AirAsia Restores East Malaysia Services

An AirAsia flight receives a water cannon salute in East Malaysia.
Photo Credit: AirAsia

AirAsia celebrates the resumption of services between Penang, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu this week, highlighting the airline’s strong commitment to the East Malaysia market.

The inaugural flight, AK5432, arrived in Kuching from Penang on Sunday, 31 March. With an impressive load factor exceeding 80%, it suggested a promising future for these routes.

A celebratory water salute greeted the aircraft upon arrival, further amplifying the festive atmosphere.

Supporting East Malaysia Demand

Bo Lingam, Group CEO of AirAsia Aviation Group, expressed his enthusiasm: “We’re thrilled to strengthen domestic connectivity within Malaysia while simultaneously bolstering our East Malaysian hubs.”

“This route resumption embodies our commitment to expanding travel options throughout the country.”

“By reintroducing these flights, we cater to the growing demand for travel between Penang and East Malaysia, thereby supporting economic growth and tourism development in the region.”

“We eagerly anticipate welcoming even more passengers on board as we continue to expand our domestic network.”

Resumption of Vientiane Services

This news comes shortly after the announcement of the Kuala Lumpur-Vientiane route’s revival, commencing July 2nd, 2024.

This significant development solidifies AirAsia Malaysia’s position as the sole carrier offering direct flights to all 10 ASEAN nations.

AirAsia’s extensive network across this region, encompassing roughly 800 million people, fosters not only robust connectivity but also economic growth and cultural exchange through tourism.

As the undisputed leader in ASEAN low-cost travel by passenger volume, the airline plays a pivotal role in the region’s economic well-being. I

ts operations generate significant spillover effects, contributing to job creation, increased tourist spending, and benefits for other sectors.

The resumption of bi-weekly flights to Vientiane, Laos’ captivating capital, is poised to further bolster regional connectivity and economic activity. The move also supports the Lao government’s goal of attracting 2.7 million foreign tourists in 2024.

In 2019, AirAsia solidified its position as the leading airline on this route by transporting nearly 50,000 passengers between Kuala Lumpur and Vientiane.

A line-up of parked AirAsia Airbus A320s.
Photo Credit: AirAsia

ASEAN Network Importance

Bo Lingam, Group CEO of AirAsia Aviation Group, reiterated the airline’s commitment: “ASEAN is the bedrock of our brand and presence. We’re immensely proud to be a true ASEAN airline with the revival of this route.”

“Our dedication to ASEAN is unwavering. We’ve established an ASEAN airline operating in five countries, connecting 130 destinations across the region and beyond.

“We haven’t just made travel accessible for millions within ASEAN. We’ve also significantly contributed to the economic prosperity of these nations. AirAsia remains steadfast in serving the people of the region.”

“Completing our network to encompass all 10 ASEAN countries represents a significant step towards regional growth while shrinking the world.”

“As an ASEAN airline, we’ll continue to champion regional integration through unwavering support for the ASEAN Open Skies Policy.”

“This policy fosters increased regional and domestic connectivity. Through the liberalization of air travel under a single, unified air transport market, it enhances ASEAN trade opportunities.”


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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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