,KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia has seen strong uptake of seats to Langkawi following the government’s announcement of the island’s travel bubble standard operating procedure last week.AirAsia Malaysia chief executive officer Riad Asmat said the airline's sales were reaching 200,000 tickets for the route with the reopening of the island to vaccinated domestic tourists from Sept 16"On the first (booking) day itself (Sept 9), we sold almost 30,000 tickets," he told a virtual press conference on the Langkawi travel bubble and launch of airasia Super App products.Riad said AirAsia Malaysia would be resuming 90 weekly flights to and from Langkawi, departing from Kuala Lumpur (63 times weekly), Penang (14 times), Johor Bahru (seven times), Ipoh (three times) and Kota Bharu (three times).Riad said AirAsia Malaysia flights in September and October were selling fast; hence it was confident this momentum would continue.In addition, airasia Super App is collaborating with the Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) to offer a new digitised and contactless duty-free shopping experience, which will see an island-wide and same-day delivery across Langkawi hotels by the end of this month.Amanda Woo, chief executive officer of airasia Super App, said soon there would also be a full spectrum of fulfilments such as inflight seat delivery, airport pickup apart from the hotel, and home delivery with 13 ASEAN retailers on board with AirAsia's duty-free offerings.airasia Super App, which now offers e-hailing services with the recent launch of AirAsia ride, will also be operating on Langkawi island beginning Sept 16.LADA chief executive officer Nasaruddin Abdul Muttalib said Langkawi recorded 285 flights per week in 2019."Unfortunately, when the pandemic hit in 2020, flight frequency dropped to 195 per week. Hence, for the upcoming season, we hope to strategically collaborate with AirAsia to draw more tourists to this island."With support from the Federal Government, hopefully this endeavour will soon pave the way for more new domestic and international routes to Langkawi," he said.Nasaruddin said data from the Malaysia Association of Hotels showed the average occupancy rate of four- and five-star hotels stood at 50 per cent currently.Meanwhile, occupancy rates among three-star and below hotels are still low at about 20 per cent to 30 per cent.Parallel to the reopening of Langkawi for domestic tourists, LADA is working closely with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to produce a comprehensive set of standard operating procedures for the international market."The plan is to first open the island via charter flight arrangement by the end of this year."This is to allow a more sustainable and manageable holiday environment, whereby tourists are required to purchase holiday packages prior to travelling to Langkawi," he added. - Bernama
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