Announcement at LIMA ’15
In introducing Langkawi as the latest of AirAsia’s international hubs at the recent Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, Group CEO of AirAsia underlined the importance of Langkawi as Malaysia’s premier holiday destination.
He said “We are very excited about this announcement today. We plan to put five planes in Langkawi and generate approximately 1 million to 1.5million passengers through Langkawi very quickly. We will obviously focus on Asean destinations and gradually expand the connectivity to China and India, which are both very strong routes. It is exciting news for the state of Kedah and exciting news for job creation as we will base pilots and cabin crew in Langkawi”.
During the ceremony at which Tan Sri Fernandes also unveiled the ASEAN-Malaysia Chairmanship aircraft livery, he further added that “By making it a hub, we hope to contribute further to the growth of traffic of this airport.”
AirAsia CEO Aireen Omar confirmed that the company had been campaigning for some time to raies the profile of the under-utilised Langkawi airport and said that “We are pleased to know the government and the airport are beginning to see the benefits of Low Cost Carriers and understand that with the right cost structure”, AirAsia will contribute to the development of the airport with increased business. She added “We have a great airport here in Langkawi but it is under-utilised. We firmly believe Langkawi have a huge potential to grow as an international hub. We thank MAHB for believing in us and supporting us with a 5-year program to make this a success.”
In his supporting comments, Malaysian Transport Minister, Dato’ Sri Liow Tiong Lai applauded AirAsia following the announcement and commented, “I am confident AirAsia has the capabilities to grow Langkawi and turn it into a top holiday destination, even better than Phuket or Bali and eventually make Malaysia one of the favourite tourism destinations on the global map.”
There are currently five AirAsia hubs in Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Johor Bahru, Penang and Kota Kinabalu making Langkawi AirAsia’s sixth international hub in the country. Langkawi was the airline’s first route to be operated in 2001 and it currently serves 3 routes to and from the island with 98 flights weekly.