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The Penang government wants a direct flight connecting the state with global trade hub and financial centre, Hong Kong.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng told AirAsia Bhd today that the route was "top of the list and critical".
"Apart from Asean cities, we also need to link up with what I would call global air traffic centres.
"Among them are Hong Kong. That is very critical. Others are Seoul and Shanghai. But I think for us, the critical centre is Hong Kong."
This is because we have a tremendous influx of visitors coming from Hong Kong, and both residents and travellers using Hong Kong as their main transit point," he said.
Lim was speaking in a press conference at the Penang International Airport on Monday evening after receiving the passengers onboard the inaugural AirAsia flight from Ho Chi Minh City to the northern Malaysian state.
Lim said that even Hong Kong leader C.Y. Leung had travelled to Penang late last year for a holiday.
He said that was testimony that Penang was the destination of choice, not only for people from Hong Kong but from all over the Asia-Pacific.
"We hope AirAsia will help us promote that," he said.
Lim also thanked AirAsia for creating the new route to Vietnam's capital city, calling Ho Chi Minh City a very important addition to the destinations connected directly with Penang by air.
Penang, he said, was also anticipating the opening of one more air route – the AirAsia Penang-Yangon direct flight – in March.
"We are proud of these new routes. After Ho Chi Minh City and Yangon, (let’s have) Hong Kong," he told AirAsia chief executive officer Aireen Omar at the press conference.
Aireen said now that Lim had mentioned it, the airline would look into his suggestion.
She said AirAsia was planning to introduce new routes to Chinese and Indian cities.
In July 2007, the award-winning Malaysian low-cost carrier launched the direct flight from Penang and Hong Kong but discontinued the route in March 2013.