Friday, May 05, 2006

Labuan could become AirAsia hub

SINGAPORE - Budget airline AirAsia Bhd is mulling turning Labuan into a hub from where it could fly to places such as Macau and Guangzhou in China and the Philippines.

Having Labuan as a hub would allow AirAsia, Asia's biggest low-cost carrier, to tap into markets in Brunei and Sabah, the tourist market as well as provide connectivity for the fast-growing offshore financial centre.

The carrier is actively looking for potential hubs, chief executive officer Tony Fernandes told reporters on the sidelines of a financial seminar about Labuan's international offshore financial centre, Business Times reported.

"It is not imminent, but it is one of the plans. Hopefully, we can get a great deal from the airport," he said.

Labuan is also fast developing as a tourist attraction and airplanes to the island are not just filled with bankers doing business in the offshore financial market.

"People are coming here for tourism. Half the passengers on the plane were coming here for a holiday. They said it was nice, it's peaceful, it has a nice park, it has a beach and things are fairly cheap. It actually amazed me because I never thought of it like that," Fernandes added.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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