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Old January 14th, 2009, 03:38 PM   #1421
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Malaysia Airlines scraps domestic fuel surcharges

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Flag carrier Malaysia Airlines said Tuesday it will scrap fuel surcharges for domestic flights as part of efforts to boost air travel amid an economic slowdown.

The airline said surcharges would be abolished Wednesday amid competitive pressure and following a decline in fuel prices. The move comes nearly two months after its rival, budget carrier AirAsia, removed fuel surcharges on all flights.

Malaysia Airlines had earlier reduced fuel surcharges for selected international travel including from Malaysia to Korea, Japan, Paris, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Despite recent falls in the oil price, Managing Director Idris Jala said the carrier's fuel costs were still be higher than in 2004 when the fuel surcharge was first introduced.

He said fuel remained the company's biggest cost, and that the surcharge only covers about 30 percent of its fuel bill.

Jet fuel, which is sold at a premium to crude oil, currently costs around $60 a barrel. Crude prices have tumbled to around $37 a barrel from a peak of nearly $150 last July as slower global economic growth crimps demand for oil.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 02:19 PM   #1422
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AirAsia heads to cyberspace to clear the air
15-01-2009: by Chua Sue-Ann

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia has launched a website to clear misconceptions and provide answers in relation to its proposed new low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) which it plans to build with Sime Darby Bhd.

In appealing for public support for the LCCT called [email protected], AirAsia group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said the website would serve as a one-stop info centre that dispels the rumours, corrects misconceptions and provides the context under which the proposed airport is planned.

In a separate statement issued yesterday, AirAsia said the new terminal, which it dubbed “The Rakyat’s Terminal” was crucial for the airline’s survival given that it was receiving at least two new aircraft every month and was anticipating passenger growth to reach an estimated 60 million in 2013.

AirAsia noted that the current LCCT in Sepang is owned, operated and managed by the government-linked Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd and not the budget airline operator, adding that AirAsia had noted user complaints about the current LCCT facilities.

“We appreciate the fact that almost everyone who has voiced their view agrees that AirAsia needs a new terminal.

“We would also like to appeal to you to voice out your support for the project…by writing to the print media, appearing on broadcast media, responding in the online media, especially blogs, and contacting your elected representatives,” AirAsia said.

The proposal had generated intense debate in both the traditional media and cyberspace, prompting the budget carrier to justify its need for a new LCCT terminal, located just 22km east of the main KLIA building.

Sime Darby Bhd had on Jan 5 obtained government approval to proceed with the proposed RM1.6 billion LCCT project, which it said was an integral part of the development plan for its Negri Sembilan Vision City (NSVC) and Central Vision Valley (CVV) property development project spanning parts of Selangor and Negri Sembilan.

The first phase of the Labu LCCT, expected to be completed in March 2011, would have a capacity of 30 million passengers per year and could be further increased to 50 million passengers, depending on AirAsia’s growth.
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Old January 18th, 2009, 12:24 PM   #1423
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MAS offers 20 extra flights till Feb 1
Sunday January 18, 2009

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will offer 20 extra domestic and international flights for travel between Jan 23 and Feb 1 for the Chinese New Year festivities.

In a statement, MAS announced that the additional flights are currently on sale and cover return flights between Kuala Lumpur and Kuching and between Johor Baru and Kuching.

The extra international flights are return flights between Kota Kinabalu and Hong Kong and Kota Kinabalu and Taipei.

Meanwhile, MAS subsidiary Firefly is offering 40 extra flights from Subang and Penang to four destinations – Kota Baru, Medan, Koh Samui and Phuket – for travel between Jan 24 and 31.

The statement also said that Firefly would introduce its second weekly flight, the Penang-Medan route, from Jan 24.

For more information on MAS flights call 1-300-88-3000 or visit www.malaysiaairlines.com.

To contact Firefly call 03-78454543 between 8am and 9pm or visit www.fireflyz.com.
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Old January 20th, 2009, 03:36 PM   #1424
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AirAsia keen on more landing rights in Philippines
20-01-2009: by Gan Yen Kuan

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia Bhd is working on securing more landing rights in the Philippines to expand its network in the republic, its group chief executive Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said.

In particular, he said, the budget carrier was keen for both its associates — Indonesia AirAsia and Thai AirAsia — to fly to Cebu, Manila, Davao and Zamboanga in the Philippines next year.

