After recently launching Bangkok-Kota Kinabalu, the AirAsia group is now announcing new routes from Kuala Lumpur to Silangit (Lake Toba), Kuala Lumpur to Phu Quoc (Vietnam) and from Cebu to Cagayan de Oro.
AirAsia is considering also to add three more destinations to its Malaysia-Indonesia route, said AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.
“We’re currently in talks for Belitung, and also looking at Banyuwangi and Raja Ampat,” he told media after announcing flights from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (klia2) to Silangit Airport in Tapanuli, North Sumatra. The new route will be flown from October 28 with four weekly services.
Fernandes said the low-cost carrier is very bullish about Indonesia, noting it is a huge market for the group. According to the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism, 25 per cent of international tourists currently come to Indonesia via AirAsia Group.
Fernandes said guests travelling to and from Indonesia can leverage on AirAsia’s Fly-Thru service for seamless transit in the Kuala Lumpur hub to over 22 international destinations.
“We’re adding more planes. Jakarta itself has a tremendous potential for secondary and tertiary destinations.
“It can be as big as Bangkok as a tourist destination,” he said, adding that the group is also looking at creating new businesses such as partnering with cruise services.
Besides Silangit, AirAsia flies 21 routes from Malaysia to 15 other destinations in Indonesia namely Jakarta, Lombok, Pekanbaru, Surabaya, Bali, Medan, Padang, Semarang, Banda Aceh, Pontianak, Yogyakarta, Palembang, Bandung, Makassar and Solo.
He said in addition to building new airports, Indonesia is also converting Terminal 2 at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport into a low-cost carrier terminal.
“We believe this is a step in the right direction and we will continue to fully support the Tourism Ministry to achieve 20 million tourist arrivals by 2019,” he said.
Prior to Silangit Airport, travellers wishing to visit Lake Toba had to take a six-hour bus ride from Medan.
In Vietnam, the airline will start four weekly services from November 2 between Kuala Lumpur and Phu Quoc. The Vietnamese Island will be the carrier’s fifth destination in the country after Ho Chi Minh City, Danang, Hanoi and Nha Trang.
Finally, Philippines AirAsia is also growing out of Cebu, offering a daily service from November to Cagayan de Oro.