Local airlines add more international flights from KL

The Galata Tower in Istanbul, Turkiye. Malaysians will soon have more direct flight options from KL to Istanbul. — GoTurkiye

Local airlines have definitely been stepping up their game this year, as they consistently extend their global network with numerous new international routes.

Batik Air recently announced its addition of non-stop flight services to Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Istanbul (Turkiye) and Melbourne (Victoria, Australia), to its fast-expanding list of international destinations. This year alone, the airline has launched a slew of new routes and services in Malaysia, including to Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Okinawa (Japan), Auckland (New Zealand), Karachi (Pakistan), Seoul (South Korea), Adelaide (Australia), Male (Maldives) and Colombo (Sri Lanka).

The most recent service from the airline is to the city of Dubai, which commenced on Nov 11.

This flight departs from Terminal 1 of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), and runs four times weekly.

In a press release, Datuk Dr Ammar Abd Ghapar, director- general of Tourism Malaysia, said: “... the new route will increase seating capacity and boost inbound traffic into Malaysia with more choices to discover exciting destinations and amazing attractions, as we gear up for Visit Malaysia Year 2026.

“(The new route) will further boost the growth of traffic flow via KLIA, opening up Malaysia more broadly to travellers from other international destinations, thus accelerating Malaysia’s tourism recovery.”

Meanwhile, Batik Air’s direct flight service to Melbourne is set to begin on Dec 20. This is a seasonal flight schedule which caters to the rising demand for travel to Australia during the peak holiday and travel season. It will run four times weekly from KLIA Terminal 1 until Feb 6, 2024.

The airline already has an existing flight to the city via Denpasar (Indonesia), as well as to a few other Australian cities.

Next year, Batik Air will begin its non-stop service to Istanbul via the Sabiha Gokcen Airport or SAW, on Feb 9. This service will also run four times weekly.

Renowned for its awe-inspiring architecture, cultural richness, and the seamless fusion of European and Asian influences, Istanbul promises an exciting experience for all who venture there.

As for AirAsia X, the airline recently announced its new route to Almaty, which will commence on March 14, 2024. It is the first Malaysian airline to fly directly to the Kazakh city.

The airline’s entry into Central Asia marks a significant milestone for the medium-haul airline, opening up new horizons for Malaysian travellers. Almaty, the commercial and cultural hub of Kazakhstan, has beautiful landscapes, a rich cultural heritage, and a blend of traditional and modern lifestyles.

In a press release, AirAsia X CEO Benyamin Ismail, said: “This is an entirely new market (for the airline) and a strategic route to expand into, bringing other parts of the world closer to South-East Asia. As our first foray into Central Asia, the expansion into the Kazakh market is a strong testament to our vision and determination to explore new territories as well as resuming services to our most popular destinations post pandemic.”

Malaysia Airlines, meanwhile, launched its inaugural flights to the cities of Amritsar and Thiruvananthapuram in India, earlier this month. It will start its third new non-stop India service – to Ahmedabad – tomorrow. The introduction of these new services is timely as Malaysia now offers a 30-day visa-free travel within the country for Indian nationals, beginning Dec 1.

Malaysia Aviation Group group managing director Datuk Captain Izham Ismail said the expansion brings Malaysia Airlines’ point-to-point connectivity from KL to India to nine key hubs, thereby providing passengers with enhanced options and flexibility for travel between the two countries.

The airline currently operates direct flights to New Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kochi.

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