KOTA KINABALU: Starting next week, low-cost carrier AirAsia will resume direct flights connecting the state capital here to Guangzhou and Shenzhen in China, says Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew.
The Guangzhou-Kota Kinabalu route will commence on March 2 while the Shenzhen-Kota Kinabalu flight will take off on March 3, marking the first direct connections between Sabah and China since the Covid-19 pandemic halted operations early 2020.
Liew lauded the airline’s endeavour to resume international flights to the two China cities.
“We wholeheartedly welcome AirAsia’s commitment to reinstate its flight services to the level of pre-Covid 19, in support of the government’s relentless effort to boost the tourism industry in Sabah in particular.
“With the latest initiative to revive direct flights from the two destinations to Kota Kinabalu, we anticipate a surge of tourists from China this year,” she said in a statement on Wednesday (Feb 22).
The frequency of flights from Kota Kinabalu to Guangzhou will be four times a week (Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, Monday) and four times a week from Guangzhou to Kota Kinabalu (Thursday, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday).
As for the Kota Kinabalu-Shenzhen route, the frequency of flights will be three times a week (Thursday, Saturday, Tuesday) and vice-versa from Shenzhen to Kota Kinabalu (Friday, Sunday, Wednesday).
China was the state’s biggest international arrivals in 2019 prior to the pandemic outbreak, with over half a million visitors (598,566) recorded, according to the Sabah Tourism Board’s figures, followed by South Korea (396,660).