KUALA LUMPUR, 16 October 2019: AirAsia has been pulling the plug quietly on some regional routes since September.
At least three routes are being phased out starting with the Penang – Hanoi route 16 September, and the service from Penang to Phuket in southern Thailand disappears 25 October.
Travel companies and hoteliers on Penang Island had hoped the two services would have drawn more tourists year-round.
Phuket is packed with more than 12 million visitors a year, but very few of them consider making a trip to Penang unless they need to make a visa-run.
The airline’s Kuching -Tawau service will also be axed on 25 October.
Meanwhile, the airline cut its Kota Kinabalu – Bandar Seri Begawan service 14 July and has suspended the Johor Bahru – Jakarta flight until 30 March 2020.
Thai AirAsia cut flights to Chiang Rai in July. It had launched new direct services to the far north Thai destination to coincide with the tail end of the tourist season back in January. So no surprises, the flights to Macau, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Phuket out of Chiang Rai failed miserably by the time the low season had set in.
It begs the question of why start new services during the low season?
AirAsia is not the only airline cancelling services. Vietnam Airlines reduces Ho Chi Minh City – Taipei twice-daily service effective 27 October to a single daily flight using an Airbus A321 aircraft.
(Source: Airlineroute timetable information)