AirAsia forces’ violations mulls adding 3 more destinations

By BERNAMA / Pic By AFIF ABD HALIM

JAKARTA • AirAsia Group Bhd is considering adding three more destinations to its Malaysia-Indonesia route, said AirAsia group CEO Tan Sri Dr Tony Fernandes (picture).

“We’re currently in talks for Belitung, and also looking at Banyuwangi and Raja Ampat,” he told media after announcing flights from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA2) to Silangit Airport in Tapanuli, North Sumatra.

Fernandes said the low-cost carrier is very bullish about Indonesia, noting it is a huge market for the group. According to the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism, 25% of international tourists currently come to Indonesia via AirAsia.

Fernandes said guests travelling to and from Indonesia can leverage on AirAsia’s Fly-Thru service for seamless transit in the Kuala Lumpur hub to over 22 international destinations.

“We’re adding more planes. Jakarta itself has a tremendous potential for secondary and tertiary destinations.

“It can be as big as Bangkok as a tourist destination,” he said, adding that the group is also looking at creating new businesses such as partnering with cruise services.

AirAsia flies 21 routes from Malaysia to 15 other destinations in Indonesia namely Jakarta, Lombok, Pekanbaru, Surabaya, Bali, Medan, Padang, Semarang, Banda Aceh, Pontianak, Yogyakarta, Palembang, Bandung, Makassar and Solo.

He said in addition to building new airports, Indonesia is also converting Terminal 2 at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport into a low-cost carrier terminal.

“We believe this is a step in the right direction and we will continue to fully support the Tourism Ministry to achieve 20 million tourist arrivals by 2019,” he said.

The country is targeting 17 million tourist arrivals this year. Meanwhile, Fernandes said AirAsia is also looking at opening its hub in Silangit as the airport expands and the city infrastructure progresses.