AirAsia Malaysia’s China expansion continues, with the resumption of direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Shantou starting June 16 and a new direct route from Kota Kinabalu to Beijing’s new Daxing International Airport on July 1.

AirAsia will reconnect Kuala Lumpur to Shantou starting with two weekly flights in June and will increase to four weekly flights in July.

These depart KLIA at 1055 and arrive in southern China at 1510. The inbounds leave at 1555 for a scheduled arrival into KLIA at 2010.

The airline’s new Kota Kinabalu to Beijing (Daxing) route will be served daily from July 1. Flights will leave KK at 1800 and reach the Chinese capital by 2315. The redeye returns are scheduled to depart at 0015 and land back in KK at 0545.

The new connections allow AirAsia to strengthen its position as the largest foreign low-cost carrier in China following the recent resumption of flights to/from Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Nanning, Wuhan and Kunming. AirAsia Malaysia (AK) also serves Macao and Hong Kong.

The short-haul expansion is part of the airline’s strategy to align its international network, complementing the medium-haul connectivity to Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Beijing (Daxing) served by Airbus A330 widebody sister carrier AirAsia X Malaysia (D7).

AirAsia Malaysia CEO, Riad Asmat, said: “We are pleased to restart our service to Shantou, which was first introduced in 2016. Shantou is one of our most popular destinations, where we flew about 340,000 guests to/from the coastal city until the end of 2019.

In addition, we are also thrilled to announce the commencement of the new route from Kota Kinabalu to Beijing (Daxing), of which we will be the only airline connecting Sabah state capital directly to the capital of China.

China has always been one of our most important key markets. The two routes will contribute about 10 per cent additional capacity to our China network, and we remain committed to expanding the connectivity to Malaysia further, which is a popular destination for Chinese tourists.”

As a group, AirAsia carriers currently fly 35 routes to China with a total of 287 weekly flights from Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines in May, with plans to increase the number of weekly flights to 317 with the addition of Kuala Lumpur to Shantou, Kota Kinabalu to Beijing (Daxing), Bangkok (Don Mueang) to Xi’an and Cebu to Shenzhen between June and July.

AirAsia Malaysia (AK) currently serves 11 routes from Kuala Lumpur to Guangzhou, Kunming, Shenzhen, Nanning, Macao, and Hong Kong; from Kota Kinabalu to Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Wuhan, and Hong Kong; and from Johor Bahru to Guangzhou.

AirAsia X Malaysia (D7) operates three routes from Kuala Lumpur to Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Beijing (Daxing).

AirAsia Thailand (FD) currently has 16 China routes from Bangkok (Don Mueang), including to Chongqing, Chengdu, Changsha, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Kunming, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Nanjing, Macao, and Hong Kong; from Chiang Mai to Beijing (Daxing), Changsha, Hangzhou, and Hong Kong; and from Phuket to Hong Kong.

AirAsia X Thailand (XJ) flies from Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) to Shanghai.

AirAsia Philippines (Z2) flies four China routes, comprising Manila to Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Macao, and Hong Kong.

Separately, AirAsia earlier this week announced that it would add the Indonesian city of Kertajati to its network starting May 17.

It will be Kertajati’s only international service.

The two AirAsia weekly A320 flights will operate to Kertajati International Airport located in Majalengka Regency in West Java province, which is the second largest but almost fully underutilized airport in Indonesia.

Kertajati will be AirAsia’s 12th destination in Indonesia.