JAKARTA: AirAsia is expanding its Asean footprint with a new route to North Sumatra, Indonesia.
Beginning Oct 28, it will have four weekly flights from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) to the Silangit Airport in Tapanuli, North Sumatra.
Silangit Airport is the main gateway to Lake Toba, one of the largest volcanic lakes in the world and among the most scenic.
The new destination was launched by Indonesia's Maritime Affairs coordinating minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Air Transportation acting director-general Pramintohadi Sukarno, AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, AirAsia Group Bhd executive chairman and AirAsia X Co-Group CEO Datuk Kamarudin Meranun and AirAsia Indonesia CEO Dendy Kurniawan.
Fernandes said the low-cost airline's new service to Silangit was part of its commitment to support the Indonesian Government in developing the 10 priority tourism destinations including Lake Toba.
"Not only do we connect travellers to the hidden treasures of Indonesia, we also invest in sustainable tourism development.
"Our sustainability team will work closely with all stakeholders to preserve the natural beauty of Lake Toba through green initiatives, and we will also embark on community-based programmes to support local communities.
"It is our commitment to bring travellers closer to the best tourism spots in Indonesia while ensuring the sustainability of these destinations," he said at a press conference Thursday.
Prior to the new route, those who wished to visit Lake Toba had to take a six-hour bus ride from Medan.
Pandjaitan, in thanking AirAsia for launching the direct route, said the Government was currently upgrading its facilities in Silangit Airport and expanding the runway length from 2650m to 3000m.
"We are also expanding the apron and terminal building to accommodate more aircraft and passengers.
"We hope this new route will benefit the local economy and community," Pandjaitan said.
AirAsia is offering special introductory all-in-fares from Kuala Lumpur to Silangit from RM39.10.
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