SINGAPORE: Budget airline AirAsia has begunticket sales for its regional flights to Bangkok from its Johor Baru hub. The inaugural flight will be on Feb 2.
AirAsia chief executive officer Tony Fernandes said the airline was confident the low fare would attract local and international travellers.
He said he expected the airline to fly at least 1.2 million passengers out of Senai airport next year.
He said AirAsia’s Bangkok-Johor Baru route aimed to encourage travel among the people of Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
Fernandes said AirAsia was committed to its second hub, adding that Senai airport was set for bigger and better things in the future.
“Our enthusiasm for Johor Baru speaks for itself.
“We really believe that the market down south is huge and that people want low fares.
“We only make it available and easier for them,” he said at the launch of the ticket sales in the island republic on Wednesday.
One-way tickets for the Bangkok-Johor Baru sector are priced as low as RM99.99 and are available for booking.
The daily flights with a capacity of 148 seats would leave Johor Baru at 3pm and the return flight is at 4.40pm (Bangkok time).
Daily flights from Senai to other domestic destinations such as Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Langkawi, Miri and Penang would commence on Dec 3.
Fernandes said a Thai-language website for AirAsia was available to cater to its Thai customers, adding that plans were under way to have a website in Tagalog to reach out to the Tagalog-speaking community in the region, including in Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong.
Fernandes said several governments had approached the airline to include their countries as part of AirAsia’s destinations but he declined to name them.
“We believe that we have changed the landscape of the aviation industry here.
“AirAsia has always aimed at being an airline serving Asean countries but there are even countries outside the region which have approached us,” he said.
On the “glitch” with the Singapore authorities which disapproved its proposal to operate a bus service to ply the Singapore-Senai route, Fernandes said the airline would continue with its plans to make Senai its second hub and would explore other alternatives.
AirAsia had initially planned its second hub in Changi but this was hampered by the high operating costs of the republic’s international gateway.
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