Internationally renowned budget airline AirAsia is painting Ipoh red with its new flight route. The inaugural flight between Johor Bahru and Ipoh landed on Monday, October 1 at Sultan Azlan Shah Airport. Ipoh is now part of the airline’s extensive network.
AirAsia Flight AK6082, operated by an Airbus A320 departed Senai International Airport at 7.30am and arrived at Sultan Azlan Shah Airport at 8.40am. On board were 120 passengers cum guests of the airline. They were greeted by Menteri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu; Executive Councillor for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Tan Kar Hing; Tourism Perak CEO, Zuraida Md Taib; Tourism Malaysia Perak State Director, Mohd Roslan Abdullah; and AirAsia Malaysia CEO, Riad Asmat.
“The state government is pleased to welcome new visitors to Perak. I wish to applaud AirAsia for launching the route. AirAsia’s four times weekly flights will further boost the number of visitors to Perak and contribute significantly to the state’s economy. The state government is setting up the Perak Tourism Action Council (PTAC). Among the tasks of the council is to come up with a masterplan to drive the state’s tourism sector. This includes the rebranding of the state’s tourist destinations, including Ipoh, in order to attract more domestic and foreign visitors. We’ve full confidence in AirAsia to play its part as our strategic partner to further promote Perak,” said Faizal.
“We’re delighted to launch direct services to Ipoh, a long-anticipated addition to our route network. The launch of this new route is a testament to our continuous effort to extend our reach domestically. We’ve been aggressively expanding our network from Johor Bahru to enable more people to fly from and to this charming city. In addition to the Johor Bahru-Ipoh services, we’ve also commenced direct flights from Johor Bahru to Alor Setar today. We are confident both Ipoh and Alor Setar will be extremely popular destinations for business and leisure travellers,” Riad Asmat told the media.
AirAsia flight was suspended in September 2006 because the airport’s runway then could not take the Airbus. The airport, incidentally, has been refurbished in 2011 and 2012 and the 1789m-long runway has been extended by 200m to accommodate larger airplanes.
“The airport tarmac and open bay would be upgraded and the operations of airplanes and helicopter separated during the construction. The work will include expanding the tarmac to accommodate more aircraft stands. Open bay for passengers will be renovated to include a covered walkway to provide convenience and comfort for passengers during departures and arrivals,” said Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin, the Acting Group CEO of Malaysia Airports on the congested condition of the Ipoh airport.
According to Tan Kar Hing, this would offer Perakeans a golden opportunity to showcase their arts and heritage such as labu sayong (gourd-shaped jar) and keris-making in Kuala Kangsar not only locally but worldwide.
“It’ll help create jobs,” he added.