Tuesday, May 12, 2009

More air links will boost tourism in Langkawi

More air links between Malaysia’s secondary cities and Asian countries will help boost the country’s tourism industry, said Transport Mi­­nister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat.

He said the move by AirAsia to provide daily direct flights between Singa­pore and Langkawi would help to pro­mote tourism on the duty-free island.

“Such air links also bring economic and social benefits to the people,” he said when announcing the Air­­Asia Langkawi-Singapore route yesterday.

Among those present were AirAsia Bhd chairman Datuk Abdul Aziz Bakar and the airline’s group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes.

The Singapore-Langkawi route will start on June 1, together with Penang-Singapore and the eighth frequency of Kuala Lumpur-Singapore.

Ong said the ministry welcomes any airline wanting to start air links be­­tween Langkawi and Asian countries.

However, he said the company must make sure that it was able to sustain the services.

He said AirAsia started the air link between Singapore and Kuala Lum­­­pur in November last year, followed by air links between Singapore and secondary cities in the countries.

Ong said the ministry was also prepared to explore possibilities of air routes between Langkawi and other international countries to stimulate the island’s economic growth.

Meanwhile, Fernandes hoped that hotels in Langkawi would work with the airline in promoting the island.

He said that so far seven hotels had joined forces with AirAsia to provide spe­­cial packages for Singapore-Lang­kawi passengers.

“Since the announcement of the new route, we received 50% booking for seats in June, especially during the school holidays,” he said.

Fernandes said AirAsia was offering free rooms in addition to its current promotion of one Singapore dollar for flights from Singapore to Langkawi and RM1 for flights between Langkawi and Singapore through its GoHoliday website

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