Tuesday, August 01, 2006

AirAsia to fly from KK to Xiamen and Shenzhen

PUTRAJAYA: Budget carrier AirAsia Bhd has received the approval to operate the Kota Kinabalu-Xiamen and Kota Kinabalu-Shenzhen routes, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said here Monday.

He said this was the first time AirAsia would be operating into mainland China.

Chan said the lost-cost airline now operated two daily flights to the Special Administrative Region of Macau.

"We have just given the approval, so it is up to AirAsia when it wanted to start operating these two additional rights," he told reporters after receiving outgoing Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia, Wang Chungui, at his Ministry, here.

He said the Ministry would work hard to push the current 72 passenger flights per week between Malaysia and China to 100 by year-end.

He said if AirAsia decided to operate a daily flight to each of the two new destinations, there would be 86 flights per week between Malaysia and China.

"We will consider more rights for either AirAsia or other airlines from China which want to operate into Malaysia. "Air links play a crucial role in further developing the tourism industry between the two countries," he said.

Chan said besides the 72 passenger flights to mainland Chinese cities, there are also a weekly eight cargo flights between Malaysia and China.

"On top of that, there are currently 56 flights a week between Malaysia and Hong Kong as well as Macau," he said.

Chan said Kuala Lumpur and Beijing had also worked closely in the maritime sector, including the enhancement of the security and safety of the Straits of Malacca.

"We want to thank China for its support and co-operation in the enhancement of security in the busy strait," he said.

Wang is leaving Malaysia after spending over two years as China's envoy to Malaysia.

Wang said bilateral relations had improved with leaders from both sides exchanging frequent visits.

"The governments and people of the two nations now understand each other more and has forged closer relations based on mutual trust.

"China regards Malaysia as an important partner - one that has always remind the world that China is not a threat to anybody," he said.

On a personal note, the envoy said he would be leaving a beautiful country that had made a deep impression on him.

"I've been all over this country except Perlis, Kedah and Kelantan. But I will come back as Malaysia is a second home to me. Whether invited or not, I will be back," he said.


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