Sunday, November 12, 2006

Ready for the longer hauls

Ready for the longer hauls

KUALA LUMPUR: With AirAsia's success as a low-cost carrier in regional sectors, the Government is now looking at low-cost medium and long-haul flights to China, India and even Europe.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said Malaysia was ready for longer flights based on its experience in regional operations.

“This can change the aviation landscape,” he said yesterday in an interview.
He said the routes AirAsia is plying would complement those of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to create a win-win situation.

“There are many destinations that MAS is not flying to. Take China, for example. We have rights for up to 125 flights a week, but are only using 47.

“We have to provide air links between many more cities in China and Kuala Lumpur and low-cost medium-haul flights would be an answer.”

Flights under four hours are considered short-haul while those more than 10 hours are long-haul.

On Thursday, Chan was named Aviation Minister of the Year by the Australian-based Centre of Asia Pacific Aviation (Capa) for his efforts in domestic aviation reforms and infrastructure development.

Malaysia also won other Capa awards – KL International Airport (KLIA) received the Low-Cost Airport of The Year award, and MAS the Airline Turnaround of the Year award.
Chan also said Philippines' Cebu Pacific would start operating at the KLIA low-cost carrier terminal by the end of the month, making it the only other airline after AirAsia.

Attracting more low-cost carriers to KLIA was one of the strategies to ensure Malaysia maintained its position as Asia's low-cost hub, he said.

“We are also talking to a few other carriers in the region.”

Chan said the low-cost carrier terminal was the fastest growing of its type in the world. Since opening in March, it has handled 4.8 million passengers up to September.

News Source : STAR

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