KOTA KINABALU: Beginning July 15, China Eastern Airlines via its wholly owned subsidiary company, Shanghai Airlines, will offer non-stop direct flight from Shanghai to Kota Kinabalu.
This new route, China Eastern Airlines’ first scheduled flight after Kuala Lumpur, is the latest development from a few years of bringing regular chartered flights into Kota Kinabalu.
The thrice weekly flight will fly from Shanghai to Kota Kinabalu every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and back to Shanghai every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun said that the direct flight is expected to open various opportunities for both countries, particularly in terms of business and tourism.
The China Eastern Airlines’ vast network connects up to 176 cities all over China and more than 490 international routes around the world.
“China Eastern is one of the best world-class airlines, in terms of passengers and load and this airline is also renowned for great service and great international destinations, and we’re very pleased to be included into the network,” added Masidi.
The new route will operate using Boeing 737-800 Aircraft with 12 Business Class and 148 Economy seats.
When met at the courtesy call from Mr Lu Jing, the general manager of China Eastern Airlines Co. Ltd, Masidi said that he is optimistic the new flight will generate more tourist interest in Sabah.
“Kota Kinabalu is the most suitable city for China people as here offers all the need that China people are looking. For example, fresh seafood, beautiful island, white sandy beach and fresh air,” said Lu Jing.
He is optimistic that the load will be encouraging as the passenger load in July is already more than 85 per cent.
“On behalf of State Government of Sabah, we are very grateful that Chinese Eastern Airlines chose Kota Kinabalu and we will partner closely with them through the Sabah Tourism Board,” he added.
“Malaysia and China have a long history of friendship and trade. The new air service will make it easier than ever for Sabah and international visitors to explore what Sabah has to offer,” said Masidi again.