Bayan Lepas– AirAsia, the leading and largest low-cost carrier in Asia celebrates its inaugural flight AK5702 from Chennai to Penang at the Penang International Airport today. AirAsia is the only airline in Malaysia to operate this route connecting Penang and Chennai.
YAB Mr. Lim Guan Eng, Chief Minister of Penang, was present to welcome over 165 guests on the inaugural flight from Chennai at the Penang International Airport, together with YB Tuan Law Heng Kiang, Penang EXCO for Penang State Tourism, Development and Culture. YBhg. Dato’ Aziz Bakar, Chairman of AirAsia Berhad were also present along with Ms. Ooi Geok Ling, Managing Director of Penang Global Tourism, distinguished guests from government bodies, travel agents and members of the media.
Chief Minister of Penang, YAB Mr. Lim Guan Eng said: “AirAsia’s extremely affordable fares starting from RM199 (INR 2,999) one way for this new direct flight from Chennai to Penang will definitely contribute to the number of tourists arriving into Penang this year. In 2009, we had approximately 470,000 international tourists visiting Penang, but only 7,000 are from India. That only makes up 1.5 percent of total international tourist arrivals into Penang.”
Lim also added, “We are very delighted with this new addition of direct flight to India, boosting connectivity from the Penang International Airport as well as further charting the historically-rich, unique and multi-cultural state of Penang on the world map. We hope the over 165 guests from Chennai on this inaugural flight will experience Penang and return again.”
YBhg Dato’ Aziz Bakar, Chairman of AirAsia Berhad said: “We are honoured to have the Chief Minister of Penang to receive our guests from Chennai on our inaugural flight today, which received an encouraging 90 percent load. With this new route connecting Malaysia’s most popular northern state and India’s fifth most populous city in India, we hope to bring in more Indian tourists to discover Penang, and the rest of Malaysia; in line with Tourism Malaysia’s target of 650,000 Indian tourists this year.”
“Indian tourists arriving into Penang can optimize on our extensive route network as AirAsia currently flies to 11 other domestic and international cities via the Penang International Airport. And not to mention via our Kuala Lumpur hub which connects to more than 70 destinations across South East Asia, Australia, China and Europe. Furthermore, with our one-stop travel portal AirAsiaGo, guests can also enjoy special packages on hotels, tours and ground transfers to further enhance their holiday experience here,” he added.
AirAsia conquered India skies by storm in January this year by launching six new routes to India which include key metro cities of Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi from their Kuala Lumpur hub, while Chennai is connected from both Kuala Lumpur and Penang. The Kuala Lumpur – Chennai route will begin operations on 17 May 2010.
The Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad sectors are serviced by AirAsia’s A320 aircrafts, while Mumbai and Delhi are served by its long-haul affiliate, AirAsia X via its new Airbus A330 fleet.