One of the best thing that happens to Sabah tourist industries and the friendly people of Sabah in recent years is Air Asia. With Air Asia favour-tag- line “Now Every One Can Fly”, it is true that the air fare has come down so low that really every one can fly. For example Malaysia Airlines used to charge and still charge a return flight from Kota Kinabalu to Kuala Lumpur for about RM 800. When Air Asia comes along in 2002 an average one way fare from Kota Kinabalu to Kuala Lumpur goes down to RM 200. And during offer periods this one way fare can go down even further, like RM 139, RM 59, RM 39, RM 29. These fares are common and even RM 0 is a possibility these days, where one just has to pay the administration fee and airport tax. These budget fares can only be booked through the internet. We do live in a privilage time, whether the economy is down or not.
Many tourists and West Malaysians have used these cheaper fares to come and visit and explore the many beautiful and fascinating destinations in Sabah. So much so that they can come back as often as they want. Many new backpacker hostles and budget hotels in Kota Kinabalu have been set up to provide enough accommodation since Air Asia started its budget airline services. Don’t forget also to check out the Tune Hotel at 1Borneo.
A bit of Air Asia history, Air Asia has a humble beginning with just two rented Boeing 737 aircrafts, and the flight from Kota Kinabalu to Kuala Lumpur being its first major route. After 8 years in operation, Air Asia has grown from strength to strength, and today it has a fleet of well over 72 aircrafts and still growing. Air Asia has won almost every award there is in airlines category, and Fast Company has named it the fastest 50 growing companies in the world.
Air Asia planes used to land at the old Kota Kinabalu International Airport. Because of Air Asia enormous traffic growth, a new airport called Terminal 2 was built and completed in 2008 for Air Asia. This new and bigger airport is needed to cater for the increase number of foreigners and locals who are travelling with Air Asia. Kota Kinabalu LCCT Terminal 2 is also a major hub for Air Asia in East Malaysia. Terminal 2 is a fully air-conditioned airport and with facilities like restaurants and shops.
Currently Air Asia flies to five major international cities from Kota Kinabalu, namely Clark (Manila), Jakarta, Macau (Hong Kong), Shenzhen, and latest destination Singapore. While domestic destinations from Kota Kinabalu include Johor Bharu, Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Miri, Penang, Sandakan, Sibu, and Tawau. Air Asia also flies direct from Sandakan to Johor Bharu and Kuala Lumpur. While from Tawau Air Asia also has similar flight to Johor Bharu and Kuala Lumpur.
Air Asia tel: +603 8775 4000
LCCT Terminal 2 tel: +6088 447 049