China airline resumes flight to Sabah by bringing 194 passengers


A water cannon salute for the A321neo aircraft at the KKIA.

KOTA KINABALU (April 30): One hundred and ninety-four passengers from Guangzhou arrived at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) on Saturday, marking the resumption of China Southern Airlines’ direct flights between Guangzhou and Kota Kinabalu post pandemic.

They took off from the Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou at 4.10pm and arrived here at 7.10pm on flight CZ8335.

The aircraft, Airbus A321neo, was given a rousing water cannon salute at the airport.

On hand to welcome the Chinese visitors were Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Christina Liew and assistant minister cum Sabah Tourism Board (STB) chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai who garlanded them with Sabah’s native bead necklaces. They also received ‘Orangutan’ promotional bags filled with several local products.

Also present was STB Chief Executive Officer Noredah Othman.

Celebrating the relaunch of Guangzhou-Kota Kinabalu Route. Liew (eighth right) saying it with a bouquet each for pilots Captain Guo Shufeng and Captain Li Lemeng (centre). Also in the picture are Bangkuai (eighth left), Wang seventh left) and Noredah (third right).

Speaking to members of the tour group, Liew said: “Welcome to Sabah. Sabah offers a wide choice of holiday spots and activities. Some of you love the sea and beaches or intend to go snorkelling or diving.

We have Mount Kinabalu, iconic wildlife and a world-class diving paradise at Sipadan on the east coast of Sabah.

“From Tanjung Aru Beach here, you will be able to view one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world.

Some of you may opt for adventure, eco tourism, golf tourism or even wellness tourism. For cultural enthusiasts, you have the opportunity to experience Sabah’s rich cultural heritage.”

General manager of China Southern Airlines (Kuala Lumpur Office) Eric Wang, who accompanied the minister, said with the resumption of Kota Kinabalu’s route, the airlines will be operating three routes in the near future between China and Malaysia with departure from Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Penang to Guangzhou, totalling 31 flights per week.

According to Wang, previously, China Southern Airlines, affected by the pandemic, only operated flights between Kuala Lumpur and Guangzhou once a week.

“Following recovery from the pandemic, flights between China and Malaysia have gradually resumed, and China Southern Airlines’ Kuala Lumpur-Guangzhou route will also resume operations to three flights per day starting 15th May 2023.

“Last but not least, the resumption of direct flights between Guangzhou and Kota Kinabalu will give an additional lift to business development, tourism growth and cultural exchanges between China and Malaysia,” he said.

On future plans, Wang said China Southern Airlines will carry out deeper and cross-border cooperation with the key businesses and tourism stakeholders in the two countries in seeking the common good to achieve a win-win result.

“Our aim is to further strengthen our services to provide a more comfortable and convenient travel experience for all the passengers travelling between China and Malaysia,” he added.