Aug 16, 2018


KOTA KINABALU, 16 August 2018 - AirAsia celebrates its maiden flight from Bangkok, Thailand to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia today. The unique route, which marks the first AirAsia Thailand’s flight to East Malaysia, is a testament to AirAsia’s commitment to further grow Kota Kinabalu hub.

The inaugural service departed Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok earlier today, and was joined by Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia YB Tuan Mohamaddin Bin Ketapi. The flight was welcomed with a water cannon salute upon landing at Kota Kinabalu International Airport and was received by Deputy Chief Minister cum Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment of Sabah YB Mdm. Christina Liew, AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat and AirAsia Malaysia Head of Commercial Spencer Lee.

AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat said, “We are pleased to welcome our inaugural flight from Bangkok to Kota Kinabalu today. We launched our first flight to Kota Kinabalu back in 2002, and have flown more than 39 million guests from and to the city since. We now connect Kota Kinabalu to 18 destinations across the region with 332 weekly flights. We hope that our new direct service between Bangkok and Kota Kinabalu will bring more positive impact, not just to the state’s tourism and economic sector, but to the communities in Sabah as well.”

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank both Federal and State Tourism Ministry for supporting the low-cost business model and for engaging stakeholders, including AirAsia, to improve the connectivity in and out of Sabah.”

Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia YB Tuan Mohamaddin Bin Ketapi said, “Collaboration for air accessibility into Malaysia is very much welcomed and I am pleased that AirAsia Thailand has expanded its route to Sabah. Thailand is an important market for Malaysia with potential for growth especially with the interest in travel among Thais and the range of tourism products in Malaysia that cater to their needs. Sabah definitely has a lot of attractive tourism offerings that appeal to Thai tourists. Besides our rainforests, islands and beaches, Sabah is also a seafood haven. I hope that industry players of both countries will work together with AirAsia Thailand to promote Malaysia and vice versa to ensure the sustainability of this route.”

Deputy Chief Minister cum Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment of Sabah YB Mdm. Christina Liew said, “On behalf of the State Government, we welcome the inaugural of the direct connectivity to Bangkok by AirAsia Thailand very much. KKIA is now connected to 21 international cities, certainly Bangkok is a very important hub to be linked to us. It’s one of AirAsia’s busiest hubs that connects long haul destinations from USA, Europe, Russia, the Middle East as well as India. Besides the young Thai travellers who are food enthusiasts and keen adventurers, we will also be looking at attracting the expat community working for international organizations over there.”

AirAsia Group currently flies from Kota Kinabalu to 9 international destinations (Bangkok, Singapore, Manila, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Wuhan, and Taipei) and 8 domestic destinations (Kuala Lumpur, Tawau, Sandakan, Miri, Kuching, Penang, Kota Bharu and Johor Bahru). AirAsia will also operate Kota Kinabalu - Macao route effective November this year.

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About AirAsia

AirAsia, the world’s leading low-cost carrier, services an extensive network of over 130 destinations across Asia Pacific. Since starting operations in 2001, AirAsia has carried more than 500 million guests and grown its fleet from just two aircraft to over 200. The airline is proud to be a truly Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) airline with established operations based in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines as well as India and Japan, servicing a network stretching across Asia, Australia and New Zealand, the Middle East and the US. AirAsia has been named the World’s Best Low-Cost Airline at the annual Skytrax World Airline Awards ten times in a row from 2009 to 2018. AirAsia was also awarded World's Leading Low-Cost Airline for the fifth consecutive year at the 2017 World Travel Awards, where it became the inaugural recipient of the World's Leading Low-Cost Airline Cabin Crew award.

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