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Malaysia Airlines looks for more India influence
Published in Bikya Masr on 02 - 09 - 2013

NEW DELHI: Malaysia Airlines (MAS), which has added Kochi in Kerala as its sixth destination in India, will focus its further expansion in routes that provide both leisure and business travel, its Regional Senior Vice-President (South Asia and Middle East) Azahar Hamid said.
MAS' other destinations in India are New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
"We saw a huge potential in Kochi as you can see Keralites everywhere. Hence, the Non-Residents Indians (NRIs) market is big here," he told Bernama in an interview in conjunction with MAS' maiden flight to Kochi yesterday.
He said Kochi was growing very rapidly amid inflow of investments from NRIs.
"These were the major attractions that MAS decided to fly to Kochi," he said.
The daily Kuala Lumpur-Kochi flight will be via MH118 departing from Kuala Lumpur at 10.30 pm and arriving in Kochi at 12.01 am while the Kochi-Kuala Lumpur return flight will be via MH119 departing from Kochi at 12.50 am and arriving in Kuala Lumpur at 7.40 am.
A brand new Boeing 737-800 aircraft is being used for the new route, he said.
Azahar said the maiden flight was planned to coincide with Kerala's biggest festival, Onam, which falls on Sept 16.
"Passengers can fly out with their families and be part of this colourful celebration," he said.
Going forward, Azahar said the focus for MAS in India would be destinations that have both business and leisure market.
"We won't go to places where there is more of leisure alone as it would be seasonal business," he said.
MAS was looking for few more destinations in India but he declined to reveal details.
"As you know we are getting brand new Boeing 737-800 (as part of MAS' fleet renewal plan) almost every month. Once we get the aircraft, they need to be used as more destinations are being looked at," he said.
Besides India, MAS is also increasing flight frequency to Kathmandu, Nepal, he said.
"We started off to Kathmandu with three flights initially. Now be have increased to five flights and by this winter we will be doing double daily," he said.
As for the current destinations in India, there are also plans to increase flight frequency to New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, he added.

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