a week.
"We will increase to a daily flight frequency when we take delivery of our A320 Airbus by the end of March," he said, adding that the Boeing 737 aircraft would initially be used for the sector.
Fernandez was speaking at a press conference following a working visit by Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy to the airport here yesterday.
Accompanying Chan were Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Tajol Rosli Ghazali, MCA secretary-general Datuk Ong Ka Chuan, and state executive councillors Datuk Ho Cheng Wang and Datuk Tan Chin Meng.
Fernandez said flights to the airport would boost economic development in the city and its surrounding areas.
"We also believe that with the help of the minister and the mentri besar, the airport can be developed into a northern low-cost hub complementing the KL International Airport," he said, adding that the flights would attract more tourists to the city.
To a question, Fernandez said AirAsia might fly to Indonesia, Thailand, Sabah and Sarawak from Ipoh.
Chan said the airport showed potential in becoming a low-cost carrier hub.
"We are considering a state proposal to turn the airport into a low-cost hub," said Chan, who is also MCA deputy president.
On calls to increase facilities at the airport, Chan said it would depend on the routes AirAsia wanted to create.
Tajol Rosli said AirAsia would "breathe some life" back into the airport.
"All this while, the airport seemed dead," he said, adding that he would ask the Federal Government to extend the runway.
Source: The Stars