KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia Airlines today launched a rapid expansion into China, which will see the flag carrier serving eight new destinations and 11 new routes with 35 additional frequencies between Malaysia and China beginning early 2017.
This was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak, who is currently in China for a six-day official visit starting Monday.
Najib said the new routes were to attract more Chinese tourists.
Following the announcement, Malaysia Airlines’ Chief Executive Officer, Peter Bellew, in a separate statement, said the airline has huge confidence in
“Malaysia Airlines plans to triple our Chinese business over the next five years. I see potential for direct flights to 20 Chinese cities from Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching by 2019,” he said.
He said the improved connectivity will foster deeper business links between the two nations.
Malaysians relished the business opportunities and tourism experience in China.
“The Chinese tourist market to Malaysia is growing rapidly due to the shared food, language and cultural connections,” he said.
In addition to this initial growth, the airline would promote tourism in Malaysia and China through seasonal or ad-hoc services to key leisure markets such as Langkawi, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu.
“Six of our new Chinese cities have never been served directly by Malaysian Airlines,” Bellew added.
Malaysia Airlines’ new routes will be KL-Haikou, KL-Nanjing, KL-Fuzhou, KL-Wuhan, KL-Chengdu, KL-Chongqing, Kota Kinabalu-Tianjin, Penang-Shenzhen and Penang-Shanghai.
The airline will also add a second daily flight between Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai subject to slots in April 2017.
This follows the airline’s recent announcement on the service upgrade to its morning Kuala Lumpur-Hong Kong sector from the Boeing 737 to the Airbus 330, he said. – BERNAMA