“We are keen to open more points from Thailand into the Philippines, as well as from Jakarta. We are looking at Cebu right now, and we are very keen on going to Manila. We also really want to develop Zamboanga and Davao.

“(Our target) is next year for sure. We hope we get the rights. Getting rights is not easy,” he told reporters after the launching of the Asean Basketball League here yesterday.

Currently, AirAsia’s only destination in the Philippines is Clark, about 80km north of Manila, with daily flights out of Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu.

At yesterday’s event, Fernandes launched the Asean Basketball League (ABL), an initiative by South East Asian Basketball Association and several private investors to create a regional basketball league that will see the participation of professional teams owned and operated by private owners.

ABL will be hosted by cities in each Asean member country, with the first season scheduled to start in September this year and end in February 2010. Fernandes, who is the league’s chairman, and several other investors would provide the initial funding of some RM5 million.

“This (ABL) has got nothing to do with AirAsia and Tune group. It’s in my personal capacity. I’ve always loved sports,” Fernandes said.

Asked if AirAsia would be chosen as the exclusive carrier to transport ABL’s players and fans, he said: “It’s up to ABL to propose to AirAsia. Naturally, it makes sense for AirAsia. We can move fans around due to our strong connectivity in Asean.”

Bernama reported that AirAsia would launch a new route from Penang to Macau beginning March 1. There will be four direct flights a week from Penang and three a week from Macau. The minimum fare for a one-way trip is RM49 and tickets can be booked online from Jan 19 to 25, for travel between March 1 and Oct 24.
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Old January 20th, 2009, 03:49 PM   #1425
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AirAsia Launches Bangkok To Bali Flights
January 20, 2009 20:27 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 20 (Bernama) -- AirAsia today launched its direct daily flights to Bali from Bangkok.

In a statement here today, AirAsia said the route, which was opened for booking on Dec 17, 2008, would further strengthen its aggressive expansion plans.

The airline said today also marked the start of its maiden flight to Guangzhou, China from Bangkok.

Both routes are operated by Thai AirAsia, an associate of the AirAsia group.

"To commemorate this special occasion, the airline is offering special low fares online for flights to Bali from Bangkok.

"The flight is now on sale for 999 baht (100 baht = RM3.57) one way," it said.

-- BERNAMA
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 02:27 PM   #1426
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Festive cuisine on MAS flights
Friday January 23, 2009

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Air*lines (MAS) passengers flying to China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan will have a choice of Chinese cuisine during the Chinese New Year season.

Among the authentic Chinese dishes available on the new menu are pan-fried silver cod served with soy sauce glaze, yong chow fried rice with crab meat and diced scallops, stir-fried noodles with chicken and julienned vegetables, steamed red garoupa yuh siang-style, barbecued chicken pau and Chinese congee with shredded dried scallops.

MAS currently operates 82 flights per week to China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 04:50 PM   #1427
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 04:52 PM   #1428
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Old January 24th, 2009, 04:56 AM   #1429
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AirAsia gets enquiries on KLIA-East from investors
Published: 2009/01/24

AIRASIA Bhd (5099) has received numerous enquiries from domestic and international investors expressing interest to participate in the new low-cost carrier terminal in Labu, Negeri Sembilan.

KLIA-East, to be built on a 2,800 hectares, estimated to cost RM1.6 billion, is a private fund initiative, AirAsia said in a statement yesterday.

AirAsia said since the Cabinet’s approval of the Central Malaysian Vision Valley project, of which the KLIA-East LCCT is a vital component, AirAsia and Sime Darby have been in negotiations to finalise the details.

“We look forward to presenting the Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak a detailed briefing on KLIA-East and the advanced plans we have developed for making the Kuala Lumpur the regional hub for low-cost carriers,” the company said.
AirAsia also appreciated Najib’s willingness to explore all options in helping to overcome the appalling conditions LCCT passengers face daily at the crowded Sepang LCCT. — Bernama
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Old January 25th, 2009, 12:23 PM   #1430
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Old January 26th, 2009, 08:07 AM   #1431
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New routes can mean more business, says AirAsia X’s CEO
Monday January 26, 2009

BEIJING: AirAsia X’s new routes to more Chinese cities in the future can translate into more business opportunities for both countries, said AirAsia X Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Azran Osman Rani.

“We started flying to China less than two years ago but the number of passengers has grown 50%,” he said in an interview.

Azran was among the over-70-member delegation led by MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat for a six-day visit to Beijing to foster closer ties and strengthen co-operation in various areas such as aviation and port development.

