Malaysia Airlines makes major play in China

Many of Malaysia Airlines' new routes will be operated by its fleet of Boeibg 737s
Many of Malaysia Airlines’ new routes will be operated by its fleet of Boeing 737s

Malaysia Airlines has unveiled plans for a major expansion of its operations in China.

The national carrier will launch nine new Chinese routes in 2017, while also adding more capacity on two of its existing routes. New destinations will include Haikou, Nanjing, Fuzhou, Wuhan, Chengdu, Chongqing, Tianjin and Shenzhen.

“Malaysia Airlines plans to triple our Chinese business over the next five years,” said Malaysia Airlines’ CEO, Peter Bellew. “I see potential for direct flights to 20 Chinese cities from Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching by 2019. We have huge confidence in China.”

The expansion will start before the end of this year, with the launch of twice weekly flights between Kuala Lumpur and Haikou in December 2016. Then in April 2017, Malaysia Airlines will start flying from KL to Nanjing and Fuzhou, before launching flights from KL to Wuhan in August. All of these routes will run three times a week.

In October 2017, a new pair of major routes will link KL with China’s western metropolises – Chengdu (five flights per week) and Chongqing (three per week).

And it’s not only KL that will see additional Chinese flights; from August 2017, Penang will get three weekly flights to Shenzhen and four per week to Shanghai, and Kota Kinabalu will received twice weekly services to Tianjin.

In addition, the frequency of Malaysia Airlines’ existing KL-Shanghai service will be doubled to twice a week in April 2017, and the KL-Hong Kong route will be upgraded to a larger Airbus A330 aircraft.

“The improved connectivity will foster deeper business links between the two nations.  Malaysians relish the business opportunities and tourism experience in China. The Chinese tourist market to Malaysia is growing rapidly due to the shared food, language and cultural connections,” Bellew added.

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