AirAsia to ramp up China services

An AirAsia A320 lifts off.
Jakkrit Prasertwit GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons

AirAsia is all set to elevate its flight offerings between Malaysia and China as it anticipates a continuous surge in forward sales over the upcoming months.

The travel landscape has been undergoing a remarkable transformation, with travel demand bouncing back after the challenges posed by the pandemic.

As part of its strategic response, AirAsia is poised to tap into this burgeoning demand and cater to the increasing number of travelers between these two countries.

The Growing Trend


July reports have revealed that the average load factor, representing the number of guests carried per flight, for both AirAsia Malaysia (AK) and AirAsia X Malaysia (D7) flights to and from China, has reached an impressive 80 percent.

This marks a substantial rebound and signals a positive momentum for the aviation industry.

Notably, several key routes such as Kuala Lumpur-Shanghai, Kota Kinabalu-Guangzhou, Kuala Lumpur-Nanning, and Kota Kinabalu-Wuhan have witnessed load factors soaring as high as 95 percent, showcasing the strong resurgence in travel interest.

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An AirAsia Malaysia Airbus on an approach to land.
km30192002, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Impressive Seat Sales


Between March and early July this year, both airlines have successfully sold over 320,000 seats for flights connecting China and Malaysia. This remarkable figure constitutes around 30 percent of the equivalent period pre-Covid in 2019.

Notably, about 75 percent of these seats have been purchased by Chinese nationals, reaffirming Malaysia’s status as a preferred destination for tourists from China. This trend underscores the nation’s allure and underscores the rekindled traveler enthusiasm.

Expanding Routes


AirAsia Malaysia (AK) is all geared up to reintroduce another route, offering flights from Kota Kinabalu to Hangzhou, with a three-flight-per-week schedule commencing on September 2, 2023.

In parallel, AirAsia X Malaysia (D7) is preparing to bolster its services, increasing flights from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing (Daxing) from four to five flights weekly, starting September 1.

Additionally, flights between Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai will elevate from four to seven flights per week, commencing September 15, and services from Kuala Lumpur to Hangzhou will escalate from three to four flights weekly, beginning September 30, 2023.

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

A Strategic Move


Riad Asmat, the CEO of AirAsia Malaysia, was pleased with the heightened travel interest between the two countries. He emphasized the airline’s commitment to serving second-tier cities and expanding connectivity.

The additional flights to Hangzhou and plans for further frequency increases reflect AirAsia’s dedication to accommodating growing demands and boosting both international and domestic travel.

Advancing Connectivity


Benyamin Ismail, CEO of AirAsia X Malaysia, also acknowledged the persistent strong demand for China travel across their network. The move to add more frequencies and optimize popular Chinese routes underscores their commitment to trade, tourism, and investments between the two nations.

This approach aligns with the company’s goal of enhancing guest experiences, maximizing fleet utilization, and providing greater exploration opportunities for travelers.

Affordable Exploration


In tandem with its route expansions, AirAsia is also launching discounted fares for travelers. These fares extend to North Asian destinations, encompassing Guilin, Guangzhou, Nanning, Shantou, Beijing, and Shanghai, with prices starting from RM319 all-in one-way.

AirAsia Malaysia (AK) is currently operating 14 routes to and from China, boasting over 104 weekly flights. These routes connect Kuala Lumpur to various destinations such as Guilin, Quanzhou, Guangzhou, Kunming, Shenzhen, Nanning, Shantou, and Macao.

Additionally, flights from Kota Kinabalu to Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Beijing, and Macao, as well as from Johor Bahru to Guangzhou, further solidify the airline’s comprehensive connectivity.

AirAsia X Malaysia (D7) is also making its mark, offering four routes to and from China with more than 22 weekly flights.

The routes include Kuala Lumpur to Chengdu (Tianfu), Beijing (Daxing), Shanghai, and Hangzhou, all of which contribute to AirAsia’s mission of bridging nations and fostering unparalleled travel opportunities.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
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