Monday, May 28, 2007

AirAsia to start flights to Chinese city from July 15

AirAsia will finally be flying to China starting with daily flights to Shenzhen from July 15.

The low-cost airline's commercial executive vice-president Kathleen Tan said: “For the first time, we will be flying to one destination from two of our hubs – Bangkok and the KLIA LCCT – on the same day.

“Shenzhen will act as our initial gateway to the mainland. At present, our only China destination is Macau which has proven to be very popular,” she said in an interview.

She said the airline would also be flying to Guilin, Xiamen, Haikou and Kunming. Previously, AirAsia had been operating charter flights to some Chinese cities like Guilin.

Tan expected the flights to Xiamen to start in the next three months. AirAsia is considering a four-times-a-week schedule for this flight from Kota Kinabalu.

At present, the only international destination for the airline from Kota Kinabalu is Macau, on a daily basis.

As for the other cities, Tan said AirAsia expected to start services there by the end of the year.

“We are quite used to Guilin and Haikou because of the charter flights. The Kunming sector will probably start in the last quarter of the year,” she added.

Tan said that, at the moment, AirAsia was still looking at Chinese cities within four to four-and-a-half hour flight time.

“We will have quite an extensive network in China when our long-haul operations under AirAsiaX rolls out later this year. Then we will look at cities all over China including Tianjin, Hangzhou, Chengdu and even Chongqing,” she added.

Tianjin is a city about two hours from Beijing while Hangzhou is about an hour from Shanghai.

AirAsiaX, which is expected to start operations in September, is a franchise of AirAsia that is to be operated by FAX. The two airlines share common directors.

Source : STAR
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