AirAsia to continue expanding footprint in China


KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia will continue expanding its footprint in China, while looking at increasing flight frequency across the country, despite the collapsed deal to establish a low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT).

AirAsia Bhd Executive Chairman and AirAsia X Co-Group Chief Executive Officer Datuk Kamarudin Meranun said the airline might revisit its plan to establish a LCCT in China, but only "when the time is right."  

"We are still developing our China market, but (will) develop it without a local licence. The only thing we are restricted at is, we cannot do domestic flights.

"We are quite a significant player in China and will remain one," he told reporters after the exchange of a Memorandum of Understanding between AirAsia Indonesia and the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) here today.

On Thursday, the low cost airline announced that a preliminary agreement signed last year for a joint venture with China Everbright Group and the Henan government, had lapsed and would not be extended.

Kamarudin said the airline had no intention of renewing the agreement due to various factors, among others, not being able to obtain an existing domestic operating licence in China as the government was no longer issuing one.

He said AirAsia was also unable to get a airline suitable for its JV there, be it from a financial stand point or operations.

"For us, unless we are assured of being able to operate efficiently, have fair competition and the right infrastructure available, (then) why should we do it?.

"Getting the licence is not the end. Making sure that it is a successful operation is what's final about it," he added.

On the MoU, AirAsia Indonesia and MHTC are joining hands to offer the best medical tourism service to Indonesian travellers, while promoting Penang as a healthcare tourism destination.

MHTC will offer services to arrange medical tourism trips, including the doctors and hospital appointments, as well as airport pick-up services, for those flying AirAsia from Indonesia to Penang for medical treatment.

AirAsia will also provide exclusive flight discounts to MHTC customers, and AirAsia guests with prearranged appointments made through it.

MHTC customers will also enjoy additional benefits at participating hospitals, including an up to 20 per cent discount on the medical check-up and non-medical bills, as well as at selected food and beverages outlets, simply by showing their boarding pass. - Bernama
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