AirAsia Resumes KL–Shantou Flights, Eyes Kota Kinabalu–Beijing Route

Malaysia’s biggest low-cost carrier is harnessing the pent-up demand for overseas holidays among Chinese travelers.

Inside the Zaha Hadid–designed terminal at Beijing Daxing International Airport.

Inside the Zaha Hadid–designed terminal at Beijing Daxing International Airport. (Photo: Vincent Lin/Unsplash)

AirAsia Malaysia plans to expand its China network this summer by reconnecting Kuala Lumpur and the southern coastal city of Shantou from June 16 with two weekly flights, increasing to four the next month. July 1 will then see the budget carrier begin nonstop services from Kota Kinabalu to Beijing’s enormous new Daxing International Airport, to be operated daily.

The new connections will allow AirAsia to strengthen its position as the largest foreign low-cost carrier in China with a 45-percent market share, following the recent resumption of regular flights to destinations such as Guangzhou, Kunming, Nanning, Shenzhen, and Wuhan, in addition to Hong Kong and Macau.

Here are the flight schedules for the two upcoming routes:

Flight No. Origin Destination Departure Arrival Frequency
AK140 Kuala Lumpur Shantou 10:55 a.m. 3:10 p.m. Mon, Fri (and Wed, Sun from Jul 2 onward)
AK141 Shantou Kuala Lumpur 3:55 p.m. 8:10 p.m. Mon, Fri (and Wed, Sun from Jul 2 onward)
AK1560 Kota Kinabalu Beijing (Daxing) 6 p.m. 11:15 p.m. Daily
AK1561 Beijing (Daxing) Kota Kinabalu 12:15 a.m. 5:45 a.m. Daily

AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat said in a statement, “We are pleased to restart our service to Shantou, which was first introduced in 2016. In addition, we are also thrilled to announce the commencement of the new route from Kota Kinabalu to Beijing (Daxing), of which we will be the only airline connecting Sabah state capital directly to the capital of China.” He added that the two new routes would contribute about 10 percent in additional capacity to the airline’s China network.

As a group, AirAsia currently flies to 35 routes in China with a total of 287 weekly flights from Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines in May, with plans to increase the number of weekly flights to 317 with the addition of Kuala Lumpur to Shantou, Kota Kinabalu to Beijing (Daxing), Bangkok (Don Mueang) to Xi’an and Cebu to Shenzhen between June and July.

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