AirAsia Expands Services in Response to Visa-Free Travel Policies

AirAsia yesterday announced a major expansion of its services covering China, India, and Malaysia, totaling an astounding 230 weekly flights for the first quarter of 2024 with up to 5.2 million seats per year. The significant increase in capacity via AirAsia Malaysia and AirAsia X Malaysia comes in response to the anticipated surge in travel demand following the announcement of a 30-day visa-free entry for travelers from the two countries to Malaysia starting Dec 1, 2023, Capital A chief executive officer (CEO) Tony Fernandes said. 


The announcement also coincides with the recent announcement of the easing of travel restrictions for Malaysians to China, from Dec 1, 2023. "The 30-day visa-free entry for the citizens of China and India will surely provide a welcome boost for Malaysia’s tourism and its economy ahead of the upcoming peak travel season while boosting economic bonds between these great nations,” Fernandes said in a statement here today. 


"As a vital player in the aviation sector, we stand ready to add capacity to support the demand for affordable and accessible air travel in the region.” AirAsia Aviation Ltd Group CEO Bo Lingam said the group sees this as an opportunity not only to enhance regional connectivity in two of their largest markets but also to act as a catalyst for significant economic growth. "With an estimated 4.6 million guests expected to travel on our extensive network of 26 routes in China and India in 2024 alone, we are ready to play a pivotal role in achieving Malaysia's ambitious tourism targets of 25 million international tourists annually,” he said. 


As the largest foreign low-cost carrier in China, both AirAsia Malaysia and AirAsia X Malaysia fly 17 routes into the country with a total of 156 flights weekly. AirAsia and AirAsia X fly from Kuala Lumpur to Guangzhou, Quanzhou, Kunming, and Guilin. Besides that, both airlines have also increased frequencies to nine routes into India with a total of 74 flights weekly where AirAsia flies from Kuala Lumpur to Bengaluru, Kolkata, Cochin, Hyderabad, Chennai, Trichy, and Trivandrum - a new destination starting from February 2024. Meanwhile, the China Embassy in Malaysia also announced that Malaysian citizens holding ordinary passports who enter China for business, tourism, family visits, and transit purposes can enjoy visa-free travel for up to 15 days starting Dec 1, 2023, until Nov 30, 2024. 

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