AirAsia expands China network

(PHOTO: Shutterstock)

AirAsia Malaysia’s (AK) China expansion continues, with the resumption of direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Shantou starting 16 June and a new direct flight from Kota Kinabalu to Beijing (Daxing) on 1 July this year.

AirAsia will reconnect Kuala Lumpur to Shantou starting with two weekly flights in June and will increase to four weekly flights in July. The airline will fly from Kota Kinabalu to Beijing (Daxing) for the first time with seven weekly flights.

The new connections allow AirAsia to strengthen its position as the largest foreign low-cost carrier in China with a 45 percent market share, following the recent resumption of flights to/from Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Nanning, Wuhan, Kunming, Macao and Hong Kong served by AirAsia Malaysia (AK).

The rapid short-haul expansion is part of the airline’s strategy to align its international network, complementing the medium-haul connectivity to Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Beijing (Daxing) served by AirAsia X Malaysia (D7).

AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat said: “We are pleased to restart our service to Shantou, which was first introduced in 2016. Shantou is one of our most popular destinations, where we flew about 340,000 guests to/from the coastal city until the end of 2019. In addition, we are also thrilled to announce the commencement of the new route from Kota Kinabalu to Beijing (Daxing), of which we will be the only airline connecting Sabah state capital directly to the capital of China. China has always been one of our most important key markets. The two routes will contribute about 10% additional capacity to our China network, and we remain committed to expanding the connectivity to Malaysia further, which is a popular destination for Chinese tourists. Our expansion strategy is excellent news for Malaysian tourism. Having most of China’s routes back on our network will help the growth of the tourism sector, an important asset for the nation’s economy. We hope that our vast network will contribute to the Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture’s target of 16.1 million international tourist arrivals this year.”

As a group, AirAsia currently flies to 35 routes in China with a total of 287 weekly flights from Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines in May, with plans to increase the number of weekly flights to 317 with the addition of Kuala Lumpur to Shantou, Kota Kinabalu to Beijing (Daxing), Bangkok (Don Mueang) to Xi’an and Cebu to Shenzhen between June and July.

AirAsia Malaysia (AK) currently flies 11 routes from Kuala Lumpur to Guangzhou, Kunming, Shenzhen, Nanning, Macao, and Hong Kong; from Kota Kinabalu to Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Wuhan, and Hong Kong; and from Johor Bahru to Guangzhou. AirAsia X Malaysia (D7) flies three routes from Kuala Lumpur to Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Beijing (Daxing).

AirAsia Thailand (FD) currently flies 16 routes from Bangkok (Don Mueang) to Chongqing, Chengdu, Changsha, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Kunming, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Nanjing, Macao, and Hong Kong; from Chiang Mai to Beijing (Daxing), Changsha, Hangzhou, and Hong Kong; and from Phuket to Hong Kong. AirAsia X Thailand (XJ) flies one route from Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) to Shanghai. AirAsia Philippines (Z2) flies four routes from Manila to Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Macao, and Hong Kong.

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