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AirAsia to fly direct from Kuching to more places

AIRASIA will reinstate the Kuching-Macau route in two to three months, chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said yesterday.

However, the low-cost carrier will continue to suspend the loss-making Kuching-Bali route, he said after a closed-door meeting with Sarawak Tourism Minister Datuk Michael Manyin in Kuching.

Manyin had called for the meeting as there had been concern that the suspension of direct flights to two such well-known destinations would be a setback in the state's drive for greater air connectivity.

Fernandes also announced yesterday that AirAsia will bear all the costs of building a low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) at the newly-refurbished and expanded Kuching International Airport.

He said the carrier will begin the long sought-after Singapore-Kuching route on November 1.

It will increase the frequency of its Kuala Lumpur-Bintulu and Bintulu-Kuching flights and mount a direct Kota Kinabalu-Bintulu service.

A site had been earmarked for the LCCT in Kuching, but construction was held up because of a delay in getting the go-ahead from the Ministry of Finance and AirAsia's request for a site bigger than what was allocated.

To date, AirAsia has carried 3.6 million passengers to Sarawak. Its market share of the lucrative Kuala Lumpur-Kuching route has risen from 33 per cent in 2003 to 68 per cent at present.

By Desmond Davidson







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