2 February, 2008
AirAsia will push for more flights on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route as well as for services from Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Langkawi and Penang into the island republic.
Its chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes said this here after landing with 180 passengers on the budget airline's inaugural flight into Changi Airport yesterday.
"It is a historic day for Asian aviation," he enthused, describing the flight as a victory for the company, which had been seeking rights to the route for the past six years.
Two other budget carriers – Jetstar and Tiger Airways – also made their maiden flights from Singapore to the KLIA yesterday.
The liberalisation of this route will enable more consumers to enjoy low fares, he said, adding that consumers would no longer have to pay RM800 to travel from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore.
"I hear that MAS and SIA are already planning to reduce their prices, and it will benefit consumers," Fernandes said.
"Competition from Tiger Air and JetStar (both Singapore-based no-frills airlines) will also keep us on our toes."
Fernandes said the Singapore route was important as it makes Kuala Lumpur a complete low-cost hub.
"With this route, we are now in the position to make Kuala Lumpur one of the biggest hubs in the world. We can finally say we go everywhere."
He expects the liberalisation of the route to create a snowball effect, with other countries following suit.
"Other countries are saying if Malaysia and Singapore can liberalise their route, why can't we?" he said.
Fernandes commended his 5,000 employees for their work and as a reward, the board of directors have decided to give them a half-day off to mark the airline's "People's Day".
"All this would not be possible without the support of the Government, especially the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Transport Minister and others," he said.
Fernandes said his motto in life had now come true.
"Sayings such as 'believe the unbelievable', 'dream the impossible' and 'never take no for an answer', are the mottos I live by," he said.
Air Asia flies twice daily on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route with fares quoted at RM29.99 or S$13.99 (excluding airport taxes and surcharges) one way.
Tiger and Jetstar will operate one flight each between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Tiger uses the LCCT while Jetstar uses the Main Terminal Building.
Tiger is 49% owned by Singapore Airlines while Jetstar is the budget offshoot of Australian carrier Qantas.
This article is a verbatim copy of the original article from The Star.