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August 15, 2010

New Eastern hub to improve Malaysia Airlines services to key Asian destinations

Kota Kinabalu in Sabah is to become the Eastern hub for Malaysian Airlines, leveraging on the strategic location of the city as an ideal gateway to promote trips to and from China, Taiwan, North Asia, Indonesia and Australia.

The hub will be developed over three stages from 15 November 2010 to 3 June 2011, with Malaysia Airlines adding new international destinations and frequencies to complement the currently served foreign cities from Kota Kinabalu.

“We have seen an increase in demand from these countries into Sabah and Sarawak, which are ideal destinations for tourism and business,” said Malaysia Airlines managing director and chief executive Tengku Azmil Zahruddin.

“The setting up of Kota Kinabalu as the eastern hub enables us to provide our customers with better flight schedules and connectivity, as they would not need to wait for the aircraft to arrive from Kuala Lumpur.

“To facilitate this, we will position 150 flight and 250 cabin crew in Kota Kinabalu by June 2011. We are also pleased to announce that six planes, two of which are our latest planes, (two B737-800s and four B734s) will be based in Kota Kinabalu.

“This also provides us the opportunity for growth and expansion to new destinations. We currently expect a potential improvement a year of between RM60 and RM100 million to our bottom line.”

Customers departing Kota Kinabalu will be among the first to experience Malaysia Airlines’ new B737-800 aircraft.

In terms of new destinations, there will be three non-stop weekly services to Haneda, the city airport in Tokyo (effective from 15 November 2010) and twice-weekly to Osaka (effective from 15 January 2011). In January, there will also be four weekly flights to Seoul from the current two.

By June 2011, Kota Kinabalu will have the following international flights: daily flights to Taipei and Hong Kong, four weekly to Kaohsiung and Seoul, three weekly to Haneda, and twice-weekly services to Osaka. Other new international destinations in the planning include cities in China, Indonesia, and Australia.

At the same time, Kuching will enjoy 25 weekly flights, up from 14 weekly, to Kota Kinabalu, which facilitates access to these international destinations, making Sarawak more accessible to tourists and supporting Sarawak’s economic growth programs.

Malaysia Airlines will also be synchronizing the flight schedules from Kota Kinabalu with MASwings and vice versa to offer better connectivity.

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