AirAsia ups Maldives flights with extra four times weekly service
World’s premier budget airline AirAsia is to expand its Maldives operations with the commencement of additional services to be operated by its long-haul affiliate AirAsia X, in addition to the daily flights currently operated by the main airline.
In a statement, the Malaysian low-cost carrier said AirAsia X would operate a four times weekly Kuala Lumpur-Male service starting February 6 under the D7 airline code. The new service would utilise an Airbus A330-300 aircraft, equivalent to an incremental 156,000 seats per year, it added.
“As the only airline servicing direct flights to Maldives from Kuala Lumpur, our short-haul affiliate AirAsia has seen tremendous growth on this route since its commencement, adding over 130 percent seat capacity early last year when flight frequency was increased from three to seven flights weekly,” AirAsia X Head of Commercial Barry Klipp was quoted in the statement, as saying.
“Despite this increased capacity, we continue to see robust demand from our wide network and we hope that with this additional service offering a larger capacity on our A330 aircraft, we will be able to capture this demand and further build our market dominance in the Maldives.”
In conjunction with the additional frequency, AirAsia is offering introductory promotional fares from as low as RM 199 (USD 49.68) all-in fare for one-way travel, inclusive of taxes for all Maldives flights from now until January 14 for immediate travel until May 6.
AirAsia currently operates daily flights connecting Kuala Lumpur and Male, utilising its fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft with 180 and 186 seat capacity. AirAsia X will service the same route from February 6 using Airbus A330-300 aircraft with 377-seat capacity, including 12 Premium Flatbed seats.
This will bring the total weekly flights to 11 with an annual capacity of over 287,000 seats between the two countries.
In 2017, AirAsia carried over 106,000 guests between Kuala Lumpur and Maldives.
The airline offers a low-cost option for travellers coming to the Maldives especially from South East Asia and for locals who often visit Malaysia for higher eduction and during holiday.
South East Asia has posted strong gains in tourist arrivals to the Maldives with a 23.1 percent increase in the first 10 months of last year. Malaysia itself has become one of the major South East Asian markets, with arrivals from the country increasing by 24.7 percent in the January-November period last year.
AirAsia’s added capacity and frequency is expected to boost arrivals from the region, as well as benefit tourists from other parts of the world who arrive in the Maldives via Kuala Lumpur.