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AirAsia To Introduce Daily Direct Flight To Laos

VIENTIANE, Feb 21 (Bernama) -- Low-cost carrier AirAsia Bhd will introduce daily direct flight for its newly-launched Kuala Lumpur-Vientiane route by May this year from three flights per week currently, group chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes said today.

He said response to the route has been "very good" since its soft launch on Dec 1 last year.

"December was a fantastic month, we had almost 90 percent of load factor and in January it was about 65 percent.

We are very confident of this route," he told reporters after the official launch of its latest route in the Asean region here.

The ceremony was officiated by Laos' Public Works and Transport Minister Sommat Pholsena and the Asssociation of South East Asian Nations (Asean) secretary-general Dr Surin Pitsuwan.

Fernandes said most of the passengers for the Kuala Lumpur-Vientiane were tourists while some were business travellers. According to him, Laos has a lot of attractive places, providing opportunities for growth.

He also hoped that the Laos government will extend the runway of Luang Prabang airport to enable the airline to offer the Kuala Lumpur-Luang Prabang route going forward.

He said the Luang Prabang runway was currently not long enough for bigger aircraft to land.

Vientiane, Laos' cultural and economic centre, is situated on the country's border with Thailand and is quickly establishing itself as a thriving tourist destination, receiving more than 700,000 visitors last year.

Meanwhile, Surin said AirAsia's Kuala Lumpur-Vientiane further connected Asean countries and enabled people to travel and explore the region with ease. He said the launch of AirAsia's new route was testament to the airline's goal of making travel accessible and a reality for all.

Earlier, Fernandes and AirAsia's chairman Datuk Pahamin Rajab personally greeted passengers of Flight AK 812 from Kuala Lumpur at the Wattay International Airport upon arrival at 10.40am (Vientiane time).

To date, AirAsia has carried over 46 million passengers under the most extensive low-cost network in the region with over 90 routes.

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