Macau celebrated the start of AirAsia services from Kota Kinabalu on 2 November. Cutting the ceremonial ribbon to launch the new route were: Mandy Huang GM of Air Link Express (Macau); Gigi Wong, Deputy GM of SEMAC Security Company; Dato Dr. Lam Vai Chun; Celia Lao, CEO, AirAsia Hong Kong and Macao; Cristina Gomes da Silva, Director of the Air Transport and International Relations of Civil Aviation Authority Macau SAR; Tan Mei Leng, Director of Tourism Malaysia Hong Kong; Hoi Io Meng, Acting Director of Macao Government Tourism Office; Tay Shu Lan Senior Marketing Manager of Sabah Tourism Board; Eric Fong, Director of Marketing Department, Macau Airport; Lao Kin Sang, Deputy GM of Nam Kwong Petroleum and Chemicals and Cindy Du, Finance Director of Menzies Macau Airport Services.
On the same day, Phu Quoc celebrated the arrival of the LCC’s inaugural flight from Kuala Lumpur. Among those welcoming the aircraft on the tarmac were AirAsia Group Board of Director Dato’ Fam Lee Ee (eighth from left), Phu Quoc People’s Committee Vice Chairman Pham Van Nghiep and dignitaries from other local authorities.
- AirAsia introduced two new connections on 2 November, with the LCC commencing flights from Kota Kinabalu (BKI) to Macau (MFM) and from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Phu Quoc (PQC) on the same day. The former is a 1,819-kilometre sector, while the latter is an 867-kilometre connection. Both routes will operate four times weekly on the airline’s A320s. Neither of the new airport pairs faces any incumbent competition. Commenting on the Kota Kinabalu – Macau sector, AirAsia CEO Riad Asmat said, “With this new route, we now fly to four cities in the Pearl River Delta from our Kota Kinabalu hub. With the enhanced connectivity from the newly opened Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, our guests have the option to fly from Kota Kinabalu to Macau and return from either Hong Kong, Shenzhen or Guangzhou so they can make full use of their trip to really explore the region. Kota Kinabalu is our second largest hub in Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur and we will continue to grow our network from this city. We have launched three international routes from Kota Kinabalu this year to Bangkok, Kunming and now to Macau. This will help bring more visitors to the state and also help create more business opportunities and boost tourism receipts.” Referring to the Kuala Lumpur – Phu Quoc link, Asmat commented: “We’re proud to be the first airline to connect Malaysia to Phu Quoc, yet another unique route pioneered by AirAsia. It is encouraging to see how well the destination has been well-received, and we hope this direct service, in tandem with Phu Quoc’s visa-free policy, will accelerate international arrivals to the island and boost tourism receipts.”