KUANTAN: Low-cost carrier AirAsia is gearing up to revive its Kuala Lumpur-Kuantan route, some seven years after suspending its services here.
A Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd source said plans were in the pipeline for AirAsia to make a comeback.
Currently Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is the sole airline servicing the route, which takes less than an hour from Kuala Lumpur.
The source said reviving the flights between Kuala Lumpur-Kuantan and vice versa will certainly bring huge relief to the people of the state, including tourists, as many have been left with limited flights daily plying in and out from the Sultan Ahmad Shah Airport.
“AirAsia had first opened up the route from the then low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) to Kuantan in June 2008 until 2010 and later Firefly and Malindo Airlines also joined in to service the route. Sadly, none sustained till today. It could be due to various reasons including the routes being less profitable.
“However, things have changed over the years. The presence of the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park, new holiday resorts and tourist attractions will now bring a positive impact. The airport has also undergone some major refurbishment and AirAsia’s presence here could be seen as a game changer,” said the source.
The source said currently MAS, Firefly and Scoot, a Singaporean low-cost airline owned by Singapore Airlines is also servicing the Singapore-Kuantan route, and vice-versa.
“Flights between Singapore-Kuantan have been receiving strong support.
“The tourism industry will certainly gain huge benefits if the plans materialise.
“Discussions are expected to be held soon between the relevant parties to look into the opportunity to revive Asia Asia’s direct flights between the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) and Kuantan,” said the source.
Meanwhile, Tourism Pahang general manager Datuk Ishak Mokhtar declined to comment on the matter while others involved in the tourism industry confirmed that there have been initial talks for AirAsia to return here by year-end.
Last month, AirAsia chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes took on twitter to announce that the low-cost carrier was looking at restarting flights to Kuantan.