Monday, March 05, 2007

Second Low Cost Carrier (LCC) for Malaysia

PENANG – Penang is going ga-ga at the prospect of having Asmara Air, touted as Malaysia's second low-cost carrier, making the resort island its hub.

Scheduled to take to the skies next month, the privately-owned airline will cover destinations within Malaysia that includes Langkawi, Terengganu and Kelantan and ASEAN countries such as Thailand.

PENANG: Asmara Air, touted as the country’s second low-cost carrier after AirAsia, is likely to be the new airline which will be based at the Penang International Airport.

A source said Asmara Air Services Sdn Bhd, which would focus on full-service charter flights, including meals on-board and numbered seating, was likely to launch its maiden flight here soon.

“Besides Asmara Air, Malaysia Airlines too may be keen to venture into the charter flight business in Penang,” the source said.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy had on Saturday hinted that a new local airline would operate from the Penang airport by April.

Declining to name the airline, he said that the company was in the final stages of obtaining necessary permits to set up base at the airport.

Penang International Airport senior manager Abdul Wahab Mohd Yusof, when contacted yesterday, said that although Asmara Air had principally agreed to operate from Penang, it had yet to confirm its flight schedules.

“We have not received any formal indication from both the Transport Ministry and Asmara Air to begin operations here by April.

“However, we will provide the necessary assistance to enable any new airline company to be based at the airport,” he said.

Abdul Wahab said that apart from allowing the aircraft to use the main airport terminal, Malaysia Airports Berhad would provide the necessary check-in and passenger processing facilities at the airport.

“There is no need to add special counters for the new airline.

“They can use our existing 32 check-in counters,” he said.

In October last year, Asmara Air Services chairman Datuk Fuad Hassan had said that the company would operate from its base in Pe-nang and expected to launch its maiden flight by December last year.

He said the company would initially focus on short hops between domestic towns and cities, particularly the underserved ones like Alor Star, Ipoh, Malacca, Kota Baru and Kerteh.

Source : Travel Weekly STAR

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