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AirAsia ramps up flights to China amid surge in travel demand

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AirAsia is boosting flights between Malaysia and China in response to rising demand, with an 80% average load factor in July.

SEPANG, MALAYSIA – Following a rebound in demand for travel between Malaysia and China, AirAsia is set to boost flights between the two countries as the airline expects forward sales to continue to accelerate in the coming months.

The average number of guests carried per flight (load factor) for both AirAsia Malaysia (AK) and AirAsia X Malaysia (D7) flights to/from China is about 80% in July. Several of the strongest performing routes are Kuala Lumpur-Shanghai, Kota Kinabalu-Guangzhou, Kuala Lumpur-Nanning and Kota Kinabalu-Wuhan recorded up to 95% load factor in the coming months.

Both airlines have sold more than 320,000 seats between China and Malaysia from March to early July this year, which is about 30% compared to the same period pre-Covid in 2019. About 75% of the seats sold are from Chinese nationals, a clear signal that Malaysia continues to be one of the preferred destinations for tourists from China.

Based on the strong current and forecast demand, AirAsia Malaysia (AK) will resume another route from Kota Kinabalu to Hangzhou starting with three flights weekly beginning 2 September 2023. Meanwhile, AirAsia X Malaysia (D7) will be increasing services from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing (Daxing) from four to five flights weekly beginning 1 September, from Kuala Lumpur to Shanghai from four to seven flights weekly commencing 15 September, and from Kuala Lumpur to Hangzhou from three to four flights weekly starting 30 September this year.

AirAsia Malaysia CEO, Riad Asmat said: “We are an airline that optimises our operations based on consumer demand. Therefore, we are thrilled to witness this upsurge in travel interest between Malaysia and China. The resumption of flights from Kota Kinabalu to Hangzhou aligns perfectly with our commitment to connecting second-tier cities to the world as part of our commitment to serve the underserved. We are also planning to increase the frequency of this route to seven flights weekly starting in October based on demand. The enhanced connectivity will not only boost high-value travellers arrivals into Malaysia but also provide crucial support to Malaysia’s domestic travel demand. We look forward to expanding our connectivity and frequency between Malaysia and China from other hubs as well in the future.”

AirAsia X Malaysia CEO, Benyamin Ismail said: “As China travel demand remains strong across our network for medium haul travel, we will also add more frequencies to our schedule to meet the growing demand and in particular for some of our most popular Chinese destinations such as Beijing (Daxing), Shanghai, and Hangzhou. In addition to fostering additional links, further enhancing trade, tourism, and investments between the two countries, the increased frequencies of our flights on the most popular routes will also optimise our efficiencies, which results in increased fleet utilisation for AAX. This means our guests can not only experience less costs and spend less time waiting but importantly, have more time exploring to make the most of their trips.”

As AirAsia continues to expand its routes and the number of flights between Malaysia and China, the airline is also launching discounted fares to all destinations in North Asia including to Guilin, Guangzhou, Nanning, Shantou, Beijing, Shanghai and more. Guests can also fly to other North Asian countries such as Hong Kong, Macao, Taipei, Busan, Sapporo and more.

AirAsia Malaysia (AK) currently flies 14 routes to/from China with over 104 flights weekly from Kuala Lumpur to Guilin, Quanzhou, Guangzhou, Kunming, Shenzhen, Nanning, Shantou and Macao; Kota Kinabalu to Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Beijing and Macao; and Johor Bahru to Guangzhou.

AirAsia X Malaysia (D7) currently flies four routes to/from China with over 22 flights weekly from Kuala Lumpur to Chengdu (Tianfu), Beijing (Daxing), Shanghai, and Hangzhou.

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Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.