Philippines’ AirAsia launched its first international flight from Clark International Airport to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last Saturday, June 9.

Flight PQ 7455, operated by an all-Filipino crew, leaved Clark at 3:15 p.m. and arrived in Kuala Lumpur’s Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) at 7:00 p.m.

The flight complement Malaysia’s AirAsia’s Kuala Lumpur-Clark route, which it has been operating since 2005.

AirAsia Inc. CEO Maan Hontiveros said the additional flights would bring more tourists to the Philippines.

"The additional frequency to Kuala Lumpur enables our guests especially Filipinos to have access to Malaysia’s awesome tourist destinations but more important, we want to draw tourists from Malaysia to our amazing beaches and natural wonders in Puerto Princesa, Kalibo, Davao and here in Central Luzon. If we are able to draw even a fraction from Malaysia’s 24.5 million tourists, this will impact on our tourist arrival record for 2012," she said.

Based on 2011 ASEAN Community figures, tourist arrivals in ASEAN alone reached almost 74 million last year. Malaysia received the biggest share with 24.5 million, followed by Thailand with 15.9 million, Singapore with 11.6 million, Indonesia with 7 million, Vietnam with 5 million and Philippines at 3.5 million.

Of the tourists who arrived in the ASEAN region, 47% came from within ASEAN.  Visitors AirAsia Airbus A320-216from EU accounted for around 10% of the arrivals, and those from China around 7%.

"AirAsia is proud to be a truly ASEAN airline with established operations based in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines, plus Japan, servicing a network stretching across all ASEAN nations," she added.

AirAsia began its domestic flights to Kalibo and Davao last March 28, followed by Puerto Princesa in April. The airline also expects to launch its flight to Hong Kong next month.

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