LANGKAWI, 8 January 2019: Charter flights got underway last December flying from Kazakhstan in Central Asia to Langkawi, Malaysia’s top holiday Island.
Close to 700 tourists will visit Langkawi on the initial series of three charters that will be conluded by 14 January.
Langkawi’s tourism officials call the flights a breakthrough that was made possible by a joint initiative between Tourism Malaysia, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) and Kompas a leading tour operator in the Kazakhstan capital, Almaty.
Using a Boeing 757-200 aircraft with a capacity of 235 passengers per flight, the charter series is being operated by Sunday Airlines.
According to Tourism Malaysia, in 2017, Malaysia welcomed 12,577 tourists from Kazakhstan.
Up until September 2018, tourist arrivals from Kazakhstan registered 10,411, an increase of 13.4% compared with corresponding period last year.
During 2017, Langkawi International Airport registered 2.7 million passenger traffic movements with a 14.6% increase in international passengers.
Up until November 2018, international passenger traffic movements increased by 31.5% compared with the same period in 2017.
The island’s airport is already seeing more interest from foreign airlines. Currently, there are six airlines operating from LGK to four domestic destinations and five international destinations with combined weekly frequencies of 238.
Meanwhile, TUI UK and Thomson Cruise have chosen Langkawi, Malaysia, as their homeport for cruising in Southeast Asia. Both TUI UK and Thomson Cruise are offering Fly & Cruise packages for the 2018-2019 winter holiday programme that closes in March to customer in United Kingdom. They have based a cruise ship at the Langkawi Cruise Terminal which is owned by Star Cruises.
The Fly & Cruise package includes a flight from the UK to Langkawi where they join cruises of Southeast Asia.
Three direct charter flights depart to Langkawi from three major cities in the UK (Birmingham, Gatwick and Manchester).
The first flight arrived 20 December 2018 to connect with Marella Discovery a cruise ship that docks overnight in Langkawi, before departing to Phuket and other destinations on roundtrip cruise itinerary.
Fly & Cruise packages offered by TUI will increase arrivals to Langkawi by around 7,200 during the first season ending March this year. Based on a positive outcome the cruises out of Langkawi will resume in December 2019 for a second season.
In 2017, Langkawi welcomed 3.67 million tourists with average length of stay of 4.31 days for international tourists and 3.56 days for domestic tourists. Langkawi ranked as the 4th best island in Asia according to Conde Nast Traveller’s Choice for 2018.
The north-most island on the west coast of peninsular Malaysia has grown into a cruise gateway for sailings to popular islands in Thailand such as Phuket.
Made up of an archipelago of 99 islands, Langkawi is recognised as the first Geopark in Southeast Asia by UNESCO.