KUANTAN: Low-cost carrier AirAsia plans to have direct flights from here to international destinations like Singapore, Jakarta and Bangkok.
This follows the airline's introduction of flights from the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) at KLIA to the state capital from June 1.
Present at the official launch here yesterday were Tengku Puan Pahang Tengku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah Sultan Iskandar, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob and AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes.
Speaking to reporters later, Fernandes said there was potential for Kuantan to become the airline’s east coast hub.
“We have been looking for an east coast hub as we think the east coast has enormous potential. If there is good infrastructure, there is no reason we cannot sell the whole of east coast from Kuantan,” he added.
There was a huge demand from Singaporeans for direct flights from Kuantan, he noted.
Fernandes said the airline had already submitted its application to the Transport Ministry and was awaiting a reply.
On the fuel price rise and the company’s efforts to remain cost- effective while introducing new routes and more flights, Fernandes said the way to deal with the increase was for the airline to market its way out of the problem.
“We have developed many ways of keeping our fares low despite the rising oil price,” he added.
“We also sell more things now, including hot food instead of boxed food. We have to find ways to deal with it. We have a brand new fleet, and fuel burn is much lower. “
Tengku Abdullah, in his speech earlier, said he hoped AirAsia would continue to operate in Kuantan despite the oil price rise.