Thursday, July 09, 2009

AirAsia aims to park 10 planes in Penang to start new hub

AirAsia Bhd’s plan to park more planes at the Penang International Airport can materialise faster if Penang has a low-cost carrier terminal.

File pic of AirAsia aircraft at Kuala Lumpur International Airport's low cost carrier terminal in Sepang. Malaysian budget carrier is to park 10 planes in Penang and make Penang its 8th hub. - APpic

Regional head of commercial Kathleen Tan said the budget airline operator had plans to park 10 planes in Penang, which was in line with its goal of making the island its eighth hub.

AirAsia has hubs in Kuala Lumpur, Johor Baru, Kota Kinabalu, Bandung, Bali, Jakarta and Bangkok; and a “virtual hub” in Singapore.

“This is our long-term plan to enhance the attraction of Penang as a hub. Presently the cost of operation in Penang is very high. If Penang had a low-cost carrier terminal, it would reduce our operation cost, and attract more travellers to fly from Penang,” she said in a telephone interview from Kuala Lumpur.

Tan said presently the Penang airport imposed higher international and domestic taxes, at RM51 and RM9 compared with RM25 and RM6 respectively charged at the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal in Kuala Lumpur.

She said from July 31, AirAsia would station one plane in Penang for the four weekly flights to Hong Kong. The round trip fare is about RM200.

“We are engaging a support team comprising pilots, engineers and technicians to be based at the Penang airport,” she said, adding that AirAsia was also adding a second flight to Singapore from Penang starting July 31.

Source : STAR
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