AirAsia boosts Kota Kinabalu hub with Shanghai services

An AirAsia Airbus at Kota Kinabalu Airport.
Axadem, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In a move that underscores Kota Kinabalu’s growing significance as AirAsia’s second-largest hub in Malaysia, the airline is all set to launch a new international direct route to Shanghai on February 20, 2024.

This latest network expansion further positions Kota Kinabalu as a key gateway for the carrier to Mainland China.

Kota Kinabalu: AirAsia’s Hub on the Rise

AirAsia Malaysia currently serves a total of 19 destinations encompassing both domestic and international routes

The addition of Shanghai marks the sixth destination in Mainland China accessible from Kota Kinabalu, joining the ranks of Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Beijing, and Wuhan.

Often affectionately referred to as KK, Kota Kinablu is a vibrant city on the west coast of Sabah, the Malaysian state that makes up the northern part of Borneo.

Bo Lingam, the Group CEO of AirAsia Aviation Group, pointed to the relevance of the new venture, particularly for the Sabah region.


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Lingam highlighted the significance of the government’s visa-free entry initiative, creating a prime opportunity to boost tourism between China and Malaysia.

As China stands out as one of AirAsia’s largest markets, the airline is set to operate 19 routes from Malaysia, offering an impressive 162 weekly flights from February 2024 onwards.

Sabah Tourism

The unveiling of this international route is not only about expanding AirAsia’s Kota Kinabalu hub but also about reinforcing its status as the largest foreign low-cost carrier in China.

Lingam emphasized the airline’s commitment to contributing substantially to the Sabah tourism sector, aligning with the state’s ambitious target of attracting 2.8 million tourist arrivals in 2024.

Promotional Fares to Shanghai

To celebrate the inauguration of the Kota Kinabalu-Shanghai route, AirAsia is extending a special treat to travelers. Promotional fares for the one-way journey from Kota Kinabalu to Shanghai start from an enticing RM288.

This exclusive offer is available for booking until January 21, 2024, and is valid for travel between February 20, 2024, and March 29, 2024.

It’s a golden opportunity for avid travelers to experience the allure of Shanghai at an unbeatable price.

Kota Kinabalu’s Global Connectivity

AirAsia Malaysia has not only solidified its presence in Mainland China but has also established direct connections from the Sabah city to three other international destinations.

Singapore, Taipei, and Hong Kong are also seamlessly linked to Kota Kinabalu, further enhancing the city’s global connectivity.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 3 Min Read
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