AirAsia expands China network with direct flights to Shantou and Beijing

An AirAsia Malaysia Airbus A320neo on the tarmac.
Melvinn (FN2187), CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

AirAsia Malaysia has continued its China network expansion continues with the resumption of a service to Shantou and a new direct Beijing service.

The resumption of Kuala Lumpur to Shantou flights will start from 16 June, and a new direct flight from Kota Kinabalu to Beijing (Daxing) will begin on 1 July this year.

AirAsia will reconnect Kuala Lumpur to Shantou starting with two weekly flights in June and will increase to four weekly flights in July. The airline will fly from Kota Kinabalu to Beijing (Daxing) for the first time with seven weekly flights. 

Largest foreign low-cost airline in China

The new connections will see AirAsia further strengthen its position as the largest foreign low-cost carrier in China with a 45% market share.

The latest direct flight services follow the recent resumption of flights to/from Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Nanning, Wuhan, Kunming, Macao and Hong Kong served by AirAsia Malaysia.

The rapid short-haul expansion is part of the airline’s strategy to align its international network, complementing the medium-haul connectivity to Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Beijing (Daxing) served by AirAsia X Malaysia.

Airline statement

AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat said: “We are pleased to restart our service to Shantou, which was first introduced in 2016. Shantou is one of our most popular destinations, where we flew about 340,000 guests to/from the coastal city until the end of 2019.”


“In addition, we are also thrilled to announce the commencement of the new route from Kota Kinabalu to Beijing (Daxing), of which we will be the only airline connecting Sabah state capital directly to the capital of China.

“China has always been one of our most important key markets. The two routes will contribute about 10% additional capacity to our China network, and we remain committed to expanding the connectivity to Malaysia further, which is a popular destination for Chinese tourists.”

The recent flight additions will also come as welcome news for the relation tourism industry. With the airline re-securing its China network routes, it will directly assist the continued growth of the tourism sector.

“We hope that our vast network will contribute to the Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture’s target of 16.1 million international tourist arrivals this year,” observed Riad Asmat.

AirAsia Group China operations

As a group, AirAsia currently flies on 35 routes in China with a total of 287 weekly flights from Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines in May.

Plans are in hand to increase the number of weekly flights to 317 with the addition of Kuala Lumpur to Shantou, Kota Kinabalu to Beijing (Daxing), Bangkok (Don Mueang) to Xi’an and Cebu to Shenzhen between June and July.

AirAsia Malaysia

AirAsia Malaysia (AK) currently flies 11 routes from Kuala Lumpur to Guangzhou, Kunming, Shenzhen, Nanning, Macao, and Hong Kong; from Kota Kinabalu to Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Wuhan, and Hong Kong; and from Johor Bahru to Guangzhou.

AirAsia X Malaysia

AirAsia X Malaysia (D7) flies three routes from Kuala Lumpur to Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Beijing (Daxing).

AirAsia Thailand

AirAsia Thailand (FD) currently flies 16 routes from Bangkok (Don Mueang) to Chongqing, Chengdu, Changsha, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Kunming, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Nanjing, Macao, and Hong Kong; from Chiang Mai to Beijing (Daxing), Changsha, Hangzhou, and Hong Kong; and from Phuket to Hong Kong.

AirAsia X Thailand

AirAsia X Thailand (XJ) flies one route from Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) to Shanghai. AirAsia Philippines (Z2) flies four routes from Manila to Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Macao, and Hong Kong.

By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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