A new airline will take off from Sultan Azlan Shah Airport this November. Flying Fox Airways, the first airline to register in Perak, was launched in early October by State Exco for Tourism, Culture and Health, Nolee Ashilin Mohd Radzi. Also present at the launch was UPEN Director Dato’ Abu Bakar and Flying Fox CEO Danial Lee.
Nolee in her address stated that the introduction of this new airline would see an increase not just in tourism but international trade and investment. “I welcome the airline with open arms and for opening a route through Ipoh to Medan and Dhaka. We hope to explore an alternative route to China via Medan.”
Noting that there were three travel agents and an airport authority from Medan present at the launch, Nolee expressed the hope of “tapping more into the Medan market especially for medical tourism”.
Flying Fox Airways’ maiden flight will touch down at the Sultan Azlan Shah Airport on Friday November 8 and its destination will be to Medan. For November there will be two flights per week to Medan on Monday and Friday. Subsequently in December the flight frequency to Medan will be increased to four times per week and will also introduce an Ipoh-Medan-Dhaka, Bangladesh route.
According to CEO Danial Lee, Flying Fox Airways is a code sharing partnership with Sriwijaya Air of Indonesia, one of Indonesia’s leading airlines. The airline will use Boeing 737-400 aircraft with a seating capacity of 152 passengers. Flights into Medan will touchdown at the newly-opened Kuala Namu Airport.
The airlines tagline ’Flying Just Got Easier’ reflects the convenience for Ipohites to use the Sultan Azlan Shah Airport, explaining the ease of going from home to the airport as compared to having to travel to KLIA.
Lee added, “The Medan flight is just the beginning. The long-term plan is to increase flight frequency to daily and to expand to international destinations like Thailand, China and Japan. We are currently working with tour agencies in Medan and Ipoh to develop packages and promotions for Ipoh to China, Thailand and Japan”.
During the launch, representatives from the private hospitals were present. Nicholas Chan, Senior Manager Business Development with Pantai Hospital acknowledged that there was plenty of potential to grow the scope of medical tourism. “We can’t expect to grow overnight but initiating a regular direct flight to Medan is the first step towards maturing the medical tourism market in Ipoh.”