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KUALA LUMPUR Oct 9, 2015:

International passengers will be able to fly directly to Langkawi International Airport with AirAsia Bhd by the end of this year.

The budget carrier’s chief executive Aireen Omar said Langkawi is something that it’s looking forward to, due to the high traffic volume coming into the destination.

“We’re currently working closely with the government and we’re planning to see how we can build Langkawi as an international hub in this region.

“We’re going to see that happening (turning Langkawi into AirAsia’s international hub) towards year-end. We have exciting destinations that we will fly to from Langkawi, which will be announced by this month.”

The announcement of AirAsia’s new international hub was made by both Aireen and the airline’s head honcho Tan Sri Tony Fernandes in March this year.

Fernandes recently said five aircrafts will be based in Langkawi airport, so it would generate one to 1.5 million passengers very quickly.

“By reducing the charges we invest, we’re able to stimulate new routes and an airport that was really earning no income is now going to earn a tremendous amount of income,” he told Australia-based Centre for Aviation recently.

He also said that Hong Kong and Guangzhou would be the first two destinations that AirAsia would fly to from Langkawi airport.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) managing director Datuk Badlisham Ghazali recently said the airport operator is currently in discussions with three foreign airlines to be based at Langkawi airport.

“We have talked to three international airlines from Asia and Europe. I think we’ll see a new direct flight to Langkawi coming up this year.”

Badlisham also said the move is to get more foreign carriers to fly to the island-resort so as to promote it as the world’s preferred tourist destination.

“The government, including MAHB, has provided for an incentive to assist in making Langkawi a tourist destination beyond its capabilities today. The incentives are open to all airlines, not just AirAsia.”

He had confirmed the 70% discount in airport charges for Langkawi for all airlines flying there.

Also read:AirAsia may ditch klia2 for Langkawi base

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