On Tuesday, Ong met his counterparts before calling on Jia Qinglin, China’s People’s Political Consultative Conference chairman, and raised the question of greater aviation co-operation between both countries.

It was reported earlier that Ong had said the two countries would fully utilise the rights allowed in their bilateral agreement after 2010.

The low-cost carrier will be flying to Tianjin five times a week from March and will increase the frequency to daily flights after September.

It will also begin flights to Xi’an and Chengdu this year after time slots have been confirmed.

On the new routes, Azran said they expected to see a big surge of passengers once they were able to fly direct to other Chinese cities.

Currently, AirAsia X, the long-haul low-cost affiliate of AirAsia, flies to Macau and Hangzhou in China.

The electrical engineer from Stanford University added that the carrier would make Beijing more affordable and would bring people to the capital through Tianjin.

“After this, we want to include Chengdu, Xi’an, and Chongqing.’

“We hope our presence will help people (the Chinese) here understand that the low-cost carrier brings a much greater market,” he said.

With China’s significant new middle class, Azran said the new routes would help the carrier get a greater share of the market.

“China is so huge that what we are doing now is just scratching the surface,” he added.

One challenge to entering the Chinese market had been getting approval.

“Had we not got our Minister of Transport here, we may not have obtained the approval to fly to Tianjin this fast,” he said in expressing his gratitude to Ong.

On the cost of entering the Chinese market, Azran said it would take them two to three years to recoup the expenses, adding it was long-term investment for them.

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp...813&sec=nation
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Old January 26th, 2009, 11:06 AM   #1432
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New Chinese menu on Malaysia Airlines to kick off lunar New Year


Malaysia Airlines will roll out its new Chinese menu in time for the Chinese New Year celebrations with a refreshed array of authentic cuisine served on board its China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan flights.

Among others, passengers will get to enjoy cuisines like pan fried silver cod served with soya sauce glace, yong chow fried rice with crab meat and diced scallops, stir-fried noodles with chicken and julienne vegetables, steamed red garoupa ‘yuh siang’ style, BBQ chicken pau and Chinese congee with shredded dried scallops, depending on the actual meal cycles applicable on each flight.

The new Chinese menu was conceptualised and developed as joint effort between Malaysia Airlines and LSG Skychefs, with chefs specially flown in from Hong Kong and Chengdu. Malaysia Airlines currently operates 82 flights per week to China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

Malaysia Airlines General Manager Inflight Services, Hayati Dato Ali said, “With globalization, travellers are becoming more particular about the kind of meals they are served inflight. Through this initiative, we hope to meet our customer expectations through a stronger focus on route specific needs.

“In positioning ourselves as the World’s Five Star Value Carrier, we constantly work towards the most creative, innovative and exceptional inflight meal standards as well as quality set along the ‘halal’ benchmark.

This is in line with our aim to deliver outstanding inflight food and beverage offerings in our efforts to extend Malaysian Hospitality to our guests,” she said.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 12:08 PM   #1433
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Malaysia Airlines Adds Newark Flight


Malaysia Airlines has added an additional flight from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) via Stockholm to Kuala Lumpur, effective April 2. The flight take off three times a week and will offer roundtrip service with a tweaked schedule that will provide same-day connections between Kuala Lumpur and most cities in Southeast Asia.

Flight MH91 departs EWR Monday, Thursday and Saturday at 10:00 p.m. and arrives in Kuala Lumpur Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 11:59 p.m.

MH90 departs Kuala Lumpur Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 23:59 p.m. and arrives in Newark Thursday, Saturday and Monday at 10:05 p.m.

According to Malaysia Airlines, the above schedule will provide same day connections between Newark and cities in the U.S.

Visit www.Malaysiaairlines.com.
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Old January 30th, 2009, 02:56 PM   #1434
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MAS slashes international fuel surcharges
Published: 2009/01/30

MALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) has slashed fuel surcharge on international flights by up to 73 per cent due to the decline in fuel prices, competitive pressures and the need to boost air travel during the current economic slowdown.

Beginning today, the national carrier will remove fuel surcharge from its Singapore and Brunei flights. There has also been a worldwide reduction of up to 54 per cent in fuel surcharge to/from Asean.

By February 1, MAS said, fuel surcharge on flights from China will be reduced by up to US$100 (RM360), Australia and New Zealand by up to US$210 (RM756) and Middle East by up to US$150 (RM540).

Africa and North America flights will also see a reduction of up to US$160 and US$185 (RM576 and RM666) each.

Earlier this month, MAS had reduced fuel surcharge for domestic travel within Malaysia and international travel from Malaysia to Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Paris, Germany and from other points of sales to various destinations.

"We have always offered competitive fares that are benchmarked against our competitors on a route-by-route basis. The latest revision in fuel surcharge is to ensure even more competitive pricing," commercial director Datuk Rashid Khan said in a statement.

Oil prices have fallen by almost three-quarters since hitting a record high in July of US$147 (about RM529) per barrel. On Wednesday, jet fuel, which is higher priced compared to crude oil, was trading at US$55 (RM198) per barrel

"Fuel remains our biggest cost and our fuel bill for financial year 2008 will be higher than fiscal 2007 as the fuel surcharge only covers about 30 per cent of the fuel cost," he said.
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Old February 1st, 2009, 04:21 AM   #1435
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Old February 1st, 2009, 02:35 PM   #1436
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AirAsia X targets RM200mil profit
Saturday January 31, 2009
By JAGDEV SINGH SIDHU

AIRASIA X Sdn Bhd, which started business just over a year ago, is projecting revenue of RM1bil and a net profit of RM200mil this year.

The long-haul associate company of AirAsia Bhd posted a modest profit in the last quarter and says the big leap in the business will come as it takes delivery of more planes and flies to more destinations this year.

“We have more seats per plane and we fly more hours,” chief executive officer Azran Osman Rani tells StarBizWeek. “These two things give us a 50% unit-cost advantage over a traditional long-haul carrier.”

The huge improvement forecast by AirAsia X is a stark contrast to what most airlines around the world are saying and experiencing. Mounting losses and sluggish load factors have cast a long shadow over the industry that has been rocked by one problem after another, the latest being high fuel prices and poor demand.

The International Air Transport Association has forecast airlines would lose billions of dollars globally as passenger travel is expected to decline by 3% and cargo by 5% in 2009.

The global economic slowdown will depress travel demand, but AirAsia X feels whatever passengers it will lose would be made up by those who opt for cheaper fares.

“This is a climate where people will be more value-conscious,” Azran says. “The bottom market will fall and the top end of the market will trade down.”

The path to profitability for AirAsia X began in November last year when, after using just one leased plane since November 2007, it took delivery of two new aircraft.

The new A330s had 383 economy class seats as opposed to the traditional layout of between 280 and 295 seats.

“By having more seats, our unit costs were lower,” Azran says, adding that the new planes also mean higher fuel efficiency. He is targeting a cost of 2.5 US cents per available seat km in 2009, as opposed to what the benchmark of between 6 cents and 7 cents for traditional full service airlines.

The airline has also been lucky that it has been buying fuel from the spot market and is not paying the penalty of hedging fuel costs at much higher prices.

Azran says even though hedging is something the airline will look at as its fleet grows, that will not be done at the moment.

Another plus for AirAsia X is that its planes fly more hours per day than a traditional full service airline because it does not employ a spoke and hub model.

By connecting into AirAsia’s regional network from the low-cost carrier terminal, AirAsia X has been able to cater to travellers who do not have Kuala Lumpur as their final destination. Those factors - high turnaround, lower cost and more seats - mean it can charge far less for each ticket and make a good profit at the same time.

Helping growth and profitability are the high load factors enjoyed since its launch. The original routes to the Gold Coast in Australia and Hangzhou in China enjoyed a load factor of 80% and newer routes to Perth and Melbourne saw load factors of 72% and 78% respectively.

“That shows we can quickly get volume - and at prices that make the business work,” says Azran.

More seats and flights led to AirAsia X posting a profit of US$10mil and a profit margin of 30% during the last quarter. For 2008, revenue was RM250mil but AirAsia X sold RM375mil worth of tickets for the year.

The forward sales, currently RM125mil, are expected to grow dramatically this year as more destinations and planes are added to the fleet, and this would help fund the purchase of new aircraft this year.

AirAsia X is expected to take in three new A330s this year from September, four in 2010, six in 2011, six in 2012 and four in 2013.

The airline will fly to Stansted Airport on the outskirts of London from March 11 and will use a A340 that will be configured much like a full service aircraft with business class seats and economy class seats.

Azran believes the flight to London, even though the profit margin would likely be in the single-digit range, would be a key driver for the airline in other aspects.

“London will be a challenge but it’s more for brand recognition and it enhances our credibility with suppliers and financiers,” he says, adding that it should also appeal to the growing number of cost-conscious business class travellers.

The airline plans to take delivery of two A340s this year and have daily flights to Stansted.

Apart from London, AirAsia X will be exploring more routes to China, Australia and India this year.

Should AirAsia X achieve its targeted financial performance for 2009 and based on what it thinks it could do in 2010, Azran says, that would make it an attractive listing candidate. Timing of a listing will, however, depend on the health of the global equities market.
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 05:04 AM   #1437
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MAS super low fares are back
Monday February 2, 2009

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines all-inclusive low fares are back with tickets to Britain and Europe up for grabs.

From Feb 2 to 15, a one-way trip to London starts from RM1,450 while flights to Frankfurt, Rome and Stockholm are going as low as RM1,500 one-way.

“We are delighted to extend our low fares to Britain and Europe due to demand from customers,” said MAS commercial director Datuk Rashid Khan in a statement.

The low fares are also extended to various destinations in Australia, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Dhaka, Chennai, Bangalore. Hyderabad, Jakarta. Yogjakarta, Surabaya, Ho Chi Minh, Cebu, Phuket, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Singapore.

The travel period is from March 2 to Aug 31 for all destinations except Australia and Europe (travel period is March 18 to Aug 31). The fares are only available on-line.
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 04:41 PM   #1438
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AirAsia to add 6 new East Asian destinations

PETALING JAYA: Budget airline AirAsia Bhd is increasing the total number of destinations to the greater China region to 13 by year-end from the current seven.

It currently flies to Guangzhou, Guilin, Haikou, Hangzhou and Shenzhen in China and, the Special Adminstrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macao.

AirAsia chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes said at a media briefing Monday that the airline’s new destinations are Tianjin, Chengdu, Chongqing and Xian in China and Taipei and Kaoshiung in Taiwan.

He also said the airline was aiming to increase the total number of passengers on the Malaysia - China routes to 1.5 million.
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 03:07 AM   #1439
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 02:58 PM   #1440
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AirAsia to expand China routes
By Chong Pooi KoonPublished: 2009/02/03

LOW-cost carrier AirAsia Bhd (5099) will fly to six more cities in China and Taiwan this year, including a city 30 minutes away from Beijing, and aims to carry 1.5 million passengers from that country.

It flew one million passengers to seven China destinations last year, chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said. AirAsia expects to carry 24 million passengers on all its flights this year, up from an estimated 19 million last year.

"China was phenomenally strong for us in 2008. We now have more flights to China than Singapore's Changi has. It's an amazing feat," Tony told a news conference in AirAsia office at Sepang yesterday.

AirAsia has 76 aircraft currently and will take delivery of another 14 this year, mainly to cater for its China and India routes, Tony said. All its aircraft are financed for the next two years, he said.
He is confident that AirAsia will make a profit this year despite the world recession.

"There is no reason why we won't (make a profit). We are optimistic," he said.

Its first flight to Tianjin, the budget carrier's alternative landing point for Beijing, is scheduled on April 2 and ticket sale will start next week.

The capital city of populous China, Beijing is a crucial destination for AirAsia and travellers to and from that city can fly via Tianjin, which is a mere 30 minutes away through high speed train, Tony said.

AirAsia plans to start flying to Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, within the first six months of the year.

Other new destinations in Greater China include Chengdu, Chongqing, Xian, and Kaoshiung in Southern Taiwan.

"We found that many people are using us to go to other parts of Malaysia, and Australia even. The hub has already happened," he said.

The carrier already flies to seven destinations in China, namely Macau, Hong Kong, Hangzhou, Haikou, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Xiamen.

It also started flying to some China cities from Kota Kinabalu and Kuching, and will soon launch flights between Penang and Macau. With the new cities this year, it will be servicing almost 20 routes to China.

"We only started flying to China four years ago, but the pace is unbelievable for me. We will do the same with India. Together with Australia and Europe, this will make Malaysia a very strong hub," Tony said.

Meanwhile, Tony has declined to comment on the government's rejection of its plan to build a low-cost terminal in Labu.

"Let's see what happens in two weeks time. Whatever it is, it is going to be good. AirAsia has made its case: we need a new terminal, although we are not insisting on having Labu. It just has to be different from now," he said.

The temporary terminal for low-cost carrier at the KLIA has a capacity for 15 million passengers, and is handling 10 million passengers currently.
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