AirAsia to Launch New Kalibo-Kuala Lumpur Flights

The Philippines is about to enjoy an influx of Malaysian tourists as AirAsia begins direct service between Kuala Lumpur and Kalibo, the gateway to Boracay Island, on April 18, 2014. The new service will be operated by AirAsia Malaysia utilizing the company's Airbus A320 aircraft.

airasia zest a320
Copyright Photo: Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG
AirAsia Malaysia CEO Aireen Omar launched the new route alongside Jose Eduardo Malaya, the Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia. "As we move towards the attainment of the Asean Economic Community in 2015 and as close neighbours, it is high time for Malaysians and Filipinos to meet, engage, and get to know more of each other's peoples and countries," said Malaya. The new service is the first direct link from Malaysia to Kalibo and will be operated four times weekly giving Malaysian tourists an opportunity to bypass Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. According to Philippine Embassy data, 109,437 tourists from Malaysia arrived in 2013.

Kalibo flights will depart Kuala Lumpur's low cost carrier terminal every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. AirAsia presently offers three direct links to Malaysia from the Philippines serving the Malaysian cities of Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, and Miri. According to AirAsia Malaysia CEO Aireen Omar, the Philippines is an emerging market that AirAsia wants to capture especially with the presence of AirAsia Zest connecting Philippine cities domestically.

Meanwhile, AirAsia Zest revealed that it is acquiring two additional aircraft in the first half of 2014 to support expansion of its international and domestic network. The two aircraft will be provided by AirAsia Malaysia to help increase domestic flight frequencies and expand international service to Japan and China. According to AirAsia Philippines CEO Maan Hontiveros, the airline wants to end the year with a fleet of sixteen aircraft.

"The fleet plan will change depending on what routes are available for us," said Hontiveros. "We want to increase our domestic flight frequencies and we are also looking at Japan and China." The airline plans to increase frequencies to Kalibo, Tagbilaran, Tacloban, Puerto Princesa, Cagayan de Oro, and Davao.

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