KATHMANDU/KUALA LUMPUR- In a show of rare un-coordination, both Malaysian air carriers,AirAsiaX and Malaysia Airlines announced to start flying from Kuala Lumpur to Nepal. National carrier Malaysia Airlines (MAS) indicated last week to plan to launch flights to Nepal later this year. From September 1, 2012, the airline will then commence three weekly flights between Kuala Lumpur and Kathmandu, using a two-class Boeing 737-800 aircraft with 16 seats in business class and 144 in economy. “This is a timely addition to our network,” said MAS’ Regional Sales Vice President for Malaysia & ASEAN, Muzammil Mohamad.
“We see great potential in Kathmandu, especially during the forthcoming year-end holiday season and have fast-tracked this aspect of our operations to commence services to Kathmandu this year. Kathmandu is a hub for independent travellers as well as a growing vacation spot catering to all budgets.
“We also foresee and welcome the labour market traffic from Nepal to Malaysia to use this direct connection,” he added.
The introduction of the new Kathmandu link forms part of MAS’ new business plan which focuses on regional Asian markets. However, MAS move has probably surprised its rival, the AirAsia Group, which just launched on July 3rd two weekly frequencies to Kathmandu, also out of Kuala Lumpur. The Group’s long-haul affiliate AirAsia X is now operating the route. But in contrary to other routes, AirAsia X wanted first to initially launch seat sales via selected sales agents in Malaysia and Kathmandu. The airline is now opening the route for online bookings in response to encouraging feedback and demand from its guests in its markets.
Azran Osman-Rani, CEO of AirAsia X said, “We see a strong tourism potential for the Kuala Lumpur to Nepal route and vice versa which has lead to our decision to start selling our flights online. This is proven with our 100% load factor during our inaugural flight from Kathmandu to Kuala Lumpur on July 3rd. Our flight will foster new business travellers between South East Asia and Nepal. We see strong feeder traffic between the two countries and our goal has always been to make international travel affordable for everyone. In the near future, we are already looking at increasing our flight frequencies from Kuala Lumpur to Kathmandu”, he indicated.
Let’s hope that both airlines will find the peace of mind on the roads of Kathmandu…Source:traveldailynews.asia