KOTA KINABALU: AirAsia has been recognised with the ‘Best Airline Award’ as well as the ‘Minister Special Awards’ at the Sabah Tourism Awards 2015 held here last Saturday.
Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun presented the awards to the airline’s chief executive officer, Aireen Omar, during the ceremony.
The ‘Best Airlines’ category recognised the airline that contributed to Sabah’s tourism industry in terms of connectivity and bringing the highest number of visitors to Sabah in the past two years.
The ‘Minister Special Awards’ was given to AirAsia for its bold expansion of direct air connectivity to Sabah internationally and domestically with a total of 23 destinations and growing, fully optimising Kota Kinabalu’s strategic geographical position enabling visitors to discover and experience Sabah’s world-class attractions, apart from developing business opportunities in Sabah.
Aireen thanked Masidi and the Sabah Tourism Board for recognising their hard work and contribution to the state of Sabah with the prestigious awards.
“We have invested substantially in developing Sabah into becoming a key AirAsia hub and are very pleased that our efforts have paid off with the ever-growing numbers,” she said.
“We have big plans for Sabah and look forward to growing the current three million passengers per annum to at least 12 million passengers. We are confident this number is not far-fetched and highly possible, with a proper low-cost carrier terminal in place in Kota Kinabalu. Sabah has tremendous potential to be a key regional hub and we want to make this a reality,” she added.
AirAsia has carried over 8.4 million people in and out of Sabah in the past two years and currently serves 698 weekly flights to and from Kota Kinabalu, Tawau and Sandakan in Sabah.
The airline has also seen a growing trend of guests travelling from the Asian region and Australia into Kota Kinabalu through AirAsia’s Fly-Thru service. Bangkok, Beijing, Shanghai and Perth are the top cities with people connecting into Sabah for the past year, and AirAsia currently has 24 Fly-Thru routes into Kota Kinabalu, providing easy access and convenience for visitors across the region to travel to the state of Sabah.