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Monday July 31, 2006

Air Asia given rights for Xiamen and Shenzen flights

PUTRAJAYA: Air Asia has been given the rights to fly to Xiamen and Shenzen in China from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. 

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said it was the budget carrier’s first two destinations in China’s mainland. It now flies twice daily to Macau. 

Chan said it was up to Air Asia to decide on the flight schedules. 

He said it was part of the Government's plan to increase the number of weekly passenger flights to mainland China from the current 72 to 100 by the end of the year. 

“Now there are 72 passenger flights and eight cargo flights every week to various destinations in China," he said after receiving outgoing Chinese ambassador to Malaysia Wang Chungui who bade him farewell at his office. 

“The Transport Ministry will work with the Ministry of Civil Aviation of China to push for more flights between both countries,” he said, adding that flights to Hong Kong and Macau stood at 42 and 14 a week respectively. 

Chan added that air links played a crucial role in boosting tourism that had much room for improvement. 

He said Malaysia and China had enjoyed good bilateral relations in the fields of maritime, aviation and land transportation. 

“In the field of maritime our close cooperation saw Port Klang having a sister port in Port of Ningbo while China’s biggest shipping company has made Kuala Lumpur its Southeast Asian regional office. 

“We also worked closely in the enhancement of security and safety of the Straits of Malacca,” he said. 

Wang said Malaysia was important as it was the first country to acknowledge that China was not a threat to the world. 

Malaysia was also the first to introduce China as a dialogue partner with Asean. 

“Malaysia is also the first to host the 10+3 and the East Asia Summit,” he said, adding that both Governments understood each other well.


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