AirAsia’s new flights to Kota Kinabalu are enjoying strong demand

Malaysia’s largest airline AirAsia is very confident that the newly launched routes between Kota Kinabalu, Borneo’s largest city, and the two Chinese cities of Beijing and Macao will continue to receive strong traction and demand . Both the inaugural flights registered an impressive load factor of over 90%!

Maiden flights


The inaugural flight from Beijing on 2nd July 2023 registered 172 passengers, which translates to 92%, and the inaugural flight to the gambling city of Macau recorded 171 passengers, or 91% full.

Both new services illustrate that there is significant customer demand for the routes and the airline expects that demand will not dry up over time for both routes.

More awesome load factor news


AirAsia’s popular mid-haul airline, AirAsia X (AAX), also posted an impressive load factor for its maiden flight from Chengdu (Tianfu) to Kuala Lumpur on 1 July 2023, with 376 which passengers are 99% full!

This resulted in AirAsia increasing its estimated demand projection and saw the carrier upgrade frequency from twice to three times weekly not long ago.

AirAsia’s impressive load factor across the board demonstrates AirAsia’s commitment to transform regional tourism in China’s cities, allowing AirAsia to increase capacity due to connecting demand within Malaysia and other major popular destination for Chinese tourists.

YB Datuk Christina Liew Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Sabah, commented on recent flights to China:

“The tourism landscape is moving rapidly towards recovery, especially from China since the re-opening of its border this year, and we are pleased to continue working with AirAsia to welcome more travelers to the state.”

“The impressive load factor from AirAsia will not only foster stronger international ties and open up new opportunities for economic growth and cultural exchange for Sabah as a whole but will also take us a step which is closer to achieving our goal of registering more than 2.2 million tourist arrivals today. year.”

“AirAsia’s daily flight from Beijing (Daxing) and four weekly flights from Macao will add to the current 1 00 international flights weekly to Sabah.”

“This means we are on the right track for a steady tourism recovery and we welcome AirAsia’s commitment to increase its flight frequencies and launch more flight services in support of the relentless government’s efforts to boost the tourism industry in Sabah.”

Riad Asmat AirAsia Malaysia CEO stated: “We are proud to continue to contribute to the tourism industry in Sabah. Kota Kinabalu has always been an important hub for us, and our growth of the Sabah network plays an important role in our recovery strategy.”

“Currently, we operate 21 domestic and international routes to the state with a total of 300 weekly flights to/from Sabah, now including daily flights to/from Beijing and four weekly flight to/from Macao.”

“From the 1st of January to the first week of July this year, we have flown 2.1 million travelers to Sabah and with these additional direct flight connections, the numbers will continue to increase, contributing significantly to the number of tourists who come, which will strengthen the economy in the country. state.”

“Furthermore, with strong demand for more China flights from this hub, we anticipate increasing frequency and adding more routes in the future.”

“This would not be possible without the support from our industry partners, especially the Sabah Tourism Board and we would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their support.”

AirAsia Malaysia’s operations in China


AirAsia Malaysia (AK), the largest AirAsia brand of all, flies to 14 points to and from China from Malaysia, with a total of over 104 flights.

These include flights to and from Kuala Lumpur to Guilin, Quanzhou, Guangzhou, Kunming, Shenzhen, Nanning, Shantou, and Macao; Kota Kinabalu to Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Beijing, and Macao; and Johor Bahru in Guangzhou.

AirAsia X, AirAsia’s airline mid-haul arm with A330s currently flies over 22 flights to and from China from Kuala Lumpur to Chengdu (Tianfu), Beijing (Daxing), Shanghai, and Hangzhou.

No AirAsia without China?

At this point, it’s hard to ignore the Chinese market, or that is for low-cost airlines in South East Asia. Air Asia is recording one of its brightest moments after the pandemic hay-days and the airline is turning to the Chinese market for an increased revenue stream.

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