Wednesday, August 29, 2007

AirAsia to expand southern hub to tap Iskandar region

AirAsia will continue with efforts to expand its southern hub at Senai Airport in view of the great potential of the Iskandar Development Region (IDR).

“We have seen the plans for Iskandar, and we are big believers in it. When Iskandar is ready, we will already be a part of it,” said chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes.

“We are not waiting to see if Iskandar happens or not. We have faith in the state,” he added.

AirAsia simultaneously launched direct flights from Johor Baru to Macau and Palembang in Indonesia yesterday.

Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, Fernandes and AirAsia Deputy CEO Datuk Kamarudin Meranun welcomed 150 passengers from Macau who flew in on a new Airbus A320.

Fernandes said he was happy with the response from the Macau flight which recorded a load factor of 85%, compared to an average of 70%.

“It usually takes 18 months to develop a route but we have seen a 85% load factor already,” he said.

Fernandes said the airline was targeting one million passengers via Senai Airport next year. With Macau and Palembang, AirAsia now has 84 flights weekly from Senai Airport.

He added that he plans to open the no-frills hotel Tune Hotel in Danga Bay, Johor Baru.

Abdul Ghani said he was honoured that AirAsia had chosen Senai Airport as the first destination to fly its new Airbus.

“This signifies the airline’s commitment to enhance the connectivity in the region,” he said.

Source : STAR
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