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KUANTAN: Low-cost carrier AirAsia will resume its direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Kuantan starting next month after a seven-year hiatus.

The inaugural Airbus A320 flight is scheduled to depart from Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) at 7.05am for a 50 minute trip to Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Airport here on Oct 28. The return flight is scheduled at 8.20am the same day.

A Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd source said AirAsia’s return to service the route brings an end to the long wait for an alternative option for travellers as currently Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is the sole airline servicing the route.

“AirAsia will be flying to Kuantan daily in the morning and there are plans to introduce a second flight to serve the same route in the evening hours between 6pm and 8pm(klia2-Kuantan-klia2). However, there has yet to be confirmation on the evening flights but it could be just a matter of time.

“AirAsia has decided to resume the route with daily flights in and out of Kuantan from Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Airport and providing the evening flights will certainly offer more travel options for people,” said the source.

The source confirmed that AirAsia will setup a ticketing information booth at the Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Airport here early next month and an official welcome event will be held when the inaugural flight arrives at the airport here on Oct 28.

Meanwhile a Pahang Tourism board spokesman described AirAsia’s return here as timely saying the year-end school holidays in November will allow travellers to start making plans to visit tourist destinations in Pahang.

“Tour operators can take advantage of the cheap flight tickets to offer more tour and leisure packages at a low price. It is certainly going to create more excitement in the state capital,” he said.

AirAsia first opened up the route from the then low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) to Kuantan in June 2008 until 2011 and later Firefly, and Malindo Airlines also joined in to service the route.

However, currently only MAS and Firefly serve the Kuala Lumpur-Kuantan route while Scoot, a Singaporean low-cost airline owned by Singapore Airlines, is servicing the Singapore-Kuantan route, and vice-versa.

Once described as less profitable route, things have changed over the years here especially with the presence of the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park, new holiday resorts and tourist attractions which is now expected to create a positive impact to the state.

Last month, AirAsia chief executive officer Riad Asmat was reported saying that the low-cost airline will start flights to Kuantan on Oct 28 and it will mark AirAsia’s presence in all the main airports in the country.

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