Saturday, June 23, 2007

Malaysia-France talks on more flights to Paris

The Malaysian and French governments will begin formal talks in October on Malaysia’s request for more landing rights in Paris.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said that during bilateral talks with his French counterpart Dominique Busserreau on Tuesday on cooperation in the areas of transportation and maritime affairs, he had requested that Malaysia’s seven times weekly flights to Paris be doubled to 14 weekly in view of the increasing load factor between the two cities.

Chan was speaking to reporters after witnessing the signing between AirAsia Xpress Sdn Bhd and Rolls-Royce plc for 34 engines from the latter worth a total of US$1.3bil (RM4.8bil).

The minister said in the first four months of this year alone, the passenger load factor on flights departing Kuala Lumpur for Paris reached a high of 81%, which was significantly higher than the 60% to 70% annual load factor recorded in the past few years.

He said Malaysia Airlines, which started flying daily to Paris since October last year, had fully utilised the rights, adding that increasing landing rights would be a boost to tourism and investments.

On whether the additional landing rights would be to Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport, he said it could be to another airport but did not name it.

He also said no timeframe was set for conclusion of the talks, but it is understood that the airport could be Orly Airport, less than an hour from the city centre.

An observer said the additional rights would be a boon to AirAsiaX, which is mounting medium and long haul low cost flights in a big way to Europe, among other destinations, from next year.

Chan said during his stint in this city, he had officiated at a reception on Sunday night to promote the upcoming Langkawi Air Show (Lima 07) from Dec 4 to 8.

“The turnout from the major aviation players was overwhelming. We can expect strong participation for Lima this year,” he added.

Source : STAR
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