KOTA KINABALU, Jan 23 – Low-cost carrier AirAsia launched its inaugural flight from Kota Kinabalu (KK) to China’s central Wuhan province at Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA). Flight AK2138 departed with some 120 passengers on board or more than 70 percent of the flight load consisting mostly of Malaysians at 6.55pm and is expected to reach its destination at 11.10pm.
State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun was on hand to send off the passengers and was accompanied by Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai and general manager Datuk Irene Charuruks and AirAsia Berhad’s head of commercial Spencer Lee.
Speaking to reporters later, Masidi also said that the AirAsia’s maiden flight to Wuhan on Friday meant that there were some 61 flights between KK and China every week served by airlines such as Shanghai Airlines, Spring Airlines as well as AirAsia. He said, on last year, AirAsia flew 3.8 million passengers to and from Sabah which the highest number by a single airline and contributing greatly to the state’s economy.
He said he believe the future between China and Sabah lies in tourism. He also added that he had call upon the government, private sector, airlines and tour agencies to join hands and work hard in ensuring the success of the state’s tourist industry. Some 180 passengers or close to 100 per cent of the flight load will be flying AirAsia’s first Wuhan-KK flight via AK2139 at 11.55pm yesterday night and scheduled to arrive at 4.05am early on Saturday.