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5 November 2009

Malaysia’s no-frills carrier links Jakarta, Medan with Phuket

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Malaysia’s budget airline AirAsia has just opened its newest international routes connecting Thailand's Phuket with two major Indonesian cities, Medan and Jakarta, whilst looking also at air links to Brunei and Manila, the Jakarta Post reported.

AirAsia is the first airline providing direct flights from Indonesia to the famous beach city. The route is being operated by Thai AirAsia.

"The flights to Phuket are currently available once a day using the sophisticated Airbus A320, both from Medan and from Jakarta," Thai AirAsia CEO Tassapon Bijleveld said Tuesday in Jakarta.

Phuket is the ninth foreign city to be connected to Indonesia by the AirAsia group - including Indonesia AirAsia - after Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, Ho Chi Minh City, Perth, and Bangkok.

Bijleveld said he was optimistic the Phuket route would attract customers. "Our current flights to Bangkok, from Denpasar and from Jakarta, are very lucrative," he said.

Bijleveld said the routes were part of a plan to expand Asian business. Thai Ambassador to Indonesia Akrasid Amatayakul said he welcomed the Phuket routes as improving business links with Indonesia.

Capt Dharmadi, CEO of PT Indonesia AirAsia, shared Amatayakul's opinion, saying the routes would benefit Thailand and Indonesia. "We know that Phuket is full of foreign tourists. By opening these routes, such tourists, in addition to Thai people themselves, can be attracted to come to Indonesia."


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