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HomeAviationAirAsia’s inaugural Kota Kinabalu-Shanghai flight achieves full capacity

AirAsia’s inaugural Kota Kinabalu-Shanghai flight achieves full capacity

AirAsia's inaugural Kota Kinabalu-Shanghai flight achieves full capacity
Photo Credit: Sabah Tourism Board (STB)

AirAsia celebrates a full passenger load on its first flight from Kota Kinabalu to Shanghai, marking a prosperous new route.

KOTA KINABALU – In conjunction with the auspicious Lunar New Year, AirAsia celebrated its inaugural flight from Kota Kinabalu to Shanghai with a 100% passenger load, continuing to soar high in the prosperous Year of the Dragon.

AirAsia Plane

Photo Credit: Sabah Tourism Board (STB)

The inaugural flight AK1516 departed from Kota Kinabalu International Airport at 9:30 PM on 20 February 2024 and landed at Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 2:00 AM (local time) on 21 February 2024.

On the return flight, the airline also welcomed the inaugural flight AK1517 from Shanghai to Kota Kinabalu with more than 90 percent load. Together with Julinus Jeffrey Jimit, CEO of Sabah Tourism Board, the aircraft was greeted with a celebratory water salute on arrival.

Datuk Christina Liew, Sabah Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment said: “We are thrilled to welcome AirAsia’s inaugural flight from Shanghai today. It is heartening to know that this is the eleventh international route that the airline operates to Sabah with three flights weekly.  We truly appreciate AirAsia’s efforts in continuously boosting tourism opportunities in the state, especially from the fast-growing Chinese market. As the airline with the most routes flying in and out of Sabah, AirAsia has been instrumental in providing affordable travel for all and providing a welcome boost to our economy with many spin-off effects including job creation.  

Sabah Tourism Board (STB)  saw an incredible increase of 1,119% in tourist arrivals from China between 2022 and 2023.  The continuous commitment by AirAsia to launch new routes and grow its services delivers significant tourism and economic opportunities between Malaysia and China. This is a great start to the auspicious Year of the Dragon in the Chinese Lunar New Year.”

Bo Lingam, Group CEO of AirAsia Aviation Groupsaid: “We are pleased to celebrate the inauguration of our services connecting Kota Kinabalu and Shanghai. As China’s largest foreign low-cost carrier, we recognise this route’s immense potential. It comes at a perfect time, coinciding with a surge in tourism during the Chinese New Year and Spring Festival, and following the ongoing visa-free initiative between both nations. Our services to China are continuing to grow in line with strong demand. This additional new route serves as a significant opportunity for us to support the Malaysian government’s ambition of attracting five million tourists from China. 

“We are confident this new route will prove popular and are encouraged to share that our inaugural flight recorded full passenger occupancy, demonstrating the strong early demand and enthusiasm for this new service. We look forward to continuing to facilitate even more affordable connectivity between the two popular destinations in the future.”

Operated by AirAsia Malaysia (AK), Shanghai is the sixth destination in Mainland China accessible from Kota Kinabalu, following Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Beijing, and Wuhan.

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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.