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MELAKA, Aug 13 (Bernama) -- Low cost carrier AirAsia is expected to start its operations this December 8 at Melaka's Batu Berendam Airport (LTBB) which is undergoing a facelift worth RM131.5 million.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said six destinations had been identified by Air Asia for its initial operations comprising four places in Sumatra and two domestic destinations.
"The destinations jointly agreed upon, using the Boeing 737 aircraft, are Palembang, Pekan Baru, Padang and Medan in Sumatra, and Pulau Pinang and Langkawi," he told reporters after chairing the Exco meeting here Wednesday.
Also present at Wednesday's event was Air Asia chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes, chairman of Air Asia Datuk Aziz Bakar and the general manager of Malaysia Airports Bhd, Abdul Rahman Karim.
Mohd Ali said the four major towns in Sumatra were selected based on their potential for medical tourism while Pulau Pinang and Langkawi for their popularity as tourist destinations.
"Among other destinations being suggested are Jakarta, Kota Kinabalu and Nanjing in China and we have opened negotiations to other airline companies besides Air Asia which showed an early commitment to use the LTBB," he said.
The expansion and upgrading work on LTBB which started last April is expected to be completed in April next year and a major aim is to provide facilities to medical tourists.
The number of medical tourists who sought medical assistance in the specialist hospital in Melaka is estimated to have gone up to more than 67,000 people last year compared with 18,000 people in 2004 with most of them coming from Sumatra.