Air Asia exec upbeat about new KL flight

14 Jun 2012  745 | World Travel Fairs

CLARK, Pampanga -- Philippines' AirAsia CEO Maan Hontiveros said the launching of the company's first international flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia aims to tap into the tourist arrivals of Malaysia to draw in people to Clark and Philippine destinations like Kalibo, Puerto and Davao.

Hontiveros, during the send off ceremony of Air Asia's Flight PQ 7455 with brand new Airbus 320 to Kuala Lumpur at 3:15 p.m. of June 9, said the additional frequency to Kuala Lumpur (KL) provides yet another link for Filipinos and Malaysians in the areas of business and tourism.

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"The additional frequency to KL enables our Filipino travelers to Malaysia's destinations and service an extensive network with 152 routes covering 77 destinations," Hontiveros said.

"More importantly, I am really salivating and looking at the 24.5 million tourists in Malaysia. If we could get even a fraction of that, it is going to boost our tourism arrivals, she added. "Malaysians love the Philippines. I can tell you that from our colleagues from Malaysia. They jump from any assignment and come to the Philippines and meet with us.
They really think Philippines is a lot of fun."

Citing Asean Community Figures of 2011, Hontiveros said tourist arrivals in Asean alone reached almost 74 million with Malaysia getting the biggest share or one-third of these arrivals or 24.5 million against the Philippines' 3.5 million. Thailand ranked second with 15.9 million tourist arrivals followed by Singapore with 11.6 million, Indonesia with 7 million and Vietnam with 5 million.

"So you can imagine the power that Asean has. In the largest scheme of things we really look at ourselves as, not just a Filipino airline, but we are part of an Asean brand. There are more than 598 million people in the Asean region -- thats 8.5 percent of the world's total," Hontiveros said.
The figures will say it all, she said, that is why we position ourselves to be an Asean airline.

Air Asia's new daily route complements Malaysia AirAsia's existing Kuala Lumpur-Clark-Kuala Lumpur morning flights which have been in operation since 2005.

"With Air Asia's two flights daily, you can fly to KL in the morning and fly back with us in the evening. You can do ur business there in one day," she said.

"It is going to have the same high quality at low cost price that has been the hallmark of the Air Asia companies that have garnered the Skytrax awards for three consecutive years," she said adding that they are will distinguish themselves with the cuisine on board also featured by sister companies.

Hontiveros also expressed took pride in saying that last week's KL inaugural flight was exactly two months and 11 days after the airline's first domestic flights to Kalibo, Davao and Puerto Princesa were launched.

The first international flight, the country's newest low cost carrier operated by an all-Filipino crew, arrived at Kuala Lumpur's Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) at 7 p.m. of June 9.

"When Tony Fernandes, the man who built AirAsia, came here in March to attend our domestic launch, the Philippines, according to Tony, was the last piece on AirAsia's Asean jigsaw puzzle. Indeed, we are, and we are about to shake up air travel and tourism in the region," Hontiveros said.

Meanwhile, Philippines' AirAsia announced Wednesday that it will soon fly from Clark International Airport to Hong Kong and Macau. To commemorate the twin launch, AirAsia offers all-in promo fare from only P688 one way from Clark to Hong Kong and from only P588 one way from Clark to Macau starting 13 – 19 June 2012. Guests who will avail of this promo seats will be able to travel from 19 July to 31 January 2013.

"These twin launches provide yet another opportunity for Filipinos to have access to Hong Kong and Macau’s attractions but more important for our OFW families here in Central and Northern Luzon where more than 30 percent of OFWs came from to reconnect and bring their families closer more than ever through our low cost, high value travel fares," Hontiveros added.

The country's newest low cost carrier will operate the new routes with brand new Airbus A320 with the following schedule daily: PQ7305 Clark-Hong Kong -- 7:20 a.m.; PQ7306 Hong Kong-Clark -- 9:45 a.m.; PQ7310 Clark-Macau -- 6:45 p.m.; PQ7311 Macau-Clark -- 9:30 p.m.

AirAsia Inc. is a 60-40 joint venture between Filipino investors Antonio O. Cojuangco, Michael L. Romero and Hontiveros, and Malaysia's AirAsia International Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of AirAsia Berhad, which has won SkyTrax's best low cost airline for three consecutive years (Skytrax is the world's largest airline and airport review site).

Philippines' AirAsia call center also accepts booking of regular fares via +632 588 9999 from Monday to Sunday at 0800hrs to 2100hrs (GMT +8).

Guests from Metro Manila may also purchase seats through AirAsia Travel Service Centers (ATSC) located in SM North Edsa in Quezon City and in Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

AirAsia Inc. is a Filipino Low Cost Carrier (LCC) established to serve the Philippines’ regional and domestic air travel market.

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Sourced: sunstar