Wednesday, June 3, 2009

AirAsia to start Penang-Chennai flights in October

02 June 2009

GEORGE TOWN: AirAsia will have direct flights from Penang to Chennai by October.

AirAsia chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said the Transport Ministry had approved its plan and the airline is currently ironing out the details.

“We hope to have a daily flight there. It will take us three to four months to finalise the details,” he said after a ceremony to mark the inangural Singapore to Penang direct flight at the Penang International Airport (PIA) here.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat said Penang is one of 13 cities in the nation with direct air links to Singapore.

“It will stimulate the economy and benefit local residents including their businesses.

“Now PIA services 49 weekly flights to Singapore by Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, AirAsia and Silk Air but it will have a surge next March where there will be 84 weekly flights, with the addition of three airlines - JetStar Asia, Tiger Airways and Firefly,” he said.

Ong said the ministry was also looking into applications by various airliners to fly to more destinations in the region.

“It’s still early for me to reveal the routes. When the airlines make requisitions for a certain route, the ministry will go through the details before putting the papers up to the Cabinet for endorsement,” he added.

Ong, along with Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, who is the state MCA chairman, Fernandes and AirAsia board chairman Datuk Aziz Bakar later presented goodie bags to 180 passengers who arrived aboard the inaugural Airbus flight A320 from Singapore.

A total of 17,000 seats have been sold since the route was open for sale on April 27.

To mark the inaugural flight of the new route, AirAsia - through its holiday division GoHoliday - is offering a buy one, free one room night stay at its partner hotels in Penang.